AT A recent function at Intan, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad touched on the issue of corruption.
While Malaysia is much better off than many other nations in addressing this menace, it cannot be denied that the scourge continues to exist.
Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that legislation to tackle corruption is insufficient insofar as it is a Government body that handles it.
Its methods may be effective in identifying incidents of graft, but its hand sometimes becomes restricted at the time of Implementation, particularly in the so-called “high-profile” cases.
The Government should consider elevating the current Anti-Corruption Agency to the status of an independent commission.
One region where this has been especially effective is Hong Kong, where the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has revolutionised a previously almost futile battle against bribery in every sector.
In Malaysia, something along the lines of the Human Rights Commission could be set up. But it has to go a step further in the sense that it has to have the power of prosecution as well.
Members of such an Anti-Corruption Commission may be appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister. They should be upright and distinguished citizens, preferably with a legal background.
In a nation that is well on its way to fully developed status, the persistence of corruption to whatever degree is a serious matter, and requires serious measures to curb it.
DATUK DR S. VIJAYARATNAM,
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