Time for MACC to be independent, says Amanah leader

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PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission should be an independent entity solely responsible to parliament instead of the current practice of having to report to the Prime Minister’s Department, says Amanah strategy director Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Referring to the recent arrests of senior executives at the Sabah water department and the secretary-general of the rural and regional development ministry, Dzulkefly said such actions gave hope that the anti-graft agency was on a revival of sorts.

“The arrest in early October of senior officers from the Sabah water department over the alleged embezzling of over RM115 million and the arrest of the secretary-general of a federal ministry earlier this week for suspected graft worth millions, must be commended.

“However, the greater expectation for a full reform of the agency to nab bigger fish does not look like it will be fulfilled any time soon,” Dzulkefly said in a statement released yesterday.

He lamented that the MACC’s only obstacle to greater reform is that they are not independent.

Despite many calls for a reform of the MACC, which replaced the anti-corruption agency (ACA) in January 2009, Dzulkefly said such proposals have fallen on deaf ears.

“lt has been repeatedly proposed yet had always fallen on deaf ears in Putrajaya. The Aliran proposal, to cite but one example, is worthy of serious consideration.

“Section 14 of the MACC Act 2009 (Act 694) should be amended to reorganise the Special Committee on Corruption into a full-fledged Parliamentary Select Committee on Anti-Corruption under the aegis of the Yang DiPertuan Agung,” he said.

Dzulkefly added that the role of the select committee should also be widened from merely advising and examining, to scrutinising the management and operational activities of the commission.

“In other words, the select committee should act as a check and balance mechanism to ensure that the MACC adheres to the standard operating procedures agreed upon.”

Dzulkefly also called for the current advisory and review panels to be abolished, with such roles therein transferred to the select committee.

“Likewise, the Complaints Committee should be transformed into an independent complaints committee whose members should also be appointed by the Agong on the recommendation of the select committee.

“It should comprise members of the public who have distinguished credentials and widely acknowledged to have exceptionally served the nation,” he said.

Finally, the former Kuala Selangor MP said the MACC should be allowed to have its own service commission that is empowered to hire, fire, transfer, promote and reward personnel at its own discretion.