G25: Time for full 1MDB disclosure and closure

G25-has-called-for-closure-to-the-1Malaysia-Development-Bhd-case-1KUALA LUMPUR: The G25 has called for closure to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd case.

The government, it said, should release a full and transparent report on the official status of 1MDB containing explanations from management towards meeting financial commitments and achieving corporate objectives.

“Where appropriate the report should be consistent with and reflect the findings and court documents already in the public domain in the US, Switzerland, Singapore, and other countries, as well as the actions taken by authorities in these countries impacting 1MDB.”

The government should ensure that current regulations are strengthened to prevent a recurrence of such an incident.

This is one of the many proposals, and observations, in the G25’s report entitled Invigorating Economic Confidence in Malaysia, which was released today.

The G25 report suggests that ministers and senior officials in the public sector be subject to a mandatory enhanced asset declaration system, prior to their appointment, to safeguard against conflicts of interest and illicit enrichment.

“Declarations must be done periodically on a regular basis with processes for verification of assets and secured exchange of information with tax authorities for cross reference purposes.”

It also proposes legislation, regulations and monitoring processes to address the financing of political parties.

“Equitable access to funding by all political parties should be championed together with standardised dissemination of information on expenditures.”

It suggests limits and disclosures on private funding from entities, individuals and foreign donors.
A proper entity, not the Registrar of Societies, should be established to register, monitor and report on political party elections and their functioning as part of the remit of the Election Commission, it says.

Among other observations and proposals in the report:

  • Ensure the election commission is fully independent and reports to parliament and not the prime minister;
  • Appoint EC commissioners through public hearings managed by a parliamentary select committee;
  • Introduce a Freedom of Information Act;
  • Amend Act 121 Clause (1) of the constitution and restore the original provision that vested the judicial power of the federation in the High Courts of Malaya and Borneo;
  • Ensure the prime minister plays no role at all in the appointment of judges;
  • Ensure the independence of the attorney-general and deputy public prosecutors by requiring that they should be appointed (with security of tenure) or terminated by the king on the advice of an independent commission through a transparent, accountable and merit-based process;
  • Improve efforts to ensure moderate Islam is practiced. Powers and practices by religious authorities should be reviewed to ensure such actions do not transgress the constitution;
  • Have open debates on policies, laws, regulations and rules on the practice of Islam to ensure inputs from all quarters, and undertake regulatory impact assessments of proposed laws and regulations;
  • Treat regulations and laws on Islamic matters in the same vein as processes on changes of other laws and regulations through a parliamentary committee on religious matters as such laws affect all Malaysians;
  • Establish an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) through a constitutional amendment, and make the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission the investigative arm of the IACC;
  • IACC commissioners should be selected or terminated by a parliamentary select committee on corruption and appointed by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
  • The Police Force Commission (PFC), which exercises disciplinary control, lacks independence as it is chaired by the home minister with the Inspector-General of Police as member together with up to six other members from the PSC. This compromises its impartiality. The result has been a lack of professionalism, veiled abuse of power and impunity on the part of the police force;
  • The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) has been ineffective from the lack of resources and with insufficient powers to compel enforcement agencies to take action;
  • Adopt a policy of decentralisation and separate police powers according to key areas of competencies for checks and balances and promote greater accountability;
  • Establish an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC). Place it beyond executive influence and let it report to parliament, with mandatory investigative powers on police misconduct and the authority to recommend disciplinary actions; and
  • Address the current situation of race discrimination in the civil service. Discrimination against non-Malays in the civil service reinforces discrimination of Malays in the private sector. The public sector should revert to employment of the best and brightest regardless of race. Many Malaysian institutions have a multicultural workforce and Malays have been able to compete very well in these multicultural settings.