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Autonomous MACC is needed

almost 2 years ago William90

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KUCHING: The Special Committee on Corruption has expressed its disappointment that the recommendations it submitted to the Government three years ago — especially with regard to amendments to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (“MACC Act”) — have yet to be tabled in Parliament.

The 2014 Report also proposed the formation of an independent panel to study investigation papers involving high-profile cases before they are submitted to the attorney-general for consideration for prosecution.

The recommendations included proposals to amend provisions of the MACC Act, such as Section 23 which provides that it is an offence for any officer of a public body to use his office or position for any “gratification” and Section 36 which deals with the MACC’s power to obtain information as well as proposals for the establishment of a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Service Commission as a constitutional commission, and the appointment of the Chief Commissioner of the MACC to be under the Federal Constitution.

According to Tricia Yeoh, Chief Executive of IDEAS said that: "Since mid-2014 the Malaysian Bar has been working in collaboration with the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4), Citizens’ Network for a Better Malaysia (CNBM), and Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M), on proposals to reform the MACC to become an independent anti-corruption agency."

The reform proposals include:

(1) the creation of a constitutionally mandated Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) that would be placed beyond the scope, control and influence of the executive government. The MACC is at the moment under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Department;

(2) provisions for a Chief Commissioner and members of the IACC, who would enjoy security of tenure. Members of the commission would include civil society representatives;

(3) amendments to the MACC Act, including amendments to Section 23 and Section 36;

(4) amendments to related legislation such as the Official Secrets Act 1972, Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, and Witness Protection Act 2009; and

(5) a proposal to separate the office of the Attorney General from the office of the Public Prosecutor, with the former to be solely the legal advisor to the government, and the latter to focus on prosecution of criminal matters and to be therefore accountable and answerable for the public interest in all prosecutions.

Meanwhile, Steven Thiru, the president of the Malaysian Bar admitted that they will may not get all the proposals that they ask for.

Steven was answering a question raised by a participant in the seminar on reforming the anti-graft watchdog in Kuching, Sarawak yesterday.

He also add that a joint memorandum was submitted to the MACC on July 28, and to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Governance and Integrity, Senator Paul Low Seng Kuan, on Nov 11.

Photo Credit: MACC

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