Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) calls on the Malaysian Government to stop the devastating impact of grand corruption by implementing all measures proposed in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).
The UNCAC came into force on 14 December, 2005 and Malaysia ratified the Convention in 2008.
It is disappointing that the Government has shown little political will in implementing the range of initiatives and measures proposed in the UNCAC. Asset recovery is a fundamental principle of the UNCAC. The government needs to put in place comprehensive legislation and procedures for both conviction and non-conviction based confiscation.
As cited by numerous reports, corrupt money transferred out of developing countries is estimated at between US $20 billion to US $40 billion annually, money that is much needed for development.
To implement the UNCAC effectively, the anti-corruption strategy must be transparent and agencies such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) involved in combating corruption must have legal and political independence.
Malaysia needs to respond quicker to reform and implement legislation that will include the provisions of the UNCAC.
Asset recovery processes are complex requiring a great deal of expertise. Malaysia needs a cadre of specialist investigators and prosecutors to address grand corruption cases. Adequate resources should be provided for training, monitoring and evaluating under the UNCAC.
In cases of grand corruption, judicial cooperation is necessary for example to allow for temporary freezing or seizing of assets. Capacity building efforts are needed to put in place comprehensive legislation and procedures for both conviction and non-conviction based confiscation in relation to stolen assets.
The UNCAC Article 9 urges governments to take appropriate measures to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, including timely reporting of revenue and expenditure; and calls on governments to also ensure such transparency and accountability with respect to returned assets.
Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, special consideration should be given to anti-money laundering regulations in the fight against grand corruption.