Tan Sri vs Tan Sri in MACC

By Jackson Ng (former journalist)

The current spat between Tan Sri Robert Phang and Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam has further cast doubts on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)’s integrity.

Ramon is the MACC Corruption Prevention Panel chairman and Phang is a MACC panel adviser.

The integrity-tearing spat unfolded after Ramon, at lightning speed, cleared Attorney-General (A-G) Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail of allegations that the A-G went on a Haj pilgrimage in Mecca with one Shahidan Shafie who is said to be close to former Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Tajuddin Ramli.

Questions are being raised against Tajuddin over the national carrier’s losses, running into billions.

MAS was reported to have filed several reports against Tajuddin with the MACC, citing Tajuddin’s move to relocate MAS’ cargo operations in Amsterdam and Frankfurt to a single hub in Hahn, Germany, as the single biggest loss suffered under him.

The new hub operation reportedly incurred monthly losses of between RM10 million and RM16 million before it was terminated and the government took over control of MAS.

Now, let us just use our common sense to judge the two Tan Sri.

After only one dialogue with the A-G on Tuesday (Jan 4) in the MACC academy with 30 (of the 42) members of the MACC board and panel members, Ramon deemed it fit to clear the A-G of the allegations. It is believed the A-G also tendered some documents in his bid to clear the allegations against him.

Isn’t it fishy that Ramon was so quick in dismissing the allegations against the A-G? Isn’t it proper and logical for the MACC to exercise more transparency, the will and courage to probe the allegations first before making any deductions? What type of integrity is the MACC displaying?

Phang has openly objected to Ramon’s swiftness in clearing the A-G and claiming that the MACC panel members were all satisfied with Gani’s explanation. As for Phang, he has to date displayed consistency in his fight-graft-related statements as a MACC advisory panel member.

He had called on the A-G to clear the air over public allegations on his relationship with Shahidan and the Mecca Haj pilgrimage because he was concerned that Abdul Gani’s silence would fuel deeper suspicions and confusion.

So, which Tan Sri has displayed greater integrity?