‘No longer a punching bag’

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 06 Jul 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) no longer wants to be a punching bag in political games, says its chief commissioner Latheefa Koya.She said the anti-graft body aimed to re-educate the people on its roles, and that it was not merely about making arrests but it also had other heavy responsibilities.

“MACC is said to be an agency where complaints can be made but at the same time, it is made as a punching bag in political games.

“We have other heavy duties that are stipulated under the MACC Act, which are to educate the people and for prevention of graft.

“As such, we intend to promote MACC on two levels; what MACC actually does, and secondly, in terms of education to help society stay away from corruption,” she said in a radio interview on MACC.fm yesterday.

Latheefa, who was appointed a month ago, said the MACC had also done many operations to uncover graft activities although more could be done to improve its operations.

She said that when a complaint was received, MACC must ensure that it was genuine and not merely 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 were among the measures that could be used to secure an effective conviction for the arrests made.

To a question on why there were many investigation papers but few convictions, Latheefa explained that one needed to look at the entire process.

She said that not all reports lodged would lead 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 (keterangan); an IP can be opened but that is very rare because many complaints are made via poison letters.

“This needs 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, was when whistle-blowers were involved and measures would need to be taken to ensure the safety of the 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.

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