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by Lim Guan Eng
Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP is not surprised at the BN Whips’ Panel refusal to decide on Jasin MP Datuk Mohd Said Yusof for pressuring the Malacca Customs Department to "close one eye" after it seized a consignment of timber imported by his company. By deferring its decision the four man BN Whips Panel, headed by BN Whip & Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. proves the lack of commitment to establish integrity and fighting abuse of power amongst backbencher BN MPs.
By stating that the panel will only pass judgment on him after the police and the ACA completed their investigation so as not to affect the police and ACA investigations, the BN Whips Panel is admitting that the police is neither independent nor observes the rule of law. If the government observes the rule of law, then the Whips Panel should not be concerned that either the ACA or the police should be unduly influenced by any decisions made by the Whips Panel.
However political interference and meddling is so pervasive with the police under the Internal Security Ministry and the ACA under the Prime Minister’s Department, that both the police and ACA are so timid as to be almost frightened of its own shadow when investigating BN MPs for improprieties and malpractices. The refusal of the BN Whips Panel to make a decision is clearly directed at stalling for time to make what would be an obvious decision of “guilty” on Mohd Said.
If Mohd Said has not committed any wrongdoing even when he asked the Melaka Customes Department to "close one eye" after it seized a consignment of timber imported by his company, then something is very wrong with the Whips Panel moral compass and ethical standards. Instead of not affecting investigations by ACA and the police, the panel’s refusal to make any decision would only influence ACA and the police negatively.
I had lodged a report on 11 May 2006 (Report No. 23/2006) with the Melaka ACA that Mohd Said had clearly (mis)used his office or position under Section 15(2) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.
Mohd Said had tried to benefit from his position because he had admitted that he was asking Customs Department to “close one eye” from taking action on a matter which affected his company Binyu Sof Enterprise. Section 15(2) states that,
"any officer of a public body who uses his office or position for gratification when he makes any decision or takes any action in relation to any matter in which such officer has an interest, whether directly or indirectly, shall be guilty of an offence".
According to Melaka ACA, this is the only report lodged against Mohd Said as other reports were merely giving information. This offence under section 15(2) can on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term of not less than 14 days and not more than 20 years; and a fine not less than 5 times the sum or value of gratification or RM10,000 whichever is higher.
Worse were the allegations that his company was involved in trying to illegally export 7,000 pirated VCDs to Indonesia in 1999, of which 2,000 VCDs were porno VCDs. Since these are serious offences involving an MP, priority must be given to such investigations by the police and ACA to prove that no special treatment is given and everyone is treated equally before the law. Mohd Said has not fulfilled the concept that “a political leader must not only be clean, he must be seen to be clean”.
The credibility of both the ACA and the police is in question again as to whether the police and ACA has shown itself to have the courage to investigate the case independently without fear or favour in accordance with the law. The public strongly disagrees with the UMNO Supreme Council for saying that there is no case and with Melaka Chief Minister and UMNO Vice-President Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam saying that he is satisfied with Mohd Said’s explanation.
Public pressure exerted by DAP MPs, especially Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, has forced a Whips Panel to look into the case. By deferring its decisions the Whips Panel has only heightened suspicion that it is trying to cover up this case.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi must realize that the “one-eyed” episode has brought so much shame to Malaysisans that Johor Baru MP Datuk Shahrir Samad chose to resign as Barisan Backbenchers Club Chairman so he can support DAP’s principled position that Parliament must investigate Mohd Said’s conduct. As time is running out for Pak Lah’s integrity and anti-corruption campaign, the public is watching closely how he handles this issue, which is a clear case of abuse of power and breaking the law for private benefit.