Monday, 28 January 2013

MACC must have more bite

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has been praised for the progress made in strengthening its position as the nation’s graft buster.

However, members of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Corruption have proposed more sweeping changes to the law to allow the MACC more bite and independence.

Committee member DAP vice-chairman Dr Tan Seng Giaw said the recommendations were the result of extensive meetings with MACC officers and feedback from several quarters.

“Though the committee felt there has been progress in the MACC, it wants more to be done to strengthen the commission’s integrity while giving it greater independence,” he said.

Barisal Nasional’s Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who sits on the MACC panel, expressed support for efforts to further transform the commission.

“In principle, I agree with the suggested changes although there are several issues that need to be carefully looked at to ensure the proposed new laws are fair and impartial to all parties,” he said.

He noted that recent efforts to enhance MACC under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s political transformation programme had shown positive results.

Another committee member, Kubang Kerian MP Salahuddin Ayub, said “the ball is now in the Government’s court” to see that the proposed amendments would be carried out.

Salahuddin, who is also PAS vice-president, said Najib should continue making changes to the MACC as well as remain committed to the changes he had initially made.

Prior to this, the Government had adopted two of the recommendations ­­­— setting up of an MACC Service Commission so it can employ and manage its own personnel and upgrading the post of the MACC chief commissioner.

On Jan 16, committee chairman Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad announced the proposed changes, which included plugging loopholes in the MACC Act 2009.

Among the changes made were amendments to Section 23, making it an offence to use “an office or position for gratification” which could be circumvented under given conditions.

He had cited an example where a minister in charge of a project or tender would have to declare and remain neutral in the decision-making process on a bid by his or her next-of-kin.

Radzi also noted that the proposed changes would restrict family members of a particular individual from bidding for a project or tender if that person in question was connected to it.

The committee also recommended amendments to Section 36 of the Act to enable MACC to initiate investigations on public office holders who were seen to be living beyond their means.

Other changes include a “cooling-off period” for retiring government officers prior to them taking up new positions in the private sector.

There is also a proposal to introduce a corporate liability clause that would see companies being held accountable for employees involved in graft.
Source : TheStar


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