A very strange coincidence indeed. The cryptic remark without further explanation by the former Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Badawi five days ago that he knew the truth about the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Bank Negara’s foreign exchange losses three decades ago and the high-profile arrest of UMNO stalwart Md Isa Samad by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) yesterday combined to jolt memories of Malaysians and many must be asking the same question, viz:
Whether Md Isa Samad, now under arrest and five-day remand in MACC lockup, will escape justice in the way the 18 “sharks” escaped the Anti-Corruption Agency dragnet during the Abdullah premiership?
Former de facto Law Minister in Abdullah’s premiership, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim does not agree that Mohd Isa qualify to be a “shark” as he is only a “medium size catch”.
Malaysians have seen all the flurry of arrests of the corrupt before a general election, like the public promise to catch the 18 “sharks” of corruption, which was announced at the time by none other than the then Minister in Abdullah’s Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim before the 2018 general elections.
But not a single “shark” was netted to be convicted and sentenced in the whole five-year Abdullah premiership and all the “lightning and thunder” about eradicating corruption by netting and nailing the “sharks” ended in a whimper without any results.
Will the same mockery of justice repeat again with the approach of the 14th General Election?
The circumstances of Mohd Isa’s appointment as Chairman of both Felda and Federal Global Ventures (FGV) and now SPAD Acting Chairman had made this a very pertinent question.
In June 2005, Md Isa was suspended for six years from UMNO after the UMNO disciplinary board found him guilty of money politics.
With such a background, the appointment of Md Isa to top public posts is most questionable, and creates an onerous responsibility on the Prime Minister to be constantly on the alert that such a “blemished” appointee to a top public post should strictly abide by the principles of good governance, integrity and accountability.
Had Najib performed these additional duties in this case?
In June this year, after quitting as FGV chairman, Md Isa was appointed Acting Chairman of Land Public Transport C omission (SPAD).
Respond to a reporter’s question, Md Isa said he was unaware of the reason behind his appointment as acting SPAD Chairman.
Md Isa said he had accepted the appointment merely because Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak wanted him there.
He said: “I don’t know. I’m only going to SPAD because PM asked me to go.”
It is now for Najib to throw light on the issue, why he appointed Md Isa as Chairman both of Felda and FGV, and since July, his new appointment of Acting Chairman of SPAD as well as to state the present position of Mohd Isa as Acting Chairman of SPAD following his arrest and five-day remand by MACC.