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Friday, December 31, 2010

MAS debacle: A-G must explain ties with Tajuddin


By Queville To

KUALA LUMPUR: Outspoken Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) adviser Robert Phang has again trained his gun on Attorney-General Gani Patail for his deafening silence over his consorting with Shahidan Shafiee, the proxy of former Malaysia Airlines chairman, Tajuddin Ramli.

He described such a stance by Gani as a great disservice to the government in the fight against corruption.

“I have raised this before and the A-G's continued silence is deafening. PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayob has now raised the same issue.

"This is not just a political issue but it also concerns the integrity of the highest law officer of the country. His actions and conduct can erode the credibility of the government,” he said in his New Year Message here yesterday.

There is also public scepticism over the conduct of the A-G in the exercise of his prosecutorial powers, he added.

“His reluctance to act in certain cases, while very vociferous in others, have given rise to allegations of selective prosecution bordering on persecution,” he said.

He noted that Salahuddin, too, has raised this seemingly double-standard practice involving the case of Rosli Dahlan who is widely known to be the lawyer handling the MAS case who has alleged that he had been victimised by rogue elements in the government.

“It is frightening that the whole machinery of the A-G’s office and the MACC can be used against one man.

"The government must dispel this perception of persecution against an innocent citizen,” he said.

Phang reiterated that he has raised these matters without any personal or political agenda.

“I am not a politician. I speak for what I believe to be true and right. These are matters that have been in the public domain and it is incumbent on me to remind the powers that be of the public displeasure.

"Only in this way civil activists like me can be of service to the nation, the government and the public. This is consistent with the reminder by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak that those in power must not suffer from the four diseases – delusion, amnesia, inertia and arrogance.

"I pray that all civil servants, more so the politicians and ministers, will follow rigidly Najib's directive,” he said.

MACC work laudable

While applauding the achievements of MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim in bringing to book some big names this year, including former minister Dr Ling Liong Sik in the alleged misappropriation of funds in the Port Klang Free Zone, Phang said the report by the forensic auditors has mentioned several other big names, including those still serving government, and who are also big names in their political party.

“These big names have quickly used the MACC’s clearance as a political mileage.

"This has invited public scepticism, especially when it is perceived that a thorough investigation has not been conducted and the clearance was just a political whitewash.

"That was what the public perceived in the case of former Selangor menteri besar Khir Toyo until he was charged recently. I remind these big names not to be so gleeful, bordering on arrogance,” he said.

With regard to the New Key Result Areas (NKRAs) for reduction of crimes, he congratulated Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for his hard work in developing innovative ways to assist the police in the fight against crime.

"Like a clean white sheet, it is now in Hishammuddin's hands to re-shape the police force into the principal respected law enforcement agency that it once was. Malaysians must support Inspector-General Ismail Omar in his goal for a crime-free society,” he said.

Phang, who is also chairman of Social Care Foundation, also called on NGOs like Ikim (Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia) and Perkasa, not to cause confusion and racial tension among the people.

“Regardless of whether we are Muslims, Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists or any other faiths, the plurality of faiths of this country must be preserved.

"I urge Ikim and Perkasa not to cause confusion by fanning the differences between us, but to build on the commonality that binds us. It’s a folly to claim that one's religion or god is the right one. All religions teach good things and we all believe in the one true God.

“All talks that cause differences, tensions and schisms must stop. If May 13, 1969, is to be remembered, it should be commemorated as a day of mourning when this multi-cultural and multi-religious country of ours was almost ruined.

"It must be our national resolution that May 13 must not recur or Malaysia will become a failed nation. It is our commonality that binds us as a nation since independence and that will shape our future destiny as 1Malaysian,” he said.

He added that Malaysia is a country of many faiths and although Islam is the official religion, the freedom to practise other faiths and religions is guaranteed.

“How we prosper as a nation cannot be based on fortune-telling and guessing games but on hard facts, sound policies and universal principles found in our religions,” he added.

Phang called on all Malaysians to make the pursuit of “unity, truth and justice” their New Year resolution. - FMT

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