by P Ramakrishnan
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Anti-Corruption Agency chief Zulkipli Mat Noor can no longer be in office holding on to his position as Director General. It is an embarrassment to the ACA! An institution entrusted with the highly demanding responsibility of checking and eradicating corruption cannot be headed by an individual whose character and integrity comes under a cloud of suspicion. We cannot tolerate this absurd situation. The Prime Minister must surely understand this.
Zulkipli was not merely accused of being corrupt by any ordinary citizen. It was not a wild allegation by any means. But in this case, the accusation came from a senior (now retired) ACA official, Ramli Abdul Manan, who had investigated the issue of corruption involving Zulkipli. According to Ramli, the former Sabah ACA director, he had studied this particular case and had indeed filed his report in July 2006 alerting the ACA, the then Inspector-General of Police and the Prime Minister regarding Zulkipli's corruption. Strangely, no action was taken to pursue this matter.
Besides this, it has been disclosed that several reports dating back to 1997 were lodged with the police by a woman alleging sexual molestation and behaviour unbecoming of an official, who strangely seems to be enjoying the confidence of the authorities.
In spite of these earlier reports, Zulkipli’s contract was extended three times since his appointment by former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2001. (His current term ends on 31 March 2007.) We are now told that the police are investigating this case.
Notwithstanding this, further allegations of corruption have emerged with Dr Jeffrey Kitingan lodging a 24-page police report implicating Zulkipli with corruption.
What is really worrying Malaysians is that Zulkipli continues to be on duty and in service as Director General of the ACA. There is this real fear that, because of his top position, he has access to ACA files and information pertaining to his case. It is legitimate to wonder whether there is a possibility that evidence can be tampered with or witnesses threatened. This is something that cannot be easily dismissed or overlooked.
Zulkipli’s position in the ACA is tarnishing the image of the ACA. People are losing their confidence in the ACA as a body truly dedicated to wiping out corruption. When citizens no longer view the head of this very important agency as a man of impeccable character, then the entire outfit suffers. Its credibility is shattered and the very purpose of setting up the ACA is rightly questioned. We cannot have a person remaining in such a crucial office if his integrity has been called into question or if there is the slightest hint of irregularities.
Aliran is of the view that Zulkipli should be indicted. Indicting an officer while the case is being investigated is part of the disciplinary process. When an officer is cleared, he can be reinstated without suffering any loss in salary or seniority to his rank. Why should it be different for Zulkipli, Mr PM?