Think-tank wants Mustafar Ali as new MACC chief

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PETALING JAYA: A think tank has proposed that Mustafar Ali, a deputy commissioner of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission be appointed the new head of the agency to succeed Abu Kassim Mohamed at the end of the month.

The idea was proposed today by Wan Saiful Wan Jan, chief executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, who said that the new MACC head should come from within the commission.

Wan Saiful noted that the MACC had undergone a “noticeable transformation” under Abu Kassim, with more high-profile cases being brought to court, and had developed good relations with civil society, aside from being seen as people friendly.

“This agenda must be continued and the best way to ensure this is to appoint an individual from within as the new MACC commissioner” as an outsider might stifle the transformation process.

Abu Kassim has announced he was stepping down as MACC chief “of his own volition” on August 1, and that his deputy, Mohd Shukri Abdull, would step down on Oct 3 on reaching the mandatory retirement age.

Wan Saiful said there were rumours that the new commissioner may be Dzulkifli Ahmad of the Attorney-General’s Chambers, or Deputy Inspector General of Police Noor Rashid Ibrahim.

He said that while both men were experienced officers, the appointment of either might affect MACC’s reputation in the current political situation.

Wan Saiful felt that the ideal choice would be Mustafar, who is deputy chief commissioner (prevention), but any top MACC officer would ensure better continuity as head of MACC, compared to bringing in an outsider.

“The main challenge that the new commissioner will face is ensuring the MACC continues to have the trust of the people,” he said, adding the MACC now would investigate all cases without fear or favour, from investigating the Prime Minister to a Chief Minister.

A cabinet minister, Paul Low of the Prime Minister’s Department, has also called for a new chief commissioner from within. Low, who is in charge of the integrity portfolio, said Abu Kassim’s replacement should be someone experienced in fighting corruption and ideally, someone who had worked alongside Abu Kassim.