Kit Siang moots amnesty programme, with conditions for ‘kleptocrats’

PETALING JAYA: DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has proposed an “amnesty programme” with “strict preconditions” for those responsible for turning Malaysia into a “global kleptocracy”.

In a statement, the Iskandar Puteri MP said although the main culprits and those in the second and third-tier leadership positions must be brought to justice, an amnesty programme may be a “prudent” move to allow the government machinery and country to focus on building a “new Malaysia”.

He also said the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) report should be tabled as a white paper in Parliament and that a Parliamentary Select Committee on Institutional Reforms be set up to implement the CEP’s proposals.

Lim’s call adds to those of CEP chairman Daim Zainuddin, and even Umno, for the CEP’s recommendations to be made public.

The CEP, which was set up after the May 9 polls, had interviewed more than 300 individuals from the public and private sector, as well as civil society groups, activists and academics. It has submitted its report to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad but the document remains a secret.

Lim said the CEP’s series of interviews revealed a “culture of turning a blind eye” towards corruption.

“The problem described by Daim is a serious one and its full magnitude must be made known to the public so that Malaysians as a whole can understand why the country has fallen on ‘hard times’ financially.”

He added it was also important so Malaysians could understand why they must be prepared to tighten their belts and make sacrifices to “tide over” the national crisis created by the previous “kleptocratic administration”.

On the issue of the appointment of judges, Lim said the proposed PSC on Institutional Reforms could also study a new system for judicial appointments to ensure there is separation of powers among the executive, legislature and judiciary.

Previously, Mahathir announced that future judicial candidates would be scrutinised and filtered by Parliament before their nominations are sent to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

However, former Malaysian Bar president Ambiga Sreenevasan warned against this as it would be against the doctrine of separation of powers.

Instead, she suggested that the status of the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) be raised to that of a constitutional body in the appointment and promotion of judges to the superior courts.