Putrajaya urged to take anti-graft zeal to Sarawak and Sabah

Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii.

PETALING JAYA: Bandar Kuching MP Kelvin Yii has urged the government to start expanding its anti-corruption drive to East Malaysia, saying the rigour shown in Peninsular Malaysia had yet to be seen in Sabah and Sarawak.

Speaking to FMT, he said anti-graft efforts in Sarawak should begin with investigations into the wealth of its governor and former chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud.

That would send a message that the new government would not tolerate corruption and abuse of power, he added.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) did probe Taib’s wealth before Pakatan Harapan came to power. Yii noted that nothing came out of the investigations, but he pointed out that accusations against the governor had persisted.

He referred to a recent article in Sarawak Report connecting Taib to an oil deal with Petros and said it warranted a probe.

“There is a white elephant in the room that we really need to address,” he said in an allusion to the epithet “White Raja of Sarawak” used by Taib’s detractors in reference to the colour of his hair.

Yii appeared impressed by the anti-corruption efforts of the Pakatan Harapan government, but said these seemed to be currently restricted to the peninsula.

“I urge that similar efforts be brought to the shores of Sarawak now,” he said. “At the end of the day, we are not after one person. But it’s important to send a message and set a principle.”

Many investigation files on Taib have been opened since 2015, but authorities say they are unable to take action for lack of proof of graft. However, the Prime Minister has said Taib could be charged if new reports were made against him.

Yii urged PH to revisit old evidence gathered by the MACC. He also said the government should publicise the commission’s findings.

Yii, who heads Sarawak DAP Youth, also spoke about the issue of Sarawak and Sabah rights under the 1963 Malaysia Agreement (MA63).

He said the general sentiment in Sarawak was that the two states should be known as “territories” instead of “states” to reflect the equality of their status with Peninsular Malaysia in its entirety.

“To me, that is a good enough representation of our status in the Federation of Malaysia,” he added.

He said he hoped to be appointed a member of the recently announced task force charged with finding the best way for PH to fulfil MA63.

He also commented on an allegation that PH had little interest in the concerns of Sarawak and Sabah, which came up after an early version of the Federal Cabinet was announced and didn’t have members from the two states.

“I’d rather have people who are effective in taking care of our people,” he said.

“I believe in meritocracy. Let’s break this assumption that only Ibans can take care of Ibans, Indians can take care of Indians, and so on. We are not ethnic champions. We should champion the interests of all Malaysians, including Sarawakians.”