PETALING JAYA: A rights activist has urged the authorities to train their focus on the alleged extraordinary wealth of Sarawak Governor Taib Mahmud, saying it would show that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government under Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not selective in its anti-corruption drive and would also take action against individuals seen to be close to the prime minister.
“The PH government has shown us that where there is a political will in getting to the root of the 1MDB scandal, there is a way to get rid of corruption in Malaysia and crony capitalism,” said Kua Kia Soong today, as former prime minister Najib Razak was formally charged on four counts of corruption and abuse of power.
Kua, a former political detainee and staunch Mahathir critic, said the prime minister must demonstrate that his campaign against Najib was not a personal vendetta by ignoring “his long-time ally in Sarawak”.
He said in living up to its image of promoting good governance, it was time for Putrajaya, under PH, to compel Taib, who he said could be the “richest individual in Malaysia”, to declare his assets.
Taib was Sarawak’s chief minister for 23 years, a big part of which was throughout
Mahathir’s 22-year premiership.
He has been accused of amassing huge wealth and government contracts to benefit his family members, including by his foreign critics, such as Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which estimated his wealth to be worth billions of dollars.
Activists and politicians have lodged several graft reports against Taib with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), after Mahathir brushed aside calls to investigate Taib, saying there had been no formal complaint.
Kua said PH must fulfil its pledge to wipe out kleptocracy, saying it was this promise that gave the coalition its polls victory last May.
“They must not disappoint the people of Malaysia, especially Sarawakians, who have seen the wealth of their state sucked dry by the rapacious greed of the kleptocrats there,” he added.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Mohd Shukri Abdull said yesterday that 15 investigation files had been opened since 2015/2016 on Taib but it was unable to take any action against him as investigations show that he did not chair any meetings or make decisions regarding certain projects.
“The investigations showed that the allegations were partly true. The problem was that he (Taib) did not make decisions, and he did not chair meetings.
“There were no cases that could be linked to him as the decisions were made by others.
“We have handed the matter over to the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” he said, adding that nothing more could be done unless new information surfaced.