Exchange MACC for new anti-graft body with more bite, says civil society group

Source: The Malaysian Insider

Institute of Democracy and Economics Affairs (IDEAS) chief Wan Saiful Wan Jan says the proposed Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) will create more internal checks and balances. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, September 3, 2015.

Civil society groups and a think tank have proposed that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) be abolished and replaced with a new “constitutionally mandated” body which will have more bite.

This followed the statement made by Minister in Charge of Integrity and Governance Datuk Paul Low yesterday that plans are afoot to take the anti-graft body out of civil service and the Prime Minister’s Department and make it answerable to Parliament instead.

Institute of Democracy and Economics Affairs (IDEAS), together with the Malaysian Bar, the Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism, Citizens’ Network for a Better Malaysia, and Transparency International Malaysia said the new MACC, which should be renamed the Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC), should be elevated to a new constitutionally mandated commission similar to the Election Commission.

“The new IACC that we propose should have full autonomy and power over anti-corruption policies, practices and directives, recruitment and discipline of officers, as well as powers of oversight and supervision,” said IDEAS head Wan Saiful Wan Jan in a statement today.

Both MACC supporters and the commission had often reiterated the need for the body to be more independent and be given the power to hire and fire.

Wan Saiful said IACC should be headed by a constitutionally recognised and mandated chairman with security of tenure and security from dismissal, akin to a judge of the Federal court.

He said IACC should comprise independent commissioners to be voted in by Parliament, with at least 40% of them coming from civil society, all of whom should enjoy similar security of tenure.

This move, he added, would create more checks and balances internally.

“This proposal will require an amendment to our Federal Constitution. We have presented the full proposal to MACC at a meeting of their oversight committees chaired Tunku Abdul Aziz.

“Unfortunately while the meeting was taking place on the fateful July 28, we heard the news that Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail was sacked.

“This disrupted our meeting, and the quality of discussion in that meeting ended up being, to say the least, extremely poor and disappointing,” he said adding that nevertheless, he would be happy to visit MACC to brief its top commissioners of their proposal. – September 3, 2015.


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