PETALING JAYA: Two issues are holding Malaysia back from ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which seeks to wipe out the scourge worldwide.
They concern witness protection and the transfer of committed persons to other countries, said Transparency International's Malaysian chapter president Datuk Param Cumaraswamy.
He said Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Ghani Patail told him this recently. The attorney-general said Malaysia would ratify the convention by early next year, Param said at a panel discussion at the First National Congress on Integrity here yesterday.
In 2003, the UN General Assembly adopted the convention, covering various aspects of combating corruption, including the drawing up of laws to criminalise a wide range of corruption.
Although there are 123 signatories, including Malaysia, only 19 countries have so far ratified the convention.
I will be following up on this and we would like to see it implemented, said Param.
He added that the Government should focus on rebuilding structures that provide checks and balances such as the Anti-Corruption Agency, the judiciary and Parliament in its fight against corruption.
Such structures were severely damaged over the past two decades and this has given rise to the current state of affairs, he said.
Besides changing the mindsets of people, he said the rebuilding of these structures was crucial to eradicate corruption.
In his keynote address, Citizens International director Datuk Dr Anwar Fazal said Malaysia should target several areas in its fight against corruption, including seeking an independent ACA and judiciary.
This includes the adoption of a clear, transparent and competitive procurement policy, creation of an independent press, and establishment of an ombudsman system, weeding out money politics and getting top leaders to sign and pledge zero tolerance of corruption.
The one-day congress was jointly organised by the Graduates Christian Fellowship and the Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute.