(Petaling Jaya, Monday): The Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said yesterday that the police have started to probe Parti Keadilan Nasional Youth chief Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor’s claims that former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim kept at least six boxes of government documents overseas.
Abdullah said the police started the probe on his instructions. He said he told the police that they should start investigations immediately "in this urgent national matter since there is public pressure and a police report on the matter".
Malaysians are entitled to know why the police has swung into action to probe Ezam’s claims about Anwar’s six boxes of documents overseas but there is no similar police zeal to investigate into Anwar’s three police reports about corruption and abuses of power in high political places, naming the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the first Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz, and the two top law officers of the land, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah and Deputy Public Prosecutor, Gani Patail.
As the contents of Anwar’s three police reports about corruption and abuses of power in high political places are also "urgent national matters" with considerable "public pressure", has Abdullah instructed the police to start investigations - and if so, can he state the progress of such police investigations as the first Anwar police report was made more than a month ago!
As Malaysia has gained ill-repute nationally and internationally because of the bane of selective prosecution, Malaysians are entitled to demand that there should not be the further bane of selective police zeal in investigating police reports depending on who is the maker as well as who is the target of police reports!
The orchestrated chorus demanding that action be taken with regard to Ezam’s claims about Anwar’s six boxes of documents overseas is rising to a fever pitch - but it is most sad and tragic that not a single Minister or voice in this orchestrated chorus is prepared to concede that if the documents reveal corruption and abuses of power, appropriate action should also be taken against the perpetrators who have committed even more heinous crimes against the country than offences under the Official Secrets Act.
I call on the Cabinet on Wednesday to take a policy decision that the government will not prevent or frustrate independent investigations into corruption or abuses of power as revealed by the disclosure of official documents, regardless of whether such disclosure is an offence under the Official Secrets Act and that the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Police and other enforcement agencies are fully empowered to act and investigate on the basis of such unauthorised disclosures.
Any other Cabinet decision is to confirm that the Official Secrets Act is merely a charter to protect corruption and abuses of power and a threat to the good governance and the development of a clean, honest and trustworthy administration.
In the current frenzy, the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department with the specific portfolio of law and justice, Datuk Ibrahim Ali has even called for the introduction of a Treason Act with the death sentence for those convicted under it.
He even suggested that "Malaysians discrediting the nation abroad in public talks and statements should also be considered as committing treason" and that "those convicted should be given the death sentence because treason is more dangerous than even drug trafficking".
It was most fortunate for Ibrahim Ali that there was no such Treason Act when he left UMNO for Semangat 46 a decade ago, or he would have been the first to be charged, convicted and sentenced to death for treason for his criticism of Mahathir’s government.
*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic
Action Party Secretary-General & Member
of Parliament for Tanjong