PETALING JAYA: The Bersih electoral reform group says remarks by the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission indicate that MACC had been used as a political weapon.
Bersih chairman Thomas Fann said that Azam Baki’s remarks had affirmed the group’s suspicions that the MACC had been hindered in its investigations.
“And it is very likely MACC was weaponised against political opponents of the governments at the time,” Fann told FMT.
Last week, Azam said his job was made easier when there was political will from the top, especially from the prime minister. He said the agency faced no roadblocks when choosing to pursue cases.
“I don’t have a headache. I can sleep at night. I can’t sleep when people start interfering with my job and ask me why am I investigating this or that,” he was quoted as saying.
Fann said that MACC’s independence should be coded in law, and not have to rely on the goodwill and backing of the prime minister.
“Legal amendments are also needed to make the appointment and removal of MACC chiefs transparent through a parliamentary committee.”
He said the prime minister, Anwar Ibrahim, could grant the parliamentary committee the freedom to vet and shortlist potential candidates, he said.
Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) CEO Pushpan Murugiah said MACC should carry out its duties without fear or favour, regardless of the gravity of the cases they were investigating.
“There should not even be an announcement that MACC is going after high-profile cases. If there is sufficient evidence of corruption, it’s their duty to ensure they do their jobs.”
Pushpan said at present, there was a trust deficit among the public as there had been allegations of political interference.
He said such accusations showed the need for MACC to be placed under parliamentary oversight without further delay.
“Only through proper reforms can its image improve.”