Kit Siang throws down gauntlet to MACC on candidate vetting

lim-kit-siang-maccPETALING JAYA: DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang today presented a counter-proposal to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) following its invitation for political parties to submit the names of their prospective candidates for vetting for the 14th general election (GE14).

If MACC could recommend that Barisan Nasional (BN) candidates involved in the 1MDB scandal should not be fielded in GE14, he said, he would recommend to the DAP central executive committee (CEC) that the party’s candidates be vetted by the anti-graft agency.

“The ball is in MACC’s court. Can MACC deliver?” the Gelang Patah MP said in a statement.

MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad had earlier said that although there was no law or compulsion for the parties to do so, vetting could be done to ensure that candidates were “clean” and not tainted by corruption and abuse of power.

He added that BN parties were the only ones to have submitted names of leaders and would-be candidates in the past, and that opposition parties had never done so.

However, Lim said Dzulkifli was not so naive as to be unaware of the real reason opposition parties had never sent their prospective election candidates to the commission for vetting.

“In fact, if there were an opinion poll as to who believes that the MACC is independent, impartial and professional and not a tool of the powers that be, in particular the prime minister himself, I have no doubt that the overwhelming majority, maybe even exceeding 90% of those polled, would hold the view that the MACC is not independent, impartial or professional, but a mere tool of the Prime Minister’s Office,” he said.

The DAP veteran said as long as MACC did not directly address the 1MDB scandal, it would never gain the trust and confidence of Malaysians, or prove that it was a truly professional and world-class anti-corruption agency.

“There is no single issue which will as forcefully and powerfully send out the message to Malaysians and the world that MACC is serious about fighting corruption than to launch an all-out battle against the 1MBD scandal.”

Adding that the 1MDB issue would be MACC’s “acid test” as to whether it was independent, impartial and professional in fighting corruption, Lim also asked if the anti-graft commission had been “weaponised” by the government to fight those who were opposed to Malaysia becoming a global kleptocracy.

He criticised Bank Negara Malaysia’s statement, revealed by opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail this morning, that a total of RM115.8 million in compound fines and penalties had been imposed for breaches of financial laws and regulations from 2015 to June 2017.

Calling the disclosure “very vague”, he pointed to reports that AmBank was fined RM53.7 million by the central bank, asking if this meant 1MDB had been fined the remaining RM62.1 million.

“What type of transparency and accountability is Bank Negara talking about when it is not prepared to answer this question?

“But even more important and relevant for the credibility of the MACC – is it prepared to re-open investigations into the 1MDB scandal with regard to the corruption dimensions when such a massive scale of financial scandal is involved?” he said.