Ex-adviser rues absence of Sabahan in new MACC board

KOTA KINABALU: A former adviser to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has voiced disappointment over the absence of a Sabahan in the new line-up of the agency’s advisory board.

Simon Sipaun, who was on the board from 2009 to 2015, told FMT he feared the interests of the state might not be adequately represented.

Sipaun, a former Sabah state secretary, said he used to raise issues pertaining to his state during the board’s meetings and his counterpart from Sarawak, Hamid Bugo, did likewise.

Simon Sipaun

“We didn’t have a direct say in cases being probed as they are handled by trained investigators, but we could raise what was affecting Sabah or Sarawak,” he said.

“Whether the views are accepted or not is a separate issue, but it was a platform to articulate the interests of Sabah. If you’re not from the state, you might not be thinking of Sabah issues.”

Yesterday, MACC announced that seven people had been appointed to its advisory board. The appointments took effect on May 21 and will continue until May 20, 2023.

The board is now chaired by former Dewan Negara president Abu Zahar Ujang. The other members are former police chief Ismail Omar, Azman Ujang, Akhbar Satar, Hamzah Kassim, David Chua Kok Tee and Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

(From left) Abu Zahar Ujang, Ismail Omar, Azman Ujang, Akhbar Satar, Hamzah Kassim, David Chua Kok Tee and Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

The only East Malaysian representative on the board is Azman, who is from Sarawak.

Lawyer Roger Chin agreed with Sipaun, saying it would have been best to have at least one representative each for Sabah and Sarawak.

“Measures against corruption are a national goal,” he said. “There are peculiarities in how businesses are done in different places, hence representation from all areas can only strengthen the fight.”

Sipaun also said MACC should not have a civil servant as its chief commissioner to reflect the agency’s independence.

He said the previous appointment of human rights lawyer Latheefa Koya to the post was a good move.

He added that corruption cases should be handled by an independent prosecuting agency instead of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

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