PETALING JAYA: A government backbencher has hit out at opposition leader Hamzah Zainudin for accusing Putrajaya of using the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as a political tool.
Ipoh Barat MP M Kula Segaran said Hamzah seemed to have “conveniently overlooked” the issue of alleged executive interference in enforcement agencies when he was home minister.
He said if Hamzah felt MACC and other agencies were vulnerable to interference, then he should have pushed the previous governments to reform the bodies to ensure their independence.
“The failure of previous governments (in reforming agencies) needs to be explained (by opposition leaders),” he told FMT.
On Wednesday, the Bersatu secretary-general claimed the government was using MACC as a political tool after it froze the party’s accounts under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (Amla).
The action is understood to have been taken in connection with an investigation into the alleged misappropriation of billions of ringgit meant for Covid-19 stimulus packages.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has denied claims that he ordered MACC to freeze Bersatu’s accounts, saying the agency acted independently.
Kula said Hamzah can file a motion to debate the independence of the MACC in Parliament when it reconvenes on Feb 13.
In any case, Kula said it was high time for MACC to be placed under parliament to ensure its independence.
Meanwhile, Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim also called for parliamentary oversight of MACC.
However, he said, it would be necessary to first free Parliament from the grip of the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD).
Currently, the management of Parliamentary matters comes under the purview of the PMD.
“Parliament must not exist as some sort of a government agency under the PMD,” Hassan told FMT.
He urged the government to reintroduce the Parliamentary Services Act so that the reforms for the institution can be expedited.
The Act, which was first enacted in 1963, allowed Parliament to act as a truly independent body, running its own affairs, selecting its staff, and controlling its expenditure. However, it was repealed in 1992, under the first administration of Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Last year, MACC chief Azam Baki opposed placing the agency under parliamentary oversight, claiming that it may lose its independence in carrying out its duties as it would have to follow politicians’ orders.