More bite in MACC’s graft fight

CORRUPTION can cripple our eco­nomy, which is why it is most welcome that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) deputy chief commissioner Datuk Azam Baki has announced a new focus on high-ranking civil servants and senior officials in sensitive areas of procurement and enforcement in government-linked companies and the banking sector as well.

But why does the MACC want to focus only on officials and leave out politicians from this new focus? Politicians across the board could be even more corrupt. After all, they have a shorter career path – one that could end at an election every five years – than career officials with a longer term of service.

Hence the public would rightly expect the MACC to also include politicians in its new focus on those who live beyond their means. Otherwise its credibility could suffer as senior public ser­vants and bankers might question the double standards in fighting corruption.

It is gratifying that Cuepacs (Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services) has lauded the MACC’s new strategy in its focused war against corruption. Cuepacs members are not generally connected to grand corruption, although some may be involved in minor corruption. But they all have a vital interest in combating corruption since their lower salaries can be raised, if the Government can save more and lose less revenue through leakages and corruption. However, Cuepacs members can play a vital role in helping the Government and MACC to reduce corruption by encouraging more civil servants to become whistle-blowers.

Civil servants who lead a lavish lifestyle can easily be identified and even monitored by their junior colleagues and faithfully reported to the MACC. For this “special service”, the whistle-blowers should be given more attractive rewards by the MACC. Some other sectors of government employ this reward system with great benefit, so the MACC can do likewise for better results.

The employment of more Intelligence-Based Investigation (IBI) is also most encouraging. The public will expect the MACC to catch many more “big fish” such as the Sabah Water Department and Youth and Sports Ministry officials. The huge sums of public funds that were allegedly misappropriated could well have been allocated to the poor and needy in our country.

In this digital economy, it is hoped that the Treasury will allocate more funds to the MACC to purchase more sophisticated digital equipment to monitor and prosecute the corrupt public and private sector officials and politicians, regardless of the current budgetary constraints.

The greater use of IBI will enable more successful prosecutions and the recovery of more corrupt funds. IBI could also save potential revenue that is lost every day due to corruption.

The new strategies of the MACC and the overwhelming support for them from the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, Cuepacs and major Chambers of Commerce augur well for the MACC’s new offensive against corruption this year.

We hope that with all these new MACC measures, the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index will show much better results this year.

Let’s resolve to work together to make Malaysia a better and more honest country.

Article published in The Star.

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