KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) will get its much needed fangs as a fully independent body if key recommendations from a United Nations convention are passed into law.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Paul Low said one of the recommendations made in the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) review was for the MACC to be made into a separate service commission.
“This means it can have its own terms and conditions of employment. It can hire its own personnel, who do not necessarily have to be from the civil service, including any expert or specialist in the field of anti-corruption,” said Low.
The second recommendation, he said, was to enhance the position of the chief commissioner.
“The position will be similar to a judge or the Attorney-General, where he or she can only be removed by a tribunal,” he told reporters after launching the country’s UNCAC review report at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy here.
Low said the first recommendation required changes to the MACC Act 2009 while the second required the Federal Constitution to be amended.
“Both will be tabled in Parliament this year.”
Low said it was not easy to get a two-thirds majority vote to pass the amendments, but said he saw no reason preventing lawmakers from doing so.
“There should not be any problems because this is for the good of the country and MACC,” he said.
Parliamentary Special Committee on Corruption chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, who was also present, said it was high time that the nation’s anti-corruption agency was strengthened.
“Our committee, which comprises members from both sides, sees this as a collective responsibility,” he said.
“The intention is noble and we should forget the political divide in a matter of national interest.”
UNCAC, adopted by the UN General Assembly in October 2003, is a legally binding international anti-corruption instrument that provides a comprehensive approach against corruption.
Malaysia signed the convention on Dec 9, 2003 and ratified it on Sept 24, 2008. It came into effect on Oct 24 the same year.
To date, 168 countries have become parties to the UNCAC.