Please choose well the new MACC chief – or we go down the well

The appointment of the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner will be made on Aug 1. This important appointment can have a very strong impact on the country’s future in all fields – political, social and economic.

Corruption is the cause of many of our social, economic and even political ills. Social cohesion and national unity, economic growth and inflation and political stability and money politics are serious weaknesses that are already severely eroding our national progress, well-being and future.

It is therefore of vital Importance that the government makes the choice well, or we will go down the well.

Ideally the public should be consulted over this choice of the new chief commissioner, to be fair to us all, and to ensure the new MACC chief has wide national support for his/her appointment and the great tasks and challenges the new chief will face in combating corruption more effectively in Malaysia.

With a ranking of 54 out of 157 countries in the Corruption Perception Index, our performance is still dismal and discouraging! Hence we need a new thrust to fight corruption and a new process for selecting the new MACC chief commissioner.

At least the Special Committee on Anti-Corruption in Parliament should be consulted and its approval obtained for the new MACC chief, if broader public consultation and consideration cannot be undertaken at this time.

The special committee has three government Members of Parliament, another three opposition MPs and it is chaired by the distinguished president of the senate.

Thus its credentials are first-rate and it should be fully consulted and should give its views publicly on the choice, so that the rakyat will be have more confidence in the choice of the new chief commissioner.

What are some of the criteria that government could use for making the right choice of the new MACC chief commissioner?

Firstly, the person should be appointed from within the MACC staff and no outsider should be entertained. An insider will have the vast experience, the competence, the operational know how at the ground and the dedication that has been built over the many years in combatting the scourge of corruption.

Secondly, the new chief commissioner should be someone of impeccable honesty and integrity. There is no sense in having a chief who has had a chequred and sleazy record or who is even of doubtful integrity in the past.

Thirdly, the new MACC chief must be strong in personality, character and commitment to the great cause of going all out against corruption, before it spreads further in our system like cancer.

He/she has to be able to stand up firmly and steadfastly against any political and commercial interference from any quarter, high or low.

Fourthly, the new chief has to be an inspirational leader, in order to rally the MACC staff to a new stage in the war against corruption. He or she has to treat it as a jihad/struggle against corruption that otherwise will continue to undermine our national morality, productivity and progress.

Fifthly, the chief commissioner must be someone who the general public respects for professionalism and fairness and impartiality at all times.

The person cannot be even suspected of political, social, commercial and other preferences.

Finally, the above criteria for the choice of the new MACC chief can be supplemented. But what is paramount is that the choice of the new chief should be transparent, done in consultation and be seen to be fair to the public, based on all the above criteria and more.

Only then will there be greater public confidence in the MACC and stronger support for its noble efforts to reduce, if not stamp out, the curse of corruption from our beloved country.

All Malaysians now wait with bated breath for the appointment of the new MACC chief commissioner, as it will show the extent of our government`s sincerity and political will to prevent us falling deeper into the well of corruption!

Article published in Malaysiakini, The Sun, and The Star.

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