KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 – Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud should go on leave until the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) complete their probe into allegations of his corrupt practices, Lim Kit Siang said today.
The pro-government New Straits Times have highlighted the probe, which began after Taib won the Sarawak polls in April. The long-serving chief minister has resisted Putrajaya’s call to step down sooner than later, prompting a media campaign on his alleged graft offences.
“Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has confirmed that it is currently investigating Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud over allegation of timber corruption.
“Its chief commissioner, Abu Kassim Mohamed said two days ago that the commission was in the process of gathering more information regarding the matter.
“Is ‘gathering more information’ tantamount to a corruption investigation under the MACC Act 2009 or is it an activity which can be outsourced to any research organisation?” Lim (picture) asked in a statement today.
He added although what Abu Kassim said is a “great improvement to his stony silence” just two months ago, Sarawakians and Malaysians are entitled to know clearly and definitively whether MACC has opened files to investigate into the “grand corruption” allegations against the Sarawak Chief Minister.
The MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed confirmed two days ago that investigations into the nation’s longest serving chief minister’s wealth are still ongoing, and did not elaborate on the progress.
Abu Kassim had also said the anti-graft body was unaware over reports that Finma (the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) was investigating Taib’s assets in Switzerland.
Whistler-blower website Sarawak Report reported last month that the president of the Swiss Federation, Micheline Calmy-Rey, had forwarded information about Taib’s Swiss assets to its regulatory body Finma for investigation.
According to the report, Calmy-Rey was quoted as saying in an official letter that Switzerland “seriously” viewed the concerns that have been raised internationally about Taib’s alleged profiteering from timber corruption and was unhappy that such assets may have been invested in Switzerland.
“When did the MACC begin corruption investigations (as distinct from ‘gathering more information’) against Taib and why must MACC act only after international pressure emanating from the Swiss Federation President Micheline Calmy-Rey after she forwarded the information about Taib’s assets in Switzerland to its regulatory body Finma (the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority) for investigation?
“In any event, shouldn’t Taib Mahmud go on leave until MACC has cleared him of grave ‘grand corruption’ allegations as otherwise it would be a shame to Sarawak and Malaysia to have a state Chief Minister actively under MACC investigations following international pressures,” Lim said.