MACC does not want to be a 'punching bag', says Latheefa

  • Nation
  • Friday, 05 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) no longer wants to see itself being a "punching bag" for political games.

Its newly minted chief commissioner Latheefa Koya (pic) said the anti-graft body aims to re-educate the people on its roles, and that it is not merely for arresting but has also other heavy responsibilities.

"MACC has been said to be an agency where complaints can be made but at the same time, it is made as a 'punching bag' for political games.

"We also have other heavy duties that is stipulated under the MACC Act, which is to educate the people and for prevention.

"As such, we intend to promote MACC in two levels - one is on what MACC actually does and second is in terms of education to help society to stay away from corruption," she said in a radio interview on on Friday (July 5).

Latheefa, who was appointed a month ago, said that the MACC has also done many operations to uncover graft activities, however, more can be done to improve its operations.

She said that when a complaint is received, MACC needs to ensure that it is genuine and not merely a baseless allegation done to spite or embarrass a person.

"Secondly, we want to give better training on ways to obtain evidence and statements because we are (living) in a sophisticated era, so we need to move away from the old ways where confessions were obtained using force or by rattling the witness.

"We now have the intelligence system, computer and the Internet, we can show that you don't necessarily need to get a confession if we can get all the evidence, leaving them no choice but to admit (to their mistakes)," she added.

Latheefa explained that these are among the measures that can be used to secure an effective conviction for the arrests made.

To a question on why there were many investigation papers opened but resulted in little convictions, Latheefa explained that one needs to look at the entire process.

She said that not all reports lodged leads to an opening of an investigation paper (IP).

There are three ways to process a complaint made, she added.

"First is when there is a clear statement, an IP paper can be opened, but that is very rare because many complaints are through poison letters and need verification.

"Second is when we get the information and we need to do intelligence work but we cannot be telling people about it.

"Many people think that once information is given to them, then immediately action is taken but we need to verify the information first," she said.

The third process, said Latheefa, is when whistle-blowers are involved, as such, measures are taken to ensure the safety of the said informant.

"Only complete investigation papers are brought for charges. That is why there is a perception that there are many complaints but no charges because sometimes, halfway through, there won't be enough evidence and we need to close the IP, until we get further evidence to reopen it," she added.

Latheefa hoped that the people will give MACC the fullest support and not be afraid to tell the commission so it will not be tarnished by unscrupulous news.

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