PUTRAJAYA: A foundation has been launched to provide assistance to officers of anti-corruption agencies who are victimised, persecuted or abused for carrying out their duties.
The Perdana International Anti-Corruption Champion Foundation (Piaccf) is also meant to help those who have been intimidated, threatened or maliciously punished while on duty.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the foundation would be responsible for the International Anti-Corruption Champion Fund and to complement the aspirations of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (Uncac).
"We know that combating and exposing corruption is very dangerous, and the world has witnessed many who attempted to do so pay dearly, even with their lives.
"Obviously, those who involve themselves in corruption are powerful and rich, and their objectives are for more power and wealth and to have the means and resources to punish and stop those who attempt to put an end to their shenanigans.
"We are here to tell the world that all the anti-corruption officers who have paid heavy prices in the course of their duty are our champions and our heroes," he said when launching the foundation on Tuesday night (Feb 11).
The Prime Minister paid tribute to the contributions of several individuals in the fight against corruption.
They include former attorney-general Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz and former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull in relation to the 1MDB scandal.
"It is a significant case, as it became the turning point of Malaysia’s political direction and sparked an awakening among Malaysians.
"Their collective courage and determination brought a kleptocratic regime down, in an unprecedented show of people's power.
"I would also like to express my utmost respect to all the men and women across the globe who had given their time, lives and commitment in putting an end to the corruption scourge," said Dr Mahathir.
The event also saw two anti-graft officers being honoured after having paid a heavy price in their efforts to combat corruption.
The recipients of the Perdana International Anti-Corruption Champion 2020 Award are Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais, a senior deputy public prosecutor who was murdered in 2015 while investigating a corruption scandal, and Novel Baswedan, an officer with Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission, who during one of his investigations in June 2016, had acid thrown at him.
It left him partially blind.
"Indeed, there are many other brave officers who suffered in upholding their integrity.
"To them, the awards to Morais and Baswedan symbolise our appreciation to all of them," said the Prime Minister.
Dr Mahathir said he was proud Malaysia had taken a leading role in addressing issues affecting anti-corruption officers, starting with the introduction of the foundation.
"I sincerely hope that our contribution will send the message to all the officers of the anti-corruption agency that the government of Malaysia is with you all the way.
"And, this should also send the message to the corrupt and corruptors that we do not want you in our midst," he said.