The credibility of foreign agencies

I’ve just visited Politickler’s website, and watched an interesting video by “Foreign Correspondent”, a foreign news/investigative agency, on the Anwar Ibrahim case from 1999. It showed a lot of footage of what the reporters did in Kuala Lumpur at that time to get to the bottom of what is now known as one of the biggest scandals in Malaysian history.

It’s quite lengthy, being almost an hour long, but it’s a good watch. And I would advise anyone who watches it to take everything with a bit of salt. And a very open mind.

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I’m not going to talk about what I think about it. Because I think it’s quite apparent that I don’t really like the ex-PM, and I don’t usually take sides (unless if it’s against people I am particularly biased about). I’ll leave you to have your own opinions, and if there are any takers, I’d love to read some feedback.

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What I’d want to touch about, though, is the fact that this video, and the investigations carried out, was all by a foreign agency. Now, why is this “family business”, being investigated to such detail by people outside of this country?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t. But what I do find disturbing, and not just slightly, is the fact that none of this close investigation can be found in within our own country.

Was there no one, no investigative agency in Malaysia that can carry out investigations that carry strong proof?

Read this letter written by Dr M himself quite some time ago ( 28 March 2008 ):

Dr M speaks up on MB issue

[T]he public is leery of investigations by government agencies and departments. Even Royal Commissions are not highly regarded. The people believe, not true of course, that the Government has been interfering with the work of the Anti-Corruption Agency, the Police and the Attorney-General’s Chambers. The say this is borne out by the results of investigations by these agencies.

When a Deputy Minister was accused of accepting money for the release of a detainee, the Attorney-General said there was no case because the detainee said he did not give any money to the Deputy Minister. It is so easy. If you have a case involving someone, all the enforcement agencies need to do is to ask him whether he was involved. If he says “no” then there is no case.

For some reason judges are finding that people accused of murder are not guilty because of insufficient evidence by the police. Yet people who are totally not involved in a case, who were not accused of any misdeeds and who did not appear in court at all and been given a hearing, are found guilty and publicly condemned.

The public cannot be blamed for not having faith in government agencies conducting investigations. The public cannot be blamed for suspecting cover-ups by the Government or, worse still, that the Government may be using these enforcement agencies to threaten people.

To clear its good name, the Government should get credible foreign agencies to conduct the investigations. Of course they must be given full access to the documents etc.

Now my detractors are going to say I did worse things when I was Prime Minister. Well if that is so let us have the foreign agencies investigate me also. I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years so as to threaten me and ask me to shut up. So far they have not found anything.

Full article here. I have only extracted parts of this article that help with my making a point.

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Why do we need foreign agencies to investigate if we want credibility over an investigation and its results? Is this to say that only foreign people are objective in what they do, and that Malaysians are not?

This is actually very discerning. It is not good that investigative actions cannot be carried out in the country by our own men and women, without the general public expresssing their doubt over their credibility.

As Dr M pointed out, we cannot blame the general public. It is thanks mainly to the bad track record that most of our government investigation agencies have. Even when private investigative agencies are established, it will not exist without its fair share of doubt and criticism. And because there are almost equal amount of supporters on either side, no matter what the outcome, there will still be an outcry of injustice and intervention.

The government would do good in revamping this. Probably a complete change in the system is needed to gain that lost trust.

But it’s shameful, to say the least, that Malaysia would need foreign agencies to look under the rug, and pull out every sordid detail.



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