The Recent spate of arrests by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) may indicate that the commission is not afraid to go after ‘big fishes’.
However, the question is if MACC is doing enough to fight graft.
It has been argued that Putrajaya should set up a new and independent body to effectively combat corruption in the country, otherwise MACC’s might just remain an ‘intimidator’ at best.
Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel says that the recent crackdown on graft in the public administration system is very much wanting.
“We welcome this move and urge the cleanup to be comprehensive and thorough.
“However, we are also advocating for MACC to be fully independent from the executive by way of our reform proposals for the sole reason that the commission will carry out its duties without fear and favour.
“We urge further that in cracking down on corruption, it does not ignore the elephant in the room and reopen the 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Berhad) graft case concerning the MO1 (Malaysia Official Number 1) and the top public official in the country,” she says.
While MACC may seem to be actively pursuing its mission to bust graft among top level executives, critics continue to question if there are more that MACC could do to optimise its powers as a law enforcer.
“It’s got to start somewhere. The arrests so far are only the tip of the iceberg. It must go all the way. Finally, the issue of prosecution lies with the Attorney-General (A-G).
“That requires serious reforms too,” she adds.
Gabriel reminds that the A-G’s Chambers needs very serious reforms.
“The office of the public prosecutor needs to be independent from the A-G’s Chambers,” she says.
However, Gabriel says the MACC must be open and transparent about the outcome of its investigations.
“It’s better to have a separate public prosecutor office in order to ensure separation of powers fully in place.
“MACC must find approaches to engage with civil society and the public to provide periodic info and progress especially on public interest cases.
“It all boils down to Malaysia needing separate roles of A-G and public prosecutor,” she adds.
Soo Wern Jun