Anti-graft watchdog chief comes clean on why he quit

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider 

A day after quitting as president of the Malaysian branch of Transparency International (TI-M), Datuk Paul Low said he really did it to stop the growing criticism over his suitability to lead the anti-corruption group and its motives.

“There are some people who think I’m the problem,” Low told The Malaysian Insider over the phone this afternoon.

He admitted that there has been growing opposition against his leadership even from within TI-M’s executive committee because of his ties with MCA and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

Some still accuse him openly of being partisan even after he pulled out as a life-member of the Chinese political party earlier this year.

The final straw was the threat of a lawsuit against TI-M over the recent Global Corruption Report 2009 (GCR 2009) published by the international anti-graft watchdog based in Berlin, which is said to highlight the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.

Low, who led a task force investigating the controversial project, had been hauled up by some of his colleagues for failing to consult them on the report before its release.

Despite the criticisms, he stands by TI’s analysis, which he described to be “an accurate assessment” and today repeated his vow to take full responsibility for the report, including being sued.

“The buck stops here,” Low said. He accepts that he is fallible.

“We need to deal with integrity in this country,” he added.

He explained that he resigned because he did not “want to see discord in the organisation” but bitterly noted that the local chapter of TI did not appear to have pulled up their socks and work as one body even after his decision.