12 jan 2011
Praise for MACC advisory panel member
I WRITE to commend Tan Sri Robert Phang on his bravery in revealing the outcome of the meeting with the attorney-general on Jan 4.
The statement of Tan Sri Ramon Naravatnam that Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail had convinced the commission that there was nothing questionable about his trip to the holy land and the MACC panel members were satisfied with the attorney-general’s explanation as there was no evidence to link him to the accusation simply seems too quick to conclude.
By saying that the accusation against the attorney-general "are just mere allegation" and "allegations against an individual not substantiated with proof cannot be seriously considered, otherwise it will be a breach of the rule of law which must prevail at all times", Naravatnam had acted like a judge in the matter making a finding, forgetting that he is a member of the MACC Advisory Board appointed under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act.
It is the advisory board member’s duty to advise the commission on any aspect of the corruption problem in Malaysia, to advise the commission on policies and strategies of the commission in its efforts to eradicate corruption, to receive, scrutinise and endorse proposals from the commission towards the efficient and effective running of the commission, to scrutinise and endorse resource needs of the commission to ensure its effectiveness, to scrutinise the annual report of the commission before its submission to the special committee on corruption, and to submit its comments to the special committee on corruption as to the exercise by the commission of its functions under the Act.
None of the provisions in the Act has empowered the advisory board to investigate any matter lodged with the MACC against any individual and to make any findings on behalf of the MACC. Investigation ought to be conducted by trained officers of the commission and the result of which shall be sent to the public prosecutor to decide whether to prosecute as prosecution of any offences under the Act can only be conducted with the consent of the public prosecutor.
It is interesting to note that the attorney-general is the public prosecutor. So who shall decide whether to prosecute the attorney-general is another question that had been raised by Phang before but doesn’t seem to have attracted the interest of any cabinet minister and was not heeded by Abdul Gani himself at the meeting on Jan 4.In response to Phang’s statement, Naravatnam emphasised that "it is my judgment and views as the chairman of the advisory panel. I have the right to state my judgment on behalf of the panel". I understand that the chairman should only speak on behalf of the board if authorisation is duly given by the members of the board.
Has this been done? Phang’s response has clearly suggested a "No". Would that mean that the chairman has bypassed the members of the board in coming to a conclusion that the attorney-general has no case to answer? We shall leave it to all members of the advisory board to clarify.
Malaysia needs someone like Phang to speak the truth.
Source : http://www.sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=56236