Reaction to Murad's statement speaks volumes
Murad's accusations of Anwar have brought to the Malaysian political scene some interesting development. Not so much the accusations themselves as the responses to them by the authorities. The normally defensive Barisan Nasional Government on the subject of corruption and abuse of power has suddenly sprung to life, turning from defence to attack. Most interesting responses of all perhaps are the sudden resurrection of our Anti-Corruption Agency from slumber to hyperactivity, and the turn around of First Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin from silent recipient of corruption accusation to instant defender of the integrity of our financial institutions.
Former Assistant Governor of Bank Negara Abdul Murad Khalid made a political attack on Anwar minced with unsubstantiated allegations of improprieties on Oct 28th Thursday. On the very next day (Friday), ACA Deputy Director General Ahmad Said Hamdan announced that a Special Team had been set up within ACA to investigate the Murad Allegations. And on the next day (Saturday), ACA Director General Ahmad Zaki Husin announced that ACA's Director of Investigations already lodged an Official Report on Friday and full scale investigations had started with several teams of investigators covering different areas of Murad's allegations simultaneously. Zaki also said that ACA would seek Interpol assistance and would send ACA officers overseas to investigate the foreign bodies named by Murad.
Malaysians must have been flabbergasted by the lightning speed with which our ACA has sprung into action, which is analogous to a lame duck suddenly transforming into a bloodhound, considering the past lethargy of this Agency.
Contrast this with the feet dragging by the same ACA over its investigations on Perwaja Steel, in which Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was personally entangled in the scandal that involves losses of RM 3,000 million and liabilities of RM 7,000 million (up to end 1995) through mismanagement and fraud. After several years of "investigations" on the improprieties that led to these monstrous losses and liabilities, precipitated by numerous dubious multi-million dollar deals over many years, ACA had the audacity to tell the Nation that it could not find any wrong-doing in this scandal. ACA claimed it could not complete the investigations because it had "difficulties" in getting information from oversea parties that had transacted with Perwaja Steel. Now, with the Murad Allegations, these oversea "difficulties" which seemingly crippled ACA for years, seemed to have evaporated overnight, or else Zaki shouldn't be talking about contacting Interpol and sending his officers overseas to investigate, within hours of hearing the Allegations.
Also contrast the current super efficiency of ACA with its complete disappearance from public view over Anwar's series of Police Reports (starting from July 9th) of high level multi-million dollar corruption and abuse of power, supported by documentary evidence. These scandals involve Mahathir, Daim, Rafidah (Minister of International Trade), Mohtar Abdullah (Attorney General) and Rahim Tamby Cik (former Melaka Chief Minister). In spite of repeated prompting by the Alternative Front to investigate this corruption, ACA steadfastly plays deaf and dumb.
Consider this fact: All of Anwar's allegations are substantiated by documentary evidences, which have not been denied by any of the principal parties. And the same documentary evidences have been posted in the Internet, and hence circulated to the whole world. To date, not a single challenge has surfaced regarding the authenticity of these documents from any quarter. Additionally, Anwar had repeated his allegation of Daim having taken bribes amounting to RM 600 million in Anwar's sworn testimony in the High Court.
Compare these steel-trapped charges of corruption to Murad's generalised attacks that are not supported by any specific evidence. Look at Murad's most serious accusation of Anwar: the RM 3 billion ill gotten funds. In para 6 of Murad's Affidavit, he said: "I BELIEVE there are at least 20 other Master Accounts established for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by his various cronies. I BELIEVE that the total funds in these 20 Master Accounts run into more than RM 3 billion…."
Where are these accounts established? In whose names? What are the amounts? Without specific details and proof, Murad's accusations can at best be described as a series of his supposed beliefs and opinions on Anwar, though these bore the marks of one being "turned over" - that specialty modus operandi of the Special Branch made famous in Anwar's previous trial on his alleged "abuse of power".
Judging from the unmistakable political bias that runs through Murad's Affidavit and the absence of any supporting evidence, it is fair comment to say that this is a political plot on election eve to scandalise Anwar - possibly comparable to the BN fraud played on the people of Malaysia in the 1990 Election when Tenku Razaleigh was fraudulently portrayed as a traitor to Islam and the Malay race for having put on a Kadazan headgear with an alleged Christian cross.
We can expect over the coming days that there will be a lot more of theatricals from ACA, as well as concerted ballyhoo from the mass media to play up the alleged "corrupt" image of Anwar.
To those Malaysians who are confused by all these propaganda, they need only to ask this simple question: If Anwar is criminally guilty of the serious offences as alleged by Murad, is it possible that the entire might of the Government has been unable to come up with any criminal evidence to charge Anwar, other than the miserable third rate so called evidences of "abuse of power" and "sodomy", the low credibility of which have humiliated the entire Nation more than it has damaged Anwar?
As for ACA's role in the current scam, it only highlights its hitherto inconspicuous role as henchmen for the ruling clique, apart from its more famous traditional role as a toothless tiger when faced with corruption by powerful politicians who are protected by the top leadership. And so, another of our supposedly democratic institution has joined the ranks of fellow institutions like the Police, Attorney General's Chambers, the Judiciary and the ever present mass media, which are already serving as tools of the ruling clique to oppress political dissent.
To those diehard BN supporters who are still skeptical on criticism of ACA's hypocritical role, I invite him to listen to what the Director General of ACA had to say on the Murad Affidavit. I quote Zaki: "Almost every paragraph of Murad's statutory declaration contained some information on corruption and corrupt practices". Shouldn't the BN diehard supporter wonder why Zaki suddenly sees gold everywhere in a political document like the Murad Affidavit with its undisguised political agenda stuffed with plenty of unsubstantiated innuendoes, while failing to see any substance worth his attention in Anwar's series of Police Reports of proven high level corruption?
What possible justification does ACA have for not taking action on Anwar's Police Reports of proven and undisputed high level massive corruption by incumbent leaders, in the face of its overzealous response to unsubstantiated allegations of improprieties by an ex-Minister?
It should be clear to all Malaysians by now that ACA is playing a Jekyll and Hyde role in its current investigations of Anwar's alleged corruption.
All fair-minded Malaysians must condemn this latest BN act of sabotage of our democratic institutions, and demand instead the establishment of a genuinely independent commission of enquiry to conduct a comprehensive probe into all outstanding allegations of high level corruption and amassing of ill gotten wealth by incumbent and past leaders.
Turning now to Daim's response in the aftermath of Murad's Allegations. Daim had ordered the Central Bank to probe into the integrity and honesty of its officers. To show his concern on possible abuses by other financial institutions, he called on the public to report on any dishonest act by banking officers and I quote "write to me for immediate action to be taken".
Daim's above deeds and words would have befitted some one who is the highest financial officer of the land with a no-nonsense and transparent leadership style. But coming from the mouth of Daim, it does seem a bit odd, particularly in the light of his recent murky role in the now aborted forced bank merger scheme. In this Scheme, which is universally criticised as ill-advised and dubiously motivated, Daim has inexplicably kept his stubborn silence on why his comparatively tiny Multi-Purpose Bank was chosen to take over other banks many times its size. Daim also failed to allay suspicion of a political agenda behind this Scheme, through which 85% of the Nation's banking assets would have come under the direct or indirect control of the ruling clique.
Even more damaging to his integrity as the Country's Finance Minister is Anwar's accusation of him having taken bribes amounting to RM 600 million, a charge backed by irrefutable evidence, and for which Daim has failed to take any step to clear his name. One would have thought any decent person in Daim's shoes should have realised that he has already forfeited his moral authority to rule, not to mention the unsightly hypocrisy of giving out orders to uphold banking integrity as if none of these scandalous affairs has taken place. Perhaps our First Finance Minister would like to re-think his position in the Government for the sake of the Country, and at least refrain from further remarks that may invite ridicule, considering the disreputable circumstances he has found himself in?
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