Hornbill Unleashed

March 7, 2014

Low: ‘People-sanctioned’ Taib is rightful governor

Lawrence Yong

Governance and Transparency Minister Paul Low said today that he saw no reason to stop Abdul Taib Mahmud from becoming state governor after 33 years as chief minister, despite allegations against him for corruption and abuse of power.

In the week before he resigned as Sarawak’s chief minister, two NGOs and a news weekly alleged that he had used his position to enrich his family. Taib has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Low also said that he sided with the GE13 voters, who found no fault with Taib.

“Whatever it is, we are talking about high integrity society and so forth… he’s got an overwhelming vote, to be governor. I mean to be in the government, almost 100 percent as far as the constituency (is concerned).

“It’s not just Taib Mahmud but any politician as well. The people, if they vote any politician in, then I think it looks as if the people sanctioned it,” Low told reporters after a keynote address at the 6th annual corporate governance summit in Kuala Lumpur.

This week, financial weekly The Edge Malaysia reported that the family of Taib may have used a number of exempt private companies (EPCs) to hide their wealth from public scrutiny. Last week, anti-graft watchdog Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) unsuccessfully urged the government to delay Taib’s appointment as governor after London-based NGO Global Witness raised issue with a questionable government contract awarded during his reign as chief minister.

Low said that people should not be fooled by such news.

“Of course, the law enforcement itself will have to look into it. I think it’s no secret that investigation has been carried out and and is still going on.

“But you cannot prosecute anyone… it may look simple from the outside but a case must be prosecutable depending on the evidence. You don’t take action against people until it is clearly established in the court of law,” Low said.

When asked whether he would push the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate Taib, Low backed away further.

“I make it that I don’t want to know about investigations. I am a minister and I believe that MACC should not be influenced by the executive branch of government,” Low said, adding that he purposefully built a wall between himself and MACC.

‘Overwhelmed by the task of tackling graft’

Earlier, he had made a speech to about 30 academicians and corporate citizens, urging reforms in Malaysia’s political institutions to avoid losing legitimacy as true representatives of the people.

He said that the Election Commission should have more regulation, on defining vote-buying for example, and that the electoral system must be absolutely independent and gain the trust of the people.

As Malaysia’s first governance minister, Low however took an apologetic tone when it came to assessing his own fight against corruption in government.

He said that he was at first overwhelmed by the task of tackling corruption amongst the country’s 1.4 million civil servants and 25 government-linked corporations with thousands of subsidiaries.

“They wanted to know what’s a nice guy like me is doing in government,” Low said about his recent meeting with European ambassadors.

Low said that three to four months ago, he however came up with a plan to tackle corruption at the ground level and not at the top, putting in place something he called “preventive” measures.

“The system itself will catch the big fish,” Low said when asked if he was doing the minimum because there was no political will in government to tackle grand corruption.

Low elaborated that his plan was to go ministry by ministry and change the culture accordingly and said that he was starting with the Youth and Sports Ministry, Urban Development, Well-being and Local Government and Public Works Ministries.

“I go in purely because I believe I need to experiment with ministries that have new ministers there and those ministries are the ones with young ministers. And maybe, they would like to be the guinea pig,” Low said.

“These ministries had agreed to be the ‘guinea pigs’,” Low said, possibly because “they were ran by first time or new ministers”.  

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5 Comments »

  1. Paul Low, you have stooped so low just because you are offered a ministerial position with good financial earnings. You are even worse and more despicable and lowdown than the hindraf guy. You have lost all your credibility, a person with no integrity. You have no shame and your entire being stinks!

    Comment by Sharpshooter — March 7, 2014 @ 9:33 PM | Reply

  2. When he was outside, he was the champion graft and abuse of power fighter and now that he is made a MINISTER he became LOW, very very LOW,a sissy paul the nice guy who thinks taib is a nice guy like him. The taste of power and privileges are sweet indeed, and his new found buddy taib can vouch for that, right paul?

    Comment by brian — March 7, 2014 @ 4:43 PM | Reply

  3. Similar birds of the same feathers. He must have been indulging in the same activity to the person he is fond talking of.

    Comment by loyarburok — March 7, 2014 @ 2:17 PM | Reply

  4. This idiot, Paul Low, never want to admit that it was a flawed electoral system which gave the ruling government the power to rig the polls in rural and remote constituencies that returned BN and similarly Taib Mahmud to power. He should resign if ever he has any integrity left in him or keep the shut up.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — March 7, 2014 @ 6:39 AM | Reply

  5. transparency?
    might as well dun wear anything minister low.
    how your tone has changed, no?
    good for you, power and priviledges now.

    Comment by abb — March 7, 2014 @ 1:04 AM | Reply


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