Beef up manpower of MACC, govt urged
I refer to the call by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad to provide more staff to fight corruption in our country.
He said that the Government had promised in 2008 to increase the MACC staff to 5,000 personnel, but the MACC has still only 2,100 staff members.
I wonder how the MACC has been able to step up its operations considerably recently. It must have been at great strain and sacrifice made by the MACC staff, to whom I say: Bravo and tahniah!
But I also believe that the MACC staff are now overstretched and somewhat tired. It is possible that the present pace of aggressiveness and enthusiasm could also get weaker and even fade out.
More importantly, this unfulfilled promise by the Government to provide more staff could give the impression to the public that the Government cannot keep its promise and worse still that the Government does not give strong priority to the MACC to fight corruption effectively .
We all know that corruption is eroding the proper implementation of government policies. All our affirmative action policies and plans can be undermined by corruption. Poverty and poor income distribution, and the cost of living can inter alia be aggravated further by corruption.
The Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) has been worsening.
According to Dzulkifli, the staff are inadequate to monitor and take action against the corruption amongst about 1.6 million civil servants. Furthermore, on his own admission, he says “we are not even talking about government-linked companies (GLCs), statutory bodies and the private sector”.
This revelation by the MACC chief is really startling to me as a former chairman of Transparency Malaysia and even as former chairman of the MACC Prevention of Corruption Panel. No wonder the Transparency International CPI for Malaysia has been falling.
Sadly, it can decline further and more damage can be made to our foreign investment inflows and even our confidence to invest domestically.
In concluding, the following proposals are made for consideration:
1. I would appeal to the Government to give a major boost in staff strength to the MACC, even if the financial constraints cannot allow an increase to 5,000 staff members.
2. The MACC, on its part, will have to redraw its priorities. Go for more big fish and use the savings from catching small fish to fish in the deep seas of the GLCs, the statutory bodies and the private sector.
3. The MACC’s limited resources should be used more sparingly on solid corruption cases. The priority should be to fight grand corruption. Then public confidence will rise and the Transparency International Corruption Index will fall dramatically.
4. On the coming 50th anniversary of the MACC, I would hope that Budget 2018 would be more understanding and generous in providing many more posts to the MACC, to honour its hard and dedicated work.
Article published in The Star.