Penang says won’t sign Corruption-Free Pledge as it lacks faith in MACC

By Opalyn Mok
Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P. Ramasamy had his statements recorded by the MACC over the undersea tunnel project. — File picture by KE Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, July 17 — Penang has no faith in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and will consequently not sign the agency’s Corruption-Free Pledge, said Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P.Ramasamy.

He said Penang, Selangor and Kelantan that are governed by the federal Opposition parties have little faith in "merely signing the empty pledge".

"Penang in particular has no faith in the MACC given the fact that agency has done little to address the menace of corruption," he said in a statement issued today in response to MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad who has criticised the state's reluctance in signing the pledge.

Ramasamy also questioned why the MACC was overly concerned with states that have not signed the pledge, saying it should instead be convincing these states that it can act against those involved in corruption without fear or favour.

"But unfortunately, the MACC is not free from political interference and it will continue to be so for a long time to come. Given this, why should Penang or Selangor or Kelantan take the Corruption-Free Pledge seriously?" he asked.

He told Dzulkifli that the signing of the Corruption-Free Pledge is not as important as fighting corruption and abuse of power in the country.

Ramasamy admitted that MACC has made important moves recently to arrest and charge civil servants and one or two low-ranking politicians, but he pointed out that no moves were made against those in powerful positions especially in "mega-corruption scandals".

Ramasamy labelled the MACC as a "paper tiger" that he claimed is "still beholden" to those in the highest circles of the government.

"It is not altogether clear as to why the MACC is yet to move boldly against senior politicians in the country. While the Opposition have become easy targets, but those in the ruling circles seem to enjoy a great deal of immunity from prosecution," he claimed.

Ramasamy said Penang strongly believes in its Clean, Accountable and Transparent philosophy that seems much more effective in fighting corruption rather relying on the tainted MACC.

When contacted, Penang Deputy Chief Minister I Datuk Rashid Hasnon agreed that Penang's competency, accountability and transparency (CAT) policy implemented since 2008 was effective in fighting corruption in the state.

"Signing the pledge is just a formality and while it can be done, there is no need for it because our CAT policy is effective as it is," he said.