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?


Anonymous said...

I am just wondering if he believes in what he says. Seriously, every lawyer in town must be shaking their head.

Firstly, anyone can be prosecuted for corruption whether its public or private money. Whereas, the AG has a duty to automatically charge someone if it involves public money/organization, those in private ones must bring formal charge for the AG to prosecute AND by-law, they actually have to or they will also be prosecutable but that is hard to do for the AG. So Nazri argument is pure nonsense.

Secondly, UMNO is not a private organization, its a political organization accountable to its members and subject to government supervision. While the AG don't have the right to automatically prosecute money politics, UMNO and its officers violates the law if it knows of corruption and does not file formal charges. The AG actually have a duty to automatically investigate officers and UMNO if formal charges to those corrupted are not made.

Nazri is shamefully unqualified to be de-facto Minister of Law.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a rather "hard-hitting" entry. While I concur with your comments, I personally feel that it is better to toe the line on certain "issues/truths" (even though this is a personal blog, not everyone can handle the what Jack Nicholson said in "A Few Good Men"). I meant well, hope you are not offended.

As for the TI index, conclusion is strong correlation between poverty and corruption...does it imply that poverty in M'sia is increasing (I certainly feel that urban poverty in M'sia is on the rise).

Blueheeler - the hound who sniffs out fishy news said...

hey, s'pore also has untouchables! But unlike the untouchables in M'sia who are protected by internal political-party laws, the untouchables in S'pore are shielded by a trigger-happy, establishment-friendly justice system!