TI-M Responds to MACC’s Chief “Outclass Many of Our Peers” Statement;
Urges Najib to Meet the UNCAC Review
While the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) chief, Abu Kassim Mohammad, may gloat over having more bite than other anti-graft agencies in other nations which he said were set up as mere ‘window dressing to hide corrupt practices.’
Although Abu Kassim had pointed out that even the United Nations acknowledged the MACC structure, Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M) thinks otherwise. This is because after nearly ten years, Malaysia has yet to publish the full review report comply with the UN Convention on Corruption (UNCAC).
On 9th Dec 2003, Malaysia signed the UN Convention on Corruption (UNCAC) and subsequently issued the ratification on 24th Sept 2008. The convention entered into force on 4 Oct 2008.
The UNCAC is a legally binding international anti-corruption instrument, and touted to be the most promising initiative and the first global framework to harmonise anti-corruption efforts worldwide.
The UNCAC embodies a comprehensive global approach to corruption, recognising the importance of both preventive and punitive measures. It also addresses the cross-border nature of corruption, and includes provisions on the return of ill-gotten assets. This convention holds great promises for civil society because it provides a mandate for the participation of citizens and civil society organisations in the accountability processes.
Besides providing an international legal basis for cooperation, it is also a political tool for dialogue between countries and between governments and their citizens. It can help to foster international exchange of expertise, good practices and lessons learned, and instrumental in coordinating international assistance.
A total of 165 countries have ratified the Convention, since it was first adopted by the UN General Assembly in October 2003. However, five years down the road since 2008 , Malaysia has yet to meet the full requirements of UNCAC Review to assess what the administration under Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak has implemented in its fight against corruption. The first 5-year cycle review by two peer state parties covering UNCAC Chapter III (Criminalization and Law Enforcement) and IV (Interactional Cooperation). The summary review report was submitted to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) at the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 30 May 2013. The review of implementation would be resumed in the 4th Session in Panama City from 26 – 27 November 2013.
Transparency International (TI-M) therefore calls upon Najib’s administration and Pemandu’s NKRA against Corruption to kick start the review process and to engage the civil society organizations (CSOs) as they play an important critic of governments’ implementation of the UNCAC and of the transparency of the review process. The key transparency points include (a) publish the government focal point details; (b) consult with civil society throughout the review – particularly in preparing the self-assessment; (c) authorise a country visit and include CSOs in the visit; and (d) publish the self-assessment and full country report. Any further delay would not augur well on Najib’s administration in its role as efforts to fight corruption.
The convention had in fact entered into force since December 2005, and as of October 2012 there are 165 countries that are acknowledged as Parties to the convention. Twenty-three countries have authorised publication of their full review reports on the UNODC website. This is an opportunity for Malaysia to ratify its own laws in line with the UNCAC to publish the full country report at the 4th Session in Panama City in November 2013.
Dato’ Akhbar Satar,
Transparency International Malaysia