Nazri: PKFZ, Lingam case beyond government’s control

Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz today explained that the government had done all it could to address perceptions of graft in the administration, which sagged further according to an anti-graft report yesterday.

Speaking to reporters today, Nazri blamed the current Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and the Datuk VK Lingam tapes controversy as the main contributors to Malaysia’s drop in the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department admitted that both cases, which have now gone to the courts, had resulted in the country’s slight drop in CPI ratings released yesterday — from 4.5 to 4.4 out of 10, with 10 being the least corrupt.

According to the minister, that the government had done what was “humanly possible” to combat corruption, but insisted that it will not interfere with the judiciary to speed up the two cases for the sake of gaining one or two points in CPI rankings.

“The government’s point of view is that we have done what is humanly possible on our part by putting a new Act, we provide good enumeration for the MACC, increased their number.

“Of course when I saw the comment by Paul Low, I agreed with him (that it is about perception) but with PKFZ, it is beyond us now, already beyond us. It’s already in the courts and I believe this is one of the reasons why the perception is going to be negative towards us and there’s nothing we can do,” Nazri told reporters today.

The current PKFZ scandal has seen top officials including former MCA president Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and OC Phang being investigated in court.

In Transparency International’s (TI) CPI released yesterday, Malaysia’s CPI dipped further this year, after the country experienced its worse ranking ever last year.

The annual TI CPI measures how corrupt a country’s public sector was based on data sourced from 13 different polls and surveys from 10 independent institutions over a period of two years.

The three least corrupt countries in the world were, in order, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.

Malaysia’s previous worst scores below 5 were 4.8 in 2000, 4.9 in 2002 and 4.5 last year.

The country’s ranking puts it on par with Namibia and Turkey.

In releasing its report, TI had said the Najib administration still lacked the political will to weed out corruption and stressed that steps must be taken to tackle problems with implementation.

Despite government efforts to fight corruption, MACC’s inability to prosecute “big fish,” lack of progress in the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco, inaction by the Attorney-General’s Chambers in the “Lingam tapes” case, and contracts without open tender have continued to haunt public perception.

“The other thing that was mentioned was regards to the Lingam case. Again, this is up to the Attorney-General. It is beyond us the government, because the AG acts independently,” Nazri said today.

“In my opinion, there is nothing to charge Lingam with, because there is no proof to show that he influenced the appointment of judges. You cannot simply charge a person when there’s no offence committed,” the minister added.