It's beyond govt's control

MALAYSIA'S score on Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) for 2010 is disappointing as the government has done "what is humanly possible" to fight graft, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said yesterday. He said there were certain high- profile cases which were "beyond" the government's control.

TI president Datuk Paul Low had said on Tuesday that Malaysia's corruption score had dropped from 4.5 per cent last year to 4.4 this year.

He added that the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) fiasco and the "Lingam tape" scandals had adversely affected public perception of corruption in the country, leading to the drop in the corruption score.
Nazri said there was nothing the government could do on some matters.

"Unless, of course, TI wants us to interfere with the judiciary and direct the judiciary to have a quick hearing and also to convict those charged. I don't think that's what TI wants," the minister in charge of law and parliament said yesterday.

"So, to be honest, as for PKFZ, there's nothing we can do."

He added that as long as the case was not resolved, the perception would remain that the country was not doing much to fight corruption.

On the case involving senior lawyer Datuk V.K. Lingam, he said the matter was in the attorney-general's hands.

"In my opinion, there's nothing to charge Lingam with because there is no proof that he had influenced the appointment of judges and there was no element of corruption because he was not caught with money.

"We can't simply charge Lingam just to get an increase of 0.1 or 0.2 in our corruption perception score.

"You cannot charge somebody when no offence was committed."

He said that since Lingam had not been charged, the perception was that Malaysia had not done enough as far as corruption was concerned.

On the open tender system, the Padang Renggas member of parliament said he would push for it to be implemented to improve transparency.

"Direct negotiations should also be stopped. That, we can do."

Asked about Datuk Seri Najib Razak's statement on Monday that not all projects had to go through open tender system, Nazri added that the prime minister had his own reasons for saying so and this was probably because the government wanted to speed up certain projects.

"But I think we can make it transparent by revealing details to the public such as the value of contracts offered and to whom the projects were awarded to."

Read more: Nazri: It's beyond govt's control


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