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Tuesday, December 07, 2004
No One Immune [from Graft Probe]



After more than a year at the helm, our PM has the above to say during an interview with Reuters last Monday. Mark his words, for he has vowed 'to pursue corrupt officials, however senior their rank' the report goes. The PM is probably aware that joe-public is getting impatience with his near-moribund effort at achieving 'zero corruption'. This was his battle cry soon after taking over the premiership. His handling of 'the worse case of money politics' aka bribery and corruption which took place recently in elections for his own party has resulted in many wondering if his 'zero corruption' effort has fizzled out. The foot dragging by him and his deputy and other party members who claimed that they were in the know but at the same time saying that 'I no can tell on my friends and party members' have little to dispel such thoughts.
The stance taken by the ACA has also not been of any help. If we are to believe the former PM, money politics have been around sincee 1975. The Tun, in an exclusive interview, said :: "There were people who came to me before I was elected vice-president (1975) and told me if I gave them money, they were prepared to give me a bloc vote." Now isn't the ACA aware of this, why has it taken the ACA such a long long time to reaise that money politics is corruption and therefore a CRIME. For it was only recently that its top man came out to say :: "Money Politics A Crime." Even after this and despite the PM saying :: "ACA Can Act On Cases Of Money Politics", it would have been better if he had said :: "ACA MUST ACT on money politics"; we find the UMNO Deputy President still saying :: "Not All Cases Of Money Politics Will Be Referred To ACA," and insisting that only where there is concrete evidence will the cases be forwarded to the ACA. Now to joe-public, wouldn't it appear that UMNO members are of a different kind! It is good that the PM has come out with his latest announcement, virtually countering his deputy and confirming that his zero tolerance to corruption is still on track.
Further excerpts from the Reuters interview ::
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told Reuters in an interview that no one was immune and more arrests of senior people could follow if the evidence stacked up.
Asked if more "big fish" were likely to be caught in his anti-corruption net, Abdullah said: "I am in no position to say that. I might be creating a lot of unnecessary speculation."
"But as far as I am concerned, big or small, we will take action against these people."

.....
Abdullah said a friend had also been netted, though he did not name him, to demonstrate no one was immune. A government source later identified the friend as a senior ruling party official who had been charged after a corruption investigation.[Ah must be Kasi]
A witness protection scheme for corruption cases is also being created, the prime minister said.

Ah finally a breath of fresh air from the PM, but then again he has been a man of many words and ideas for reforms but joe-public is wondering will he be taking the walk soon instead of just all this talk and talk!





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