Kuala Lumpur, 24th August, 2015 – Transparency International – Malaysia (TI-M) notes with great disappointment the intentional absence of the MACC from the new task force, National Revenue Recovery Enforcement Team (NRRET) supposedly formed to probe the goings-on of 1MDB and the issue of the yet not fully explained monies in the PM’s personal accounts. TI-M has in its earlier press statements already commented on the covert and overt dismantling of the earlier task force including the unjustified removal of the previous AG and the harassment of the MACC. It is indeed shocking to now be told that this new Team (no longer a task force?) is to be headed by the new A-G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali with representatives from Bank Negara and the police, but minus the MACC!
Whatever be said of the effectiveness of the earlier now defunct task force, the public and TI-M saw some semblance of hope in that task force based on the purpose and respective roles and constitution of the members of that task force – made up of all relevant enforcement agencies. There was (and is) every reason to include the MACC in the task force as the allegations and questions surrounding the 1MDB fiasco certainly involve offences of corruption and abuse of power. Is the exclusion of the MACC indicative of new terms of reference of this NRRET which excludes such matters being investigated? How can this be? How more blatant can one get in manipulating how proper probes and investigations should be done to one’s own benefit and preference? It is plain to all that without the MACC this so-called probe Team lacks bite (and maybe even relevance) to resolve the 1MDB issue and the PM’s “personal accounts” issue.
The role of the AG in the earlier task force was also known to be that of giving legal input and advice on the applicable laws surrounding the probe but not to control the investigations of the other enforcement agencies who had the proper expertise and competence under their respective legislation. So one also now begins to question why the new AG is taking a leadership role in the Team. Does he determine what should be investigated and what should not and how the investigation is to done?
TI-M feels that for this new task force to have any credibility, the task force should be properly constituted with the right enforcement agencies and led by someone with no political affiliation, no nonsense and has an outstanding record for good governance. Without these key ingredients, when will the said burning issues of the nation ever be resolved based on a credible finding?
TI-M notes with approval recent MACC statements as reported in the media that the current probes by MACC have not yet been completed and are still on-going. TI-M strongly supports MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Shukri Abdul’s statement as quoted in The Sun, “We are an independent agency and we will carry out or duties as usual within the law and authority the commission is empowered with”. The MACC must be allowed to carry out investigation without interference from any party least of all the parties being probed.
TI-M urges the government to refrain from interfering in MACC’s investigation work and allow its officers to carry out their jobs professionally and independently in line with the United Nation Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) Article 16(2) which calls on States Parties (including Malaysia) to recognize and take effective action against the serious crime of grand corruption and to encourage the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction for the prosecution of the same.
As for the public they will always be indebted to MACC, when they investigate and do things right and do right things for the sake of all Malaysians. This time MACC have the public’s backing and support to act without fear or favour. Prior to this, many do not always support or agree with MACC, but they have a tough battle at hand and if they have the courage to stand on their ground and continue their great work, they will no doubt be held in high regard by the general public. MACC will regain the trust that they seem to have lost. Investigate corruption cases in this country without fear and favour. That’s the spirit MACC which should be maintained and entrusted. Time, will be their judge.
TI-M strongly reminds our Government of her commitments under the UNCAC to promote and strengthen measures to prevent and combat corruption more efficiently and effectively; not forgetting UNCAC Article 3 which also call on States Parties to enact and implement comprehensive laws providing for the confiscation of any asset obtained through or derived from the commission of an offence established by the convention – including the proceeds of active bribery and Article 53 and 56 which call for States Parties to enhance the direct recovery of property through proactive and timely information sharing and adequate laws on standing.
We have indeed suffered great setbacks in our battle against corruption; our institutions have been compromised – political will is lacking in the powers that be due to self-interest; self-survival or whatever reason. The people must take a stand now or the legacy we leave to our next generations will be that of a nation wrecked by the evil of grand corruption.
Dato’ Akhbar Satar
Transparency International Malaysia
Transparency International-Malaysia is an independent, non-governmental and non-partisan organisation committed to the fight against corruption.