Groups want laws integral to anti-corruption tabled

PETALING JAYA: Ahead of the launch of the National Anti-Corruption Strategies 2024-2028 (NACS), anti-graft crusaders have shared their wish list on what the national strategy should entail, including the tabling of certain laws which are seen as integral to the fight against corruption.

Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) chief executive officer Pushpan Murugiah said the next edition of the NACS should continue the reforms that were not accomplished within the time frame the previous edition was in effect.

“C4 was invited for a stakeholder meeting to discuss the NACS last year. However, they have not shared the exact details of the current NACS, which to us should be the continuation of the implementation of the NACP,” he said when contacted.

“However, we do have a concern on the basis of the National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP), which was initially parked under the National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC).

“The GIACC was an agency that looked at the overall implementation of the NACP and the agency that coordinated with the many different ministries and agencies on the reforms listed in the NACP.

“The NACP itself was also a comprehensive roadmap that looked at all the different segments of the government machinery from the legislative functions, judiciary, legal reforms, and institutional independence of government bodies and regulators.

“We know that the GIACC has now been parked under the MACC since April of last year and renamed as the National Governance Planning Division.

“Due to this restructuring of the GIACC into a division under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), we are unsure if the NACS initiatives will have the same broad reform initiatives as the NACP,” he said.

He asked if pertinent reforms which are crucial to combat corruption such as the separation of power between the Attorney General (AG) and the Public Prosecutor as well as the political financing laws, be included in the NACS.

“These are some of the crucial reforms that are needed if we are serious in combating corruption, especially grand corruption,” Pushpan said.

Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim said the NACS should ensure the appointment of the next MACC chief goes through Parliament.

“I hope the new MACC chief commissioner will be appointed through new procedures, whereby the Prime Minister would propose the candidates to the parliamentary special select committee for vetting and confirmation,” he said.

Hassan, who is also part of the Special Committee on Corruption (SCC) – an independent body that provides a check on the MACC and is governed by Section 14 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act 2009 (Act 694) – said that once approved by Parliament, the new MACC chief can then be formally appointed.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Dr Muhammad Mohan said the NACS should also include amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 by addressing the flaws related to the reporting of wrongdoings.

He said an Ombudsman Bill to encourage individuals reporting on improper conduct under a one-stop agency must also be included.

“Aside from that, the Political Financing Bill, which has not come to fruition despite calls for the past 15 years, and the much awaited Parliamentary Services Act, are other laws that must be part of the roadmap. The Public Procurement Act which was promised in 2018 to strengthen governance in public procurement is another law that must be realised.

“Having this in the NACS will be crucial to show the government is serious about institutional reforms. Amendments to the MACC Act to strengthen and have greater transparency on the appointment of the chief commissioner of the MACC and at the same time to ensure the tenure of office for the chief commissioner is fixed so that the executive cannot remove him or her as he wishes,” he said.

He said the “Misconduct in Public Office” provision should also be included in the MACC Act.

“This provision will criminalise and impose punitive actions against public officials who deliberately cause leakages or wastage of public funds,” he said.

“This Act is important to strengthen governance in public procurement. The government should introduce independent oversight in the ‘Integrity Pact’ for mega projects above US$1bil. Such mega projects should go through Parliament for approval with proper justification and cost-benefit analysis.

“If the government had introduced this in the past, the LCS scandal would not have happened. We hope to see these key reforms in the NACS,” he said.

Malaysia Corruption Watch president Jais Abdul Karim said the roadmap should include education and awareness on anti-corruption, increasing public accountability, stepping up enforcement and the active participation of civilians and civil society groups in anti-corruption efforts.

“To continue surveillance and evaluation, the government should set up a special body to monitor the implementation of the NACS, provide periodic reports to the Cabinet and Parliament as well as gathering feedback and spur the active participation of civil society groups,” he said.

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corruption , NACS , MACC , anti-graft


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