Unfreeze the Accounts, Go for the Ministers

The freezing of the bank accounts of more than 500 companies by the MACC is merely a drama played up by the MACC in its desperate attempt to redeem its dented image. It is merely trying to sensationalise the whole episode of “war against corruption in logging industry”.
Such tactic of “freezing all accounts first then investigate” is not only against the basic due process of the law but it will not give any added assistance to the MACC in the investigation of any case of corruption.
DAP supports all anti-corruption action, but this is not the way to do it. This is merely dramatizing the whole exercise without having any added impact on the true culprits. Worst of all, innocent traders and companies are victimized along the way.
Is such tactic deployed at the MACC’s own accord or is the MACC receiving instruction from the State Government?
With the accounts of 500 companies frozen, how many investigating officers is required to be deployed to carry out the investigation and how long will the investigation last. Does the MACC have enough investigating officers to do the job within two weeks or one month?
To thoroughly investigate a company’s account, the MACC needs at least 3 – 5 officers full-time investigating the company for at least 2 – 3 weeks, more complicated cases will need more officers and time. How many investigating officers have the MACC deployed to investigate these 500 companies, bearing in mind that these officers must at least have some basic accounting knowledge.
In fact, there is no necessity to freeze the accounts of the companies for the purpose of investigation. All money transactions of the accounts are in the record of the banks. With or without freezing the accounts, the records will remain there for investigation by the MACC.
The only valid and acceptable reason for freezing a company’s account is when there is already sufficient evidence to prosecute the company in Court for corruption. It is only then that the MACC has valid grounds to freeze the account of the company in question.
What the MACC is doing now is just casting a big net and hope to get something out of it. This is clearly an abuse of its power under the law and this will cause unnecessary hardship not only to the companies, but all the employees, contractors and suppliers of these companies and their family members. Ultimately, it will put Sarawak’s economy in jeopardy.
Just because the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Adenan is now declaring was on illegal logging and corruption in logging industry, therefore the MACC carry out the blanket order to freeze the accounts of almost all those involved in the industry. This is “persecution”, not “fighting corruption”.
If tomorrow Adenan were to declare war on corruption in the property development industry, will the MACC then freeze the accounts of all the developers? Who will be next? Legal firms, accounting firms, hardware stores, common traders? It smacks of tyranny where rule by man prevails over the rule by law.
As such, I call upon the MACC to unfreeze all the accounts of the companies which at present the MACC has no sufficient evidence to prosecute in Court. This drama should be stopped. The due process of the law must be put in practice.
I further call upon the MACC that if it is serious about fighting corruption, the targets should be on:
1. the Ministers and Assistant Ministers who have assets or money in bank accounts beyond their means. They are the ones who are not supposed to have other sources of income apart from there ministerial allowances;
2. the immediate family members of the Ministers and Assistant Ministers and their companies, whereby government contracts were awarded without open tender and land alienated at far below the market values;
3. high-ranking government officers who has the power to approve contracts and alienation of state land and whose assets and bank accounts are beyond the means of their salaries.

Chong Chieng Jen
MP for Bandar Kuching
ADUN for Kota Sentosa