Phang wants A-G to clear the air
KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 30, 2010): Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail should clear the air once and for all on the cases investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which escaped prosecution.
Social Care Foundation chairman Tan Sri Robert Phang said today Abdul Gani should explain and clarify to the people the reasons some of the cases submitted to the A-G’s Chambers were not prosecuted or resulted in acquittals without the defence being called.
“The A-G must dispel all doubts to uphold the dignity of his office and clear the public perception on MACC, which has been accused of selective prosecution,” he told a press conference at a hotel here.
“Of late, MACC has been criticised over its handling of several high-profile cases, and many have said that its performance is not up to the mark.”
He said the cases the MACC has been accused of selective prosecution included:
* the failure to prosecute former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Seri Dr Khir Toyo over his ownership of a mansion reportedly valued at RM24 million whereas several Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen in Selangor were subjected to investigations over alleged abuse of allocations amounting to only RM2,400 like the Teoh Beng Hock case;
* the prosecution of Tourism director-general Datuk Mirza Thaiyab whereas others responsible were not held accountable;
* the prosecution of certain people in the multi-billion ringgit Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal whereas the forensic audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers had named many other personalities, including former transport minister Tan Sri Chan Kong Choy; and
* no decision to act against former inspector-general of police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and Abdul Gani, after former Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim published letters accusing these two officials of manipulating and tampering with evidence in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s “black eye Incident”.
“The MACC does its best to investigate and gather evidence before submitting a case to the A-G’s Chambers for a decision to prosecute. That is the role of the MACC,” Phang, who also sits on the MACC Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, said.
“Malaysians have every right to judge and criticise MACC’s performance but that must be done fairly. They cannot blame or hold MACC responsible for failing to decide on prosecution because that is the power and jurisdiction of the A-G’s Chambers.”
Phang, who said he is not defending MACC or speaking as an advisory panel member, pointed out that MACC does not have the power to prosecute.
“Sometimes the A-G would not decide to prosecute a case because of lack of evidence, so the case would be sent back to MACC to continue with the investigation,” he said.
Urging the people to encourage and support MACC in its efforts to eradicate corruption, Phang said MACC’s success rate in convictions should be acknowledged and highlighted.
“If there is lack of evidence, then the A-G must not try to bulldoze its way and order a case to be prosecuted because when a case is lost in court, the public is always quick to blame the MACC, not the A-G,” he said.
Phang also urged Abdul Gani to clarify an allegation posted on the Malaysia Today blog, saying that Abdul Gani is currently performing the haj with someone associated with a public figure that has been tried in court.
“Another case that has caught public attention involves lawyer Rosli Dahlan. The alternative media has created the perception that Rosli has been victimised as a result of his professional role in pursuing civil and criminal action against former Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Tajudin Ramli,” he said.
Phang said he has received two letters from Rosli, asking MACC to withdraw a charge that it had preferred against him and learnt that MACC had recommended to the A-G that it would like the case to be withdrawn.
“However, till today, the A-G has not responded,” he said.
“I hope the public will understand that in matters relating to prosecution of an offence, Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution vests the A-G with the discretion to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings.
“As such, MACC does not have the power to withdraw the charge against Rosli unless the A-G agrees to do so.”
Phang also called on Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz not to delay the cabinet’s investigation on allegations against Abdul Gani, and to ensure transparency in the matter.
Updated: 08:40PM Tue, 30 Nov 2010