PETALING JAYA: Datuk Paul Low was helpless when two directors were transferred out of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) during earlier investigations into 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
The former minister in the Prime Minister’s Department confirmed being confronted by Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull, who was then MACC’s deputy chief commissioner (operations), over the transfers.
“When the two officers were transferred, I did do my best to have them transferred back to the MACC but I couldn’t,” he said.
MACC’s special operations division director Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zain and strategic communications division director Datuk Rohaizad Yaakob were transferred to the Prime Minister’s Department in April 2017.
Mohd Shukri, MACC’s new chief commissioner, said yesterday he contacted both Low and Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who was also a former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, about the transfers.
Low said the current system did not protect investigators.
“They can be transferred out because they are civil servants. This is one of the reasons why the MACC needs to be a body on its own.
“The Attorney General and MACC should be independent of the executive,” he said.
In a recent report, Low said institutional reforms must take place in all three branches of the Government – the executive, legislative and the judiciary.
He said bodies such as MACC should report directly to Parliament – not to the Prime Minister or Cabinet – and that this independence should extend to the appointments of the chief commissioner and staff.
“The officers’ tenure must be secure and cannot simply be removed so they have no fear of carrying out their investigations and prosecutions,” he was quoted saying.