29th Aug’ 2017 – Transparency International Malaysia(TI-M) hails the call by MACC to amend Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009 to have greater clarity so that white collar crimes crimes can be better tackled especially in GLCs. Transparency International Malaysia was commenting on the statement by MACC Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Azam Baki that MACC needs more bite to act against corrupt public officials, including ministers and assemblymen and politicians.
TI-M also supports MACC on the recently reported proposed new law called the “Misconduct for Civil Service Act”, where civil servants who cause substantial financial losses to the government out of negligence, non-compliance with requirements or procedures will face criminal charges under this proposed new Act.
TI-Malaysia has been pushing and advocating on the amendments to the MACC Act for the past several years and hopes to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Section 23 prohibits “an officer of public body or public officials” from abusing their power for any gratification for themselves or for their relatives. TI-Malaysia shares the same opinion with Datuk Azam that many politicians are being appointed into government linked companies and public officials awarding contracts to family members and tender abuses in GLCs have become a serious problem.
Together with the above amendments TI-Malaysia is also looking forward to the addition of the corporate liability provision into the MACC Act 2009 so that companies can be held accountable for corruption cases involving their employees. Under the current law when an employee is caught for corruption or bribery, he or she will face the consequences and can be charged individually. However the company is not held liable for its employees’ acts, as in law the company not being a human person is not capable of having a criminal intent. When the corporate liability provision is added to the current act, companies will be held accountable for its employees’ involvement in corruption or bribery in the event where the company has not taken adequate steps to prevent corrupt acts by its employees. When this becomes a reality companies especially in the private sector will have no choice but to have anti -corruption programs in their organization as initiatives to mitigate and eventually eradicate corrupt practices in their organizations. TI-Malaysia has been encouraging companies in the private sector particularly since last year to adopt the Anti Bribery Management System–ISO 37001 as an initiative to put in controls and systems and get top management commitment to eliminate any form of bribery in their organizations.
Regarding the proposed Misconduct for Civil Service Act, any effort or laws to address misconduct which results in financial losses of tax payers money should of course be lauded but TI-M would like to raise the issue of whether the law should only apply to civil servants. What about instances where orders or instructions come from politicians or persons in elected positions? Should they not also be held liable if proven to be involved? Any proposed law should apply fairly apply to everyone involved in the decision making process and that includes politicians.
Datuk Azam has been reported to say that each year, the Auditor-General’s Report revealed a litany of malpractices among government departments and agencies, some of which were outrageous, for which civil servants responsible should be charged with criminal offences instead of facing mere disciplinary action under the domestic rules applicable to civil servants.
TI-M supports these new measures proposed by MACC and hopes that the Government will also fully support the same by effecting the necessary changes in the law. There is no good reason why this should not be done and there has been too little efforts to plug these important loopholes in our anti-corruption laws.
Dato’ Akhbar Satar
Transparency International-Malaysia is an independent, non-governmental and non-partisan organisation committed to the fight against corruption.