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Sunday January 15, 2012

Tell us how you’ll get money back, Ambiga asks Pakatan

ALOR SETAR: Pakatan Rakyat has been challenged to draw up a comprehensive plan to recover money lost in illicit outflow — believed to be in billions of ringgit — from the country.

Bersih 2.0 chief Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan was referring to last month’s report by US-based watchdog Global Financial Integrity which claimed that Malaysia lost RM150bil in illegal outflow of cash in 2009.

It was the fourth highest among developing nations, said the report, adding that Malaysia also lost US$338bil (RM1.08tril) between 2000 and 2010.

“What is Pakatan Rakyat’s plan to recover this money? We, as the people, want the money to be returned to the rakyat,” Ambiga said in a speech representing non-governmental organisations at the third Pakatan Rakyat convention at Stadium Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah here yesterday.

The Government has set up a special task force to address the huge illicit outflow of money from the country, with representatives from various agencies, including Bank Negara, Attorney-General’s Office and Inland Revenue Board.

Ambiga said Pakatan should also consider setting up an independent body similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa, to implement a policy to par- don the “small fry” involved in corruption cases.

The former Bar Council chairman said: “We must punish the big fishes, but we can forgive the ‘small fry’ so that we can move forward without any obstacles.”

She called for more women representation in politics, noting that perhaps in the next 10 to 15 years, Malaysia could have its first woman prime minister.

PKR deputy chief Azmin Ali said Pakatan was banking on Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s acquittal from the sodomy charge on Jan 9 to spearhead changes in the country’s leadership.

He said: “901 (an acronym for Jan 9) was an auspicious date to inspire Malaysians to free themselves from extremism. We are thankful that Datuk Seri Anwar is free, but the people are still not free yet.”

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