15 Jan 2014

'Mammoth street rally if graft goes unpunished'

PKR MPs have warned of a mammoth rally if prominent individuals being probed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) do not face charges after an expected amendment to the MACC Act in March.

Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli pointed out that the MACC has previously claimed that it could not present a solid case against bigwigs due to loopholes in the Act.

"Hundreds of thousands of people were on the street (during Bersih’s push for) electoral reform, but corruption is the Number One enemy of the country and many problems are rooted in corruption,” he told an anti-graft forum in Kuala Lumpur last night.

"This is an early warning to the government and the MACC. If they do not handle (corruption) well, people will get sick of it and march in the streets.

"We start in a consultative way but by March, after the law is amended and (if) ministers are still not charged, I am sure a few us will be instigators (of a mammoth rally)."

This consultative manner, he said, included the forum itself, which was aimed collating ideas to contribute to the drafting of an alternate amendment Bill.

The government's Bill to amend the MACC Act is expected to be tabled when Parliament convenes for its new session in March.
"Before, we were checkmated as the (Bill) would be given a day before debates. This time we feel an amendment is coming in March. So, we are starting tonight to propose our amendment to be a comparison (during parliamentary debates)," Rafizi said.

He was echoing the call of Padang Serai MP N Surendran (right), who said that Hong Kong's successful anti-corruption efforts stem from political will and the integrity of the anti-graft body.

However, he said, neither would have happened if Hong Kong youths had not rallied against corruption, which was widespread in the-then British colony in the 1970s.

"It changed because people got sick of it and students took to the streets. Amending laws is not enough,” said Rafizi.

"Malaysians must take corruption seriously as it is hitting our pockets, bleeding our country dry and destroying our civil service. It is time we take to the streets and do so peacefully."

He said Malaysians have for far too long accepted that corruption is part of life, and feel that they are unable to do anything while political big shots grow "fabulously rich".

"We have come to a stage where because no real action is taken, every joker has amassed so much wealth," he said.

‘MACC can’t do its job’

Rafizi also said the law is already strong enough if the MACC has the will to act and if the government has the will to support the anti-graft body.

While the rank and file of the MACC are trying their best, he noted, they are curtailed by the commission’s leadership who are under "tremendous" pressure from those in the government not to act.

"I invite the MACC to consider if they have been able to do their job. If they feel they cannot stand the pressure ... I ask them to do the right thing and let someone else who is prepared to do these things to take over.”

Other speakers at the forum were Bar Council secretary Richard Wee, Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia president Amadi Manan and Transparency International-Malaysia president Akhbar Satar.

The forum, organised by the National Oversight and Whistlblowers institution, focused on how to curb in those suspected to be corrupt as they are living beyond their means.

Source :  http://beta.malaysiakini.com/news/251795

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