MACC to weed out graft that lets vice dens operate in KL, says PM

KUALA LUMPUR: The nation's graft-buster will play a prominent role in efforts to rid the capital of prostitution and gambling dens, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Prime Minister said the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will keep tabs on local authorities here to weed out the corruption that allows such activities to go on.

"Dr Zaliha Mustafa (Minister in the Prime Minister's Department for Federal Territories) and the KL mayor (Datuk Seri Kamarulzaman Mat Salleh) have been tasked to address this," he told reporters after launching the Global Madani Forum 2024 themed "Catalysing the Next Civilisation Revival" here on Thursday (July 11).

He was asked about efforts to weed out vice in the city, like what Indonesian authorities did in 2014 in one of South-East Asia's biggest red-light areas, Surabaya's "Dolly" district on the island of Java.

Up to last month, Kuala Lumpur police arrested a total of 1,691 people in connection with prostitution activities.

The suspected prostitutes, mostly foreigners from Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and Uganda, were nabbed in 409 raids between January and June.

Anwar acknowledged that such vice activities existed thanks in part to bribery.

He said the problem was a long-standing one that also plagued previous administrations.

"What was discussed and the impression given previously differs from reality.

"As of last year, we began taking tough action.

"I believe that if there are vice dens, elements of bribery are involved," he said.

Asked if the MACC would scrutinise local authorities over the issue, Anwar said the graft-buster would be working towards this.

In addition to police operations, Immigration enforcement raids around the city also led to multiple arrests of foreigners suspected of involvement in vice.

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