Amend MACC Act to give investigators more bite, says MP

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PETALING JAYA: DAP lawmaker Teo Nie Ching says it’s time for the government to amend the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act to give greater investigative powers to the commission.

Teo’s call follows news yesterday that over half of government officers found guilty of graft were under the age of 40.

MACC statistics show that between 2014 and 2016, a total of 2,329 arrests were made for graft and that 54% of them were individuals aged 40 and below. Of that number, 50% comprised civil servants.

“We have cases where junior government officers and clerks can afford to buy the latest iPhone models and drive expensive cars.

“Their flashy lifestyle does not match their measly pay as young officers and administrative assistants under the government pay scale,” MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil was quoted as saying by The Sun Daily.

In a statement today, Teo, who is DAP assistant national publicity secretary, said under the current MACC Act, possessing luxury items was not an offence unless the items were obtained through corrupt means.

The Kulai MP referred to Section 36(3), read together with Section 36(1) of the Act which stipulates that an investigation must be predicated on the suspicion of an offence having being committed.

She said this was unlike provisions in Section 10 of the Prevention of Bribery Ordinance of Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong law states that any person holding the position of chief executive or a prescribed officer who maintains a standard of living “above that which is commensurate with his present or past official emoluments”, or who “is in control of pecuniary resources or property disproportionate to his present or past official emoluments”, will be guilty of an offence unless he gives a satisfactory explanation to the court.

Teo also cited Section 12 of the Independent Commission Against Corruption Ordinance, which states the commissioner’s duty to investigate “pursuable allegations” under the Prevention Of Bribery Ordinance.

“Being rich is of course not a sin,” she said.

“However, as an office bearer in government, it is important to be transparent as to the source of the fortune so that people are assured that the politician does not abuse the power and position to accumulate and build wealth.”