(The Star) - The time has come for real action from the Government to fight corruption instead of pussy-footing around, said Transparency International Malaysia president Tan Sri Dr Ramon Navaratnam.He said if the Government continued talking without real action, people would get frustrated and disillusioned and eventually they would lash back via the ballot box.
“Don’t pussy-foot,” he said when commenting on recommendations in fighting graft at the two-day Government Transformation Pro gramme open day last week.
Many members of the public who attended the programme had questioned why the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was only interested in catching the “small fry” and did not seemed to be interested in catching the jerung (sharks).
Corruption Lab leader Datuk Hashim Nordin, who is special officer to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz, in his reply had said it was a lot harder to catch the big fish as they tended to be more sophisticated and more professional in their acts.
Ramon said the programme had generated some good recommendations, including calls for the MACC to investigate politicians and businessmen and those who were living beyond their means without waiting for public complaints and for it to report directly to Parliament.
He said the law would have to be amended quickly to reflect the Government’s urgency in fighting corruption.
He said until the “big fish” were taken to court and punished, people would continue to doubt the commission’s sincerity.
Ramon, who is MACC panel of presentation and consultation chairman, said so far no top political leaders have been charged and convicted for corruption.
Citing the Port Klang Free Zone scandal as an example, he said although former Port Klang Authority general manager Datin Paduka O.C. Phang was charged in court, she was not the real “big fish” as there were people in higher levels.
Social Care Foundation chairman Tan Sri Robert Phang concurred that in the PKFZ scandal, bigwigs were named by the Public Account Committee but none of them were brought to court.
“Those implicated must be given a chance to explain in the court, not in Parliament. The rakyat want to know the whole truth.”
He said the PKFZ scandal was an acid test for the Government and there was a need for political will to be executed without fear and favour.
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation vice-chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye also said that despite many Government announcements to fight corruption, the people have yet to see real results.