KUCHING: Corruption in the construction industry is at a “serious level”, says Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) state director Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin.
“I urge all involved in the industry to cooperate with MACC to curb the practice of corruption, which is at a serious level. This is proven by the existence of many problems involved in large-scale and high value projects in Malaysia, which has affected the country and Government’s image,” Bahri said.
“In the construction industry, because it tends to involve large sums between public and private bodies, bribery becomes the ‘shortcut’ to get ‘help’ and ‘opportunities’. They do this to avoid difficulties and reduce chances of their own failure.”
The state director’s speech was read out by his deputy Rosley Mohamad Satar at the opening of Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and MACC organised Integrity In Building seminar here yesterday.
“Just imagine how big the losses would be for the Government and public at large when expensive infrastructure projects fail to be completed, cannot function, are not long lasting or unsafe,” Bahri said.
Bahri did not provide much details in his speech on corruption in the industry, except general statements. Statistics he presented were also not specific to the construction industry.
In a separate presentation later, a National Integrity Institute official, however, used the example of leaky and collapsed roofs reported in Peninsular Malaysia as examples of high rates of corruption in the industry.
Bahri said a total of 22 individuals were arrested in Sarawak under the MACC Act 2009, out of which 15 were specifically for bribery.
“Last year, state MACC arrested 45 people in total, of which 17 were for bribery. The amount is fewer than 2012, when 51 were arrested for bribery, out of 118 total arrests,” Bahri told the seminar.
“I believe the reduction in arrests for bribery is the result of rising public awareness, especially from the perspective that bribe givers are not exempt from the law.”
On public complaints lodged to MACC Sarawak, Bahri said 693 complaints were received in 2012, 533 in 2013 and 126 so far this year.
From the complaints, he said MACC invesigated 95 cases in 2012, 69 cases last year and 30 cases this year.
Sarawak CIDB director Mohd Merzan Hashin said the agency was working towards “zero corruption tolerance”.
“The delivery of construction services is directly or closely related to the credibility of the contractors in carrying out their responsibilities,” he said.
Under Section 17 (b) of the MACC Act, any form of bribery offered to a civil servant can lead to jailing of not more than 20 years, a fine of up to five times the bribe amount or RM10,000, which ever amount is higher.