KUALA LUMPUR: The Attorney-General’s Chambers should give the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) prosecution powers so that it can tackle graft amongst high-ranking government servants effectively.
Transparency International Malaysia (Ti-M) president Datuk Akhbar Satar said the proposal to increase the MACC’s power had already been mooted by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Corruption but had been rejected twice.
Commenting on the recent lack of action by the A-G’s Chambers in prosecuting officials, Akhbar said the prosecutorial powers should only be invoked if there is sufficient reason to convince the MACC advisory board that there is pressure or interference in the MACC’s work.
“The important factor is however the MACC’s ability to sustain the given power in times of external pressure,” he said.
While Akhbar lauded the A-G’s Chambers for its successful prosecution of a former Immigration Director-General and a former CEO of a subsidiary company of Iskandar Investment Berhad for accepting a RM400,000 bribe in return for approving the Kampung Sungai Pendas Laut road development project, he suggested that Article 145 of the Federal Constitution should be amended to include the MACC as one of the two parties besides the Attorney-General to have the discretionary power to prosecute.
“At the moment, the Chief Commissioner and his officers have limited power, to investigate under Section 7 of the MACC Act 2009 only.
“Based on Article 145, the power to prosecute in corruption cases remains with the Attorney-General,” he said.
On Tuesday, the MACC consultation and corruption prevention advisory panel was taken aback when the A-G’s Chambers had yet to take action against a former political secretary with the title of Datuk and a director of one of the foundations headed by the former.
The panel’s chairman Datuk Johan Jaafar expressed concern over the lack of inroads made by the A-G’s Chambers following the MACC’s announcement on Jan 27 that they would be charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court for criminal breach of trust involving more than RM1.1mil and another charge of alleged cheating involving RM1mil.
Despite the latest pressure, the Attorney-General has yet to charge the duo in court.