People Should Not Be Discouraged from Telling the Truth


Feb 25, 2011

Tan Sri Robert Phang Miow Sin is a former member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel (CCPP). He resigned from the post recently amid the graft allegations that were leveled at him following his urging for an investigation into alleged corrupt practices in Malaysia Airlines (MAS). Phang, who is also a Justice of the Peace, said his decision to pull out from CCPP was to preserve his integrity as well as that of MACC.

An interview with Tan Sri Robert Phang Miow Sin

MD: Do you ever feel regretful of your decision to pull out of the MACC panel?

RP: This is a very soul-searching question. Very hurting question, because, after two years in MACC, I’ve made a name for myself. I criticized if it is bad, I praised if it is good. For example, the introduction of ETP, it’s a good move. It must be supported.

Regretful of pulling out? It was a very decisive decision because my intention is to walk the talk. I always profess and say, be vocal, truthful and responsible. If an allegation was made against me, I have no choice. If I had waited, people will say that Phang is going to wait and use his influence to jeopardize the case. That’s is what I don’t want. I want to stop even the suspicion, and stop the speculations. I want to walk the talk. I regret (pulling out) in the sense that, what had I done wrong? Not that I alleged the A-G on anything. I just asked him to come up with an explanation to the public.

Have you consulted anyone before resigning from your post in MACC?

My family always said that I’m a stupid guy. At 72, still wants to be busybody. You know the family’s concern, this is love. Of course they’re concerned. I told my wife, if anything happens to me, I think the public knows who to go after.

How do you feel about the A-G and MACC after what had happen?
I think the MACC is already realizing what the public wants the most. MACC is equally very concerned and the A-G, I think, should be very careful. He has a lot of allegations thrown against him too in public domain. In fairness to the A-G he has a challenging job. All in all he has to be tactful and very careful.

How would you comment on the allegation thrown at you?

I feel sad. Sad because I have been implicated. Sick as the whole society feels very sick. Sick in the sense if someone is telling the truth, you should be allowed to find out more about the truth. And it is good for the society, for the institution.

I really pray that our PM not only must be supported but he also must take note that in order for him to know he must have the real feel and not only rely on the reports from the authorities, the institution or the department. I can bet that the reports are not comprehensive enough. I think the PM needs to set up a very independent council where you can invite people from all walks of life that are courageous to speak the truth based on what is happening on the ground, and then he’ll get the real picture. Did you make further attempts to find the blogger who alleged you?

I hired a private investigator but still cannot find the blogger. The PI reported that the blog had already been traced but it’s registered under somebody else’s name. But those parts I will leave it to my lawyer to do the follow up. This is serious you know? If any anonymous blogger can issue out a statement to allege and defame someone without any truth behind it the society would be in topsy-turvy.

Do you have any suspects in mind?

I have suspects, but they’re just speculations. But that I leave to my lawyer and my PI to check. I wont give up; I want to trace them down.

What is the chance you returning as panel of MACC?

(Laughs) I have faith in the chief commissioner and the two deputies, Datuk Sukri and Datuk Haji Mustafa. I believe that they are independent and fair people. What is also in my mind, in MACC there is DPP (Deputy Public Prosecutor), the DPP is from the A-G’s office. What are the functions of DPP, we don’t know. If we were to say MACC is independent, it means every investigation has to be referred to the DPP or the MACC solely decides. Of course, for the time when you need to go for prosecution or decision for prosecution, you refer to the DPP.

So in my case, because I believe it (the allegation) is all not true, you cannot go through the investigation. Black is black, white is white once you go through the investigation. I have faith in those three panels. They are professional and also impartial. What is important is I have to be cleared first.

If I am cleared from the allegation, what we need to do is to go down to the rakyat and seek their participation to support and fight corruption. If I’m cleared, my goal is achieved. It is my commitment and principle to walk the talk. I think I should continue to fight corruption. Why shouldn’t I? But only if they want me, of course.

Who do you think would gain from the allegation made against you?

I look into two aspects. First of all, why did they do that? I already have the conclusion; they try to keep my mouth shut, to silence me. I learned a lot. The moment the investigation took place I should keep my mouth shut. Let the MACC do the necessary.

This allegation, as it is, has already garnered me followers. Look at the blogs, many people are supporting me. This is because our society thinks they need more people who have guts to speak out, to highlight what is right and what is wrong. In that respect, I think they have made me more popular. Any righteous, any social injustice, any so called truth to be highlighted, I am there.

What are your expectations for Malaysia in the fight against corruption?

I expect the rakyat to have better feedback from the events happening. I also expect people to come out and tell the truth. I hope more unnecessary pressure will be bestowed against me. Be ready to tell the truth and let god decide. No fear except to god. A word of wisdom, you can bluff anybody, but don’t bluff god. Never take god for a ride. I think that my incident is a nuisance. People need not be discouraged to tell the truth. People must support MACC in the eradication of corruption. Have no fear.

During my two years in MACC,  lots of letters from the public were sent to me and MACC asking for MACC to investigate. I just want to let them know that I will forward their letters to other MACC panel for necessary action to be taken. I appeal to the government that anybody who has a personal agenda or interest to not be the commissioner of MACC because some of them are even consultants to MACC as well as to the A-G’s office. So if they sit there as a commissioner or panel advisor, how can they be independent.  I also hope that Malaysian Digest can express this positively and objectively, give the true picture so the public can realize. And then I have no regrets. My resignation is absolutely necessary in the most honorable way so that people will know that I walk the talk.

Any last words Tan Sri?

Lastly, I appeal to MACC if there is investigation to be conducted, please speed it up because I’m looking forward to serve the nation with dignity, again.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) (Malay: Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah Malaysia, (SPRM)) (formerly Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) or Badan Pencegah Rasuah (BPR)) is a government agency in Malaysia that investigates and persecutes corruption in the public and private sectors.

Source : http://www.malaysiandigest.com/features/17656-robert-phang-people-should-not-be-discouraged-from-telling-the-truth.html

The MAS and Robert Phang Story continues


February 11, 2011

The MAS and Robert Phang Story continues: Charge the KSU for not reporting a bribery attempt

by Din Merican

The MAS scandal is like a fiery comet flying across the sky. It has brought a trail of other scandals into light. The anonymous blogs are now saying that the losses which MAS suffered during Tajuddin Ramli’s time was not true. That it was just a just a fiction. That MAS was never heading towards bankruptcy and the Widespread Asset Unbundling (WAU) exercise was a scam. Who created the fiction and the scam?

Former MAS Managing Director must answer

The best person to answer this question is Dato’ Seri Idris Jala. He was once MAS Managing Director, now entrusted by Prime Minister Najib to implement the country’s Economic Transformation Plan (ETP). It was during Idris’ time that MAS pursued criminal and civil avenues to hold Tajuddin liable for MAS’ losses. So let Idris answer if the losses were just fiction. If it was fiction, then we have a lot to worry in leaving the whole country’s economic fortunes in the hands of Idris Jala.

New Conspiracy Theory

A new conspiracy theory is now being spun by Tajuddin’s supporters that he was booted out by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economic Planning Unit) Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop. So, Tajuddin’s henchman and proxy, Shahidan Shafie, with his wide tentacles in every law enforcement agency, including being A-G Gani Patail’s close friend, is now hunting those connected to Nor Mohamed. Shahidan is now exacting revenge for Tajuddin.

Only yesterday, the MACC charged Nor Mohamed Yakcop’s former political secretary, Hasbie Satar, for money-laundering. Hasbie, 37, from Sarawak (Idris Jala’s home state) appeared alone and unrepresented when he was charged under Section 4 (1) of the Anti-Money Laundering and Anti-Terrorism Financing Act 2001. This offence carries a fine of RM5million or jail term of five years.

Targetting the High Performer Azman Mokhtar,  Khazanah Nasional CEO

Now Tajuddin and Shahidan are targeting the founders of the consultancy firm, Bina Fikir, which was responsible for WAU. Using the blogs, they have linked Nor Mohamed to Bina Fikir’s founders, Rashdan and Cambridge educated Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar who is now heading Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the nation’s investment arm. There are whispers within Khazanah that MACC has been busy visiting Khazanah on uncorroborated allegations. It seems that high performer Azman Mokhtar is being harassed using the MACC. It seems nobody is safe from the wrath of Tajuddin Ramli.

Bribery Allegation Against Robert Phang

Earlier on, using the same anonymous blogs they made an allegation that Tan Sri Robert Phang had attempted to bribe a Secretary-General or Ketua Setiausaha (KSU) of a ministry. To seek vindication and to be cleared early of these allegations, Tan Sri Robert Phang has resigned from the MACC Panel to facilitate the investigations. Since then, the MACC has gone quiet. Instead of hastening their investigation to clear Robert Phang, the MACC seems to be doing nothing. Or is something being planned so that the KSU in question will co-operate with the agenda?

What do we know about the bribery allegation? The allegation is that sometime before Hari Raya of 2010, the KSU of a Ministry which was awarding a contract worth RM 900 million had had chased Tan Sri Robert Phang out of his office because Phang tried to bribe him. What is so difficult to investigate this allegation?

Just interview the KSU concerned. If the KSU says that story is a lie,that’s the end of it. The MACC should announce that finding openly and then clear Robert Phang so that he can qualify for an extension when the MACC Panel’s term is renewed after February 24. Why is the MACC dragging its feet? Is there any reason in delaying the investigation? Is it to disqualify Phang from seeking re-appointment. Clearly public opinion is behind Phang to be re-appointed in that Panel because  Phang is the lone voice who has refused to be a rubberstamp.

On the other hand, if the KSU confirms the bribery allegation, then further investigations must be conducted. The KSU must be asked if he had reported that incident to his immediate boss, the Ketua Setiausaha Negara (KSN). If he did, what did the KSN advise him to do? Did the KSN direct him to lodge a report with the MACC? If neither of them reported to the MACC, then both of the KSN and the KSU should be  hauled up and charged for failing to report a bribery. That is an offence under s. 25 of the MACC Act which provides as follows:

S. 25  Duty to report bribery transactions

(1)     Any person to whom any gratification is given, promised, or offered, in contravention of any provision of this Act shall report such gift, promise or offer together with the name, if known, of the person who gave, promised or offered such gratification to him to the nearest officer of the commission or police officer.

(2)    Any person who fails to comply with subsection (1) commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or to both.

(3)     Any person from whom any gratification has been solicited or obtained, or an attempt has been made to obtain such gratification, in contravention of any provision of this Act shall at the earliest opportunity thereafter report such soliciting or obtaining of, or attempt to obtain, the gratification together with the full and true description and if known, the name of the person who solicited, or obtained, or attempted to obtain, the gratification from him to the nearest officer of the commission or police officer.

(4)    Any person who fails, without reasonable excuse, to comply with subsection (3) commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding ten thousand ringgit or to imprisonment.

That is how simple the investigation should be. That is how simple it is to ascertain if the KSU, the MACC and the A-G are trying to fix Robert Phang for speaking out about A-G Gani Patail’s connections to Shahidan Shafie and Tajuddin Ramli. Let the KSU be forewarned that he can be fined RM100,000 and imprisoned for 10 years if now tries to fix Phang by admitting there was such a bribery attempt .

If the KSU tries to play ball now, whereas he did not report that bribery attempt in September of 2010, then I have no hesitation to say that the public have every right to demand that MACC charge the KSU for not reporting the bribery attempt!