Monday, November 06, 2006

The Untouchables

The de-facto Minister of Law, Datuk Nazri Aziz effectively stated that UMNO-law is more powerful that the country's laws. As reported by the Star:
The Anti- Corruption Agency cannot investigate cases of political corruption or money politics because these offences are confined to political parties and not public transgressions, said Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz. The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department said political parties were associations for members only, hence positions in such organisations were not public posts.

“...the ACA can’t come in because this (money politics) has nothing to do with the public. It does not affect the public in the sense that it does not involve public projects or public funds... Members are immune from action outside the party (for wrongdoings within the party). That’s my opinion. I may be wrong but I tabled the law (Anti-Corruption Act) in Parliament. That’s my understanding of it.”
There you have it. Crimes committed by UMNO leaders and members - bribing, stealing, fraud, thuggery - as long as they are confined within the political organisation, is free from Malaysia's criminal laws. They are the Untouchables.

Defending his stance today in the Malaysiakini, Datuk Nazri said that the immunity to graft laws "is because the party’s standards are higher than those stipulated in the Anti-Corruption Act 1997."

Err... umm... well if dinner parties are against UMNO disciplinary rules, then by all means, let the UMNO disciplinary committees take care of it. However, if money exchanged hands, how can the disciplinary committees take precedence over the country's laws? Has the supposedly more powerful committees locus standi in sending the "guilty" to jail or strip them of their ability to hold public office?

With our Ministers taking an open stance ruling UMNO party is immune to the country's laws, it is no wonder the country continued to slip in the Transparency International's (TI) world corruption index, from 37th in 2003 to 39th last year to 44th in the just released rankings.

Pak Lah, the rakyat has voted overwhelmingly for you in the last elections, in part due to the reforms which you promised to eradicate corruption. It has been three years, and to quote TI, "there is a perceived lag between the formulation of new policies in Malaysia and the actual implementation of these policies on the ground."

Do you hear us, Pak Lah?
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