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Why can’t Isa resign immediately as Federal Territories Minister but  must take a week to resign?


Media Statement (2)

by Lim Kit Siang  

, Saturday): After his suspension as  UMNO member was halved to three years by the UMNO Supreme Council for the corruption offence of money politics in last year’s UMNO party elections, Tan Sri Mohamed  Isa Samad said:  “If they want me to resign, I will resign. I have no problem resigning from the post.”

Two days ago, the embattled Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz, told the New Straits Times in an interview: “If the Prime Minister asks me to resign, I will certainly resign.”

Both statements are utterly meaningless. They give the impression that both Ministers  are very generous in being  prepared to do the government in general and the Prime Minister in particular  a great personal favour by agreeing to resign in the circumstances they described, when under the Westminster system of parliamentary democfacy that Malaysia practises, both would have no option but to resign or be sacked.

There are at least three public-interest questions about Isa’s position, two of which relates to his Cabinet post, which call for answer from the Prime Minister:

Firstly, since his  six-year suspension  as an UMNO member by the UMNO Disciplinary Board on June 24 after he was found guilty of vote-buying and using agents in the UMNO party elections in September 2004, why was Isa allowed to continue as Cabinet Minister although he was immediately suspended from all party posts, including his UMNO vice-presidency and as Teluk Kemang UMNO division head.  I understand that Isa had not attended a single Cabinet meeting since his party suspension 15 weeks ago. If so, why the precedent of a non-Cabinet-attending Minister?

Secondly, why must Isa take a week to resign as Federal Territories Minister and not immediately?  What is this “unfinished work” he has in the Federal Territories Ministry when he had 15 weeks since his suspension as UMNO member to clear them?

Thirdly, as money politics is corruption, will the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) be given a free hand to investigate and prosecute Isa under the corruption laws of the land?

Isa’s need for a week to clear up “unfinished business” reminds me of the  most unhealthy practices by some  outgoing Mentri Besar or Chief Minister who were being transferred to the federal level and heading a caretaker state  government during the general election period between dissolution and polling. There have been instances where the outgoing Mentri Besar or Chief Minister had abused their caretaker government powers by taking the  most improper  and probably illegal decisions such as to  alienate land or conduct  transactions involving state resources.

In the interests of promoting  a national integrity system, the Prime Minister must tighten up rules and procedures making it unlawful and a corruption offence for any caretaker Mentri Besar or Chief Minister to alienate land or contract transactions affecting state resources during the caretaker period.



*  Lim Kit Siang, Parliamentary Opposition Leader, MP for Ipoh Timur & DAP Central Policy and Strategic Planning Commission Chairman

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