Jul 3, 2007

Malaysia to keep police chief despite graft claimsm

As reported by Reuters.

(Reuters) Malaysia agreed on Monday to extend the tenure of the country's police chief despite claims circulated on the Internet and local newspapers that he was involved in graft and was linked to crime syndicates.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, whose portfolio includes the police, said he would retain Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan for an unspecified period.

"I have decided to extend the IGP's service so that he can continue his agenda to fight crime and bring good the level of integrity to the police force," Abdullah said at his office in Putrajaya, the nation's administrative capital.

Corruption allegations against Musa and an unnamed cabinet minister surfaced in local newspapers at the weekend as Abdullah struggled to keep his 3-1/2-year anti-graft campaign on track.

In the latest developments, deputy internal security minister Johari Baharum, himself under investigation over corruption allegations, was quoted as saying that his ministry was now "keeping tabs" on graft claims against Musa.

Musa, who had been due to retire on Sept. 12, has strenuously denied the allegations against him, describing them publicly as wild and baseless slander.

On Saturday, the Star newspaper reported that a former opposition politician, who now heads an anti-corruption lobby group, had sent a dossier to the prime minister's office containing graft allegations against an unnamed cabinet minister.

Abdullah won a huge election victory in 2004 on a promise to clean up corruption. Action has since been taken against many lower-level officials, and he has raised salaries for both bureaucrats and rank-and-file police, but high-profile catches have been elusive.

The anti-graft campaign has also been handicapped by recent judicial criticism of the handling of some of the few high-profile cases that have reached court.

Last week, a court acquitted the ex-boss of Malaysia's state-owned steel firm after it accused prosecutors of failing to make an adequate case.

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