MACC Chief Commissioner, Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad was obviously upset over Lim Kit Siang's monkey remark.
He described Lim Kit Siang as uncivilised and by Malaysian norm, uncultured behaviour and words. MACC and himself is open to criticism but it should be done in a civilised manner.
Kit Siang's uncouth remark should not be read literally. The master in the art of subversion is merely seizing on the opportunity to incite hatred against MACC.
He could see Dzulkifli as the target of hate from within and without government; and within BN and opposition party and its supporters.
MACC is used to being vilified by both sides of the political divide thus it should be no big deal.
However, Kit Siang could see the war of words between the Chief and PM Department's Minister, Datok Paul Low as a potential time bomb to cripple MACC.
He has a score to settle with MACC. His heir apparent and Chief Minister of Penang is facing corruption charges.
Lim Guan Eng's counsel could only do an Anwar Ibrahim-like dilly dally to buy time but nothing can be done. Heard there is more than one mutual interest link between Guan Eng and Pang Li Koon.
MACC is hitting on a relative to Pang and key man of DAP in Penang, Phee Boon Pah.
They are already made their move on Selangor and that could destroy the clean image of the PKR-DAP-PAS coalition government.
Paul Low announcement to upgrade the Integrity and Good Governance Division under the PM's Department into a full department with staff and budget was not received well by MACC and NGO.
Cabinet approved the establishment of the Department of National Integrity and Good Governance (JITN) on July 28th. It is meant to link the Public Complaints Bureau, Malaysian Institute of Integrity and MACC as well as the Malaysian Human Rights Commission.
JITN would collaborate with Ministries to improve the civil service culture and address weaknesses in the public service highlighted in the annual Auditor-General’s Report. (Read TMI here)
Dzulkifli described JITN as a waste of resources at a time MACC and all law enforcement agencies, especially police is facing severe funding shortage.
This followed the indiscriminate budget cut by Treasury Secretary General, Tan Sri Dr Irwan Serigala (.... pardon me, it's Irwan Serigar) without giving priority to the more important role of goverment.
Paul Low claimed the new department won't cost much. Nevertheless, the little it may cost could be big in times of competing needs on the goverment coffer.
MACC had requested for additional staff for years but been continually rejected by JPA. There in dire need for more investigators.
There is serious duplication of role by existing agencies. Paul could only deny and claim JITN is to prevent overlapping of function and improve efficiency of human resources.
It is only natural on Dzulkifli to suspect the intention is to control and influence MACC.
As a commission status agency, MACC acts independently without any superior to answer to. The role of the government department it falls under is only take care of the tables and chairs.
Again, Paul Low denied JITN will have power to influence MACC probe. It is intended to transform and not to control.
The opposition and opponents to MACC from pro-government supporters picked on Dzulkifli's comment to question Paul Low for the intention to control MACC.
M'kini assisted to amplify here as it is potentially divisive. They criticise Dzulkifli here to question MACC's independent status as commission with the argument he is on the public service payroll.
They put words into Dzulkifli's mouth as though government of the day should not monitor and audit MACC. They cited the arrest of MACC officer for corruption to back their argument.
MACC is not the only outfit that voice such view. The NGO Malaysia Corruption Watch voiced the same here.
More than meets the eye
The motivation of opposition and critics of government or ruling party is only expected.
However, there could be more than meets the eye from the government and pto-government supporters.
Dzulkifli may be right to suspect there is an attempt to curb the power of MACC. It could be politicians working behind the scene since BN politicians including those holding positions in government - state of federal - were not spared by MACC.
The latest being probed - more the Ministry than the Minister - is the “missing” RM40mil from the Skills Development Fund Corp (SDFC) under the Human Resource Ministry.
Some sneeky mainstream media is already spinning 10 hours questioning of the Minister as another MACC underhanded investigation technique.
It is perpetuating the outcry of government supporters and former Minister to question the handcuffing and orange remand T shirt worn by Tan Sri Isa Samad as he was taken to court to get remand order. They were provoked by DAP lawyers.
Apparently, it was Isa willingly and insisted MACC do their job according to their usual practise.
It is not a surprise that the Prime Minister is being asked by Ministers and UMNO Supreme Council members to carry out disciplinary actions and possibly, removal of Dzulkifli.
If PM succumb to pressure, the PTD Mafia will have a big victory celebration. The budget cut serve their insidious purpose.
The civil servants reaction to MACC clean-up.of government was slow down by work to rule. Using the excuse of MACC, claims that could be reimbursed by the next paycheck in the private sector took 8 months for lower civil service staff.
The cold defense to rebut Wan Azizah's reluctance to have their candidate list vetted by MACC was indicative of pro-government supporters to MACC.
There are comments on media social that did not take kindly of Dzulkifli's announcement of receiving BN candidate list for vetting.
A BN supporter, but Najib critic and bordering on supporting PPBM, Zaharin Yassin questioned the vetting. He argued potential candidates should not be deemed as corrupt till ascertained by the court. There are pro-Najib voices seconding him.
There could be rules and procedures governing the conduct of civil servants. However, Najib should resist from applying it.
For one, it will run counter to his belief for an open government and practise of greater democrasy. JITN was not discussed in public. No effort was done for prior engagement to gauge public opinion.
Secondly, Najib need be reminded of the words of his father.
Dzulkifli should just be advised and reminded without any need for reprimanding. And, from where he stand, his concerns are justified.
In 2013, MACC annual budget was RM250 million. For 2014, it was RM297.5 million. The budget for 2017 is RM216.2 million without any budget for asset.
Since 2014, budget have been reduced every year. The budget for asset reduced from RM13 in 2015 to RM1.17 mil for 2016, and none for 2017. The current budget is below the average of RM269.3 million.
And yet public expect MACC to do wonders - act swiftly on suspected corrupt, investigation done with the shortest of time and prosecution immediate, and even able to act on mere rumour of corruption and power abuse being committed.
Perhaps, they should attend a do at the new MACC headquarter in Presint 8 Putrajaya tomorrow to know more of the outfit. Dato Najib will be there.
Some how or rather, jealousy could be the reason behind all this happening. Dzulkifli's rise have been meteoric.
At one time, Dzulkifli was put in cold storage by former Attorney General, Tan Sri Gani Patail and co-conspirator/lover, Jessica Kaur. It was only slightly more than two years ago that he could be seen walking alone in Bangsar during lunch.
He returned to AG office upon the appointment of Tan Sri Apandi Ali. For his good work to lead the NRRET task force, he was tasked to take up sensitive cases and was awarded Datokship.
Dzulkifli was appointed MACC Chief Commission beginning August 1st 2016. He had just finished his first year and recently said he was proud to survive through it.
Within a year, he received his Tan Sriship in early September from DYMM Seri Paduka Baginda Yang Dipertuan Agong.
The shelf life of brave and dedicated graft busters and no holds barred civil servants like the late Dato Hassan Ibrahim and surviving Tan Sri Ishak Tadin has a tendency to be short.
It better not be for Dzulkifli.
In these days of majority University students surveyed are willing to accept bribe in the name of pragmatism and fast track to easy life, dedicated graft busters are scarce. Dzulkifli is the best there is now.
Maybe Dzulkifli should slow down. But, not to slowdown in busting more corrupt officials and politicians. Just be more focus. It would be good to see giver of bribe being charged too.
And, Najib should not be seen to waiver on the fight against corruption.