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Mar 20, 2008

Missing files: An attempt to hide or destroy incriminating evidence?

Aliran is shocked and disturbed to learn that “all government documents and minutes of the out-going Barisan Nasional (BN) government” in Penang have been removed surreptitiously from the seat of the government building, Komtar.

It is understood that “all records of projects, completed or on-going, approved by the previous government, were missing.” It is obvious that all these important documents were deliberately removed by BN Exco members from their offices following their loss in the recent elections. This conduct is unbecoming of previously elected officials who were in charge of various portfolios. It should have been very apparent from the very beginning that the in-coming government would need these documents for continuity and for reference purposes.

These are official documents and cannot be considered by any stretch of imagination as private property of those holding their respective portfolios. These documents were a record of what was done and undertaken on behalf of the government by these officials for the good of the people. A complete record of these documents pertaining to their portfolios must be available and should have been made available to the in-coming government. That would reflect good governance and would be in keeping with ethical conduct in a democracy.

It is reported “that executive councillors of the previous administration had been directed to remove these files from the offices.” Who directed them and under what authority were they directed to do this? Will the State Secretary, Datuk Jamaludin Hasan, provide us with some clarification on this report?

The episode of the missing files were not confined only to Penang. There seems to be a pattern in the way important files went missing. This happened in Kedah as well - whereas in Selangor, it was reported, important documents were in fact shredded.

Is there a plot to hide or destroy these documents because they may contain incriminating evidence that might implicate certain top echelon officials and cause problems for the former BN state governments? This is entirely possible as we have witnessed so much abuse in the way contracts were awarded and in the manner certain development projects were launched or undertaken. There has also been questionable conduct in the alienation of state land to certain individuals deemed to be close to the source of power.

The Prime Minister must direct his defeated BN officials to behave honourably and return all these documents to the present state government. Failing which, these newly elected state governments should take up this matter with the courts to recover all these documents which are the property of the respective state governments.

Aliran Executive Committee


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