Verdict to overturn Ku Nan’s corruption conviction a blow in the fight against money politics

PRESS STATEMENT

16 JULY 2021

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) is severely dismayed by today’s judgment which allowed the appeal against Ku Nan’s conviction for corruptly receiving RM2 million for himself from businessman, Chai Kin Kong. The court ruled that the RM2 million in question was for political donations for two by-elections.

This decision is a major blow in the fight against money politics, which is predicated on the close links between businessmen and politicians. Even if the RM2 million was for the by-elections, it far exceeds how much a candidate is allowed to spend in a campaign under the Election Offences Act 1954. Where has the rest of the money gone?

Already, there is little oversight, if any, on the massive amounts of money channeled from the business sector into the political system under the pretext of “political donations”. In this case alone, Ku Nan himself shockingly told the court that it was not necessary to report receipt of the RM2 million to Najib Razak, his party leader at the time. C4 Center is extremely concerned that this decision will embolden politicians to consolidate their links with businessmen and cement the practice of “political donations” even further.

Urgent reforms are needed to ensure that the flow of money from business to politics is controlled and disclosed to the public. Without these reforms, this unchecked practice will continue to enable corruption and cronyism amongst our elected representatives. We cannot continue to let our democracy be destroyed by abusers of public office.

Recently, Ku Nan was also embroiled in a corruption case of RM1 million involving another businessman, Tan Eng Boon. In this case, the AGC instructed the prosecution to seek a discharge not amounting to acquittal, which was granted by the court. This instruction was supposedly due to “new developments” for which the prosecution needed “time to investigate”. Since December 2020, there has been no progress announced for this case, despite it being of major public interest.

At a time when our political elites are regularly seen unashamedly flaunting their power, we must take a stand. C4 Center urges the prosecution to appeal against this decision and continue fighting against the scourge of money politics. C4 Center also calls on the AGC to update the public on the status of Ku Nan’s RM1 million corruption case, and for the MACC to investigate his links to controversial mega projects, which include Desmond Lim’s proposed Pavilion Taman Tun at Taman Rimba Kiara and the distinctly expensive Bangsar-Damansara elevated highway project.

END

Released by:

Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center)

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