Anti-graft body: Charge political masters too, not just civil servants

Transparency International Malaysia says civil servants are often ‘pawns in a game played by the bigger fish’. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) today backed the proposal for a new law enabling the authorities to impose criminal charges against civil servants who cause substantial financial losses to the government.

However, it said the law should be extended to cover politicians who make decisions that result in losses as well.

“Any proposed law should apply fairly to everyone involved in the decision-making process, and that includes politicians,” its president Akhbar Satar said today.

In a statement, Akhbar said TI-M was pleased with the proposal by the Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption Centre (GIACC) to have such a law to check cases where the government incurred losses due to negligence and non-compliance with requirements or procedures in government departments and agencies.

“The act will also be an alternative to the other existing laws to prosecute civil servants for misconduct and hold them responsible for the losses to public coffers they might have caused.

“However, TI-M feels any effort or laws to address misconduct which results in financial losses of taxpayers’ money should not only apply to civil servants, but needs to include politicians or persons in elected positions in cases where orders or instructions comes (from them).”

Very often, Akhbar said, civil servants were “pawns in a game played by the bigger fish”.

“In those cases, such persons should also be brought to book, especially if they are the mastermind in the whole corrupt transaction.”

The GIACC, set up on June 1, is responsible for planning, formulating strategies and evaluating policies to ensure all government affairs are conducted based on good governance, integrity and zero tolerance for corrupt practices.