Stop lying!

By Tan Sri Robert Phang

1. The public outrage over Nazri Aziz’s letter dated 8th August is justified. It is unprecedented and wrong for the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office to direct all Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) to withdraw their civil suits against former MAS Chairman, Tajuddin Ramli. I find it very appalling that a Minister of Nazri’s seniority and status can direct GLCs to withdraw their claims against Tajuddin Ramli which means allowing him to get away with billions of ringgit in debt or RAKYAT MONEY.

2. Nazri’s immediate back pedaling by attempting to say that his letter was only an “advice” and not a”directive” or “instruction” by itself shows that Nazri knew that he had made a grave error. Now that Malaysia Today has posted Nazri’s letter, it clearly shows that Nazri had lied. To make a mistake is one thing, but to lie in order to cover up for that mistake makes it worse.

3. Another aspect I find deplorable is the lethargy and disinterest shown by Attorney-General Gani Patail and the MACC in prosecuting Tajudin Ramli. This contrasted sharply with the swift manner in which the MACC investigated me after I criticized AG Gani Patail for his involvement and Haj Trip with a crony of Tajudin, one Shahidan Shafie. Based on just a false allegation in an anonymous blog, I was subjected to an immediate investigation by the MACC.

4. I was also publicly humiliated when I was only conditionally cleared in a press statement issued on 31st May 2011 by the MACC Operations Evaluation Panel (OEP) Chairman, Dr. Hadenan Abdul Jalil. I have since demanded the MACC to give me an unconditional and unequivocal clearance. I have yet to receive the MACC’s reply.

5. If the MACC can be so speedy to act against me, why is the MACC showing hesitation to act against Tajudin Ramli? There are overwhelming evidence against him available in the public including the report made by the former Director of Commercial Crimes, Ramli Yusuff, to former PM Abdullah Badawi? All these smack of a cover-up.

6. Nazri’s action is also an abuse of power in asking for GLC legal work to be passed to a legal firm. Who are the lawyers of this legal firm that they should be given preference over other more eminent lawyers in the country? Are they Nazri’s associates and is he receiving gratification for this? If so, the MACC should investigate and prosecute Nazri under section 2(1) of the Emergency (Essential Powers) Ordinance No. 22/1970. Nazri should also be prosecuted under the MACC Act as follows:

MALAYSIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION ACT 2009 Offence of using office or position for gratification

23. (1) Any officer of a public body who uses his office or position for any gratification, whether for himself, his relative or associate, commits an offence. (2) For the purposes of subsection (1), an officer of a public body shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, to use his office or position for any gratification, whether for himself, his relative or associate, when he makes any decision, or takes any action, in relation to any matter in which such officer, or any relative or associate of his, has an interest, whether directly or indirectly.

(3) For the avoidance of doubt, it is declared that, for the purposes of subsection (1), any member of the administration of a State shall be deemed to use his office or position for gratification when he acts contrary to subsection 2(8) of the Eighth Schedule to the Federal Constitution or the equivalent provision in the Constitution or Laws of the Constitution of that State.

7. I therefore call on the MACC to show some courage and investigate this matter. Otherwise, the MACC will forever not regain the public’s trust after Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbaini had died over what the public perceived to be due to the harsh treatment by the MACC over much less serious allegations of corruption. Let its not be said that the laws of this country favor the strong over the weak.

8. Since this is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, I ask Nazri Aziz, who is always known to be courageous in a “jantan” way, to apologise to the Malaysian public for insulting our intelligence in this incident. Nazri needs to do so before he drags the whole administration of PM Najib Razak into public anger and odium. The government can least afford these sort of scandals with the elections being just around the corner.