Coverage By: Free Malaysia Today
Related News: https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2022/09/30/a-bipartisan-parliament-prevents-political-meddling-macc-told/
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been urged to agree to a proposal for it to be placed under Parliament, with an anti-graft activist saying the legislature’s bipartisan nature would prevent any political interference.
Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel said making the MACC report to Parliament would also help restore public confidence in the agency, especially after chief commissioner Azam Baki’s share ownership scandal.
“It would keep the agency from being dictated by political preferences, where they might be forced to ‘go after’ people who aren’t with the government,” she told FMT on the sidelines of a C4 event here.
Yesterday, Azam said the agency was already an independent institution and did not need to be placed under Parliament.
He said doing so would likely see the MACC having to follow policies set by politicians at a time when people were calling for the agency to be free from political pressure.
Cynthia said she was “surprised” by Azam’s statement because former MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed had asked the Bar Council for recommendations in 2015 to make the agency more independent.
“Among the reforms was to remove the MACC from the Prime Minister’s Department at that time because of the risk of direct executive interference.”
Meanwhile, C4 programme coordinator K Stanley Sudhagaran claimed that Azam’s statement showed the MACC was not ready to be accountable to Parliament.
“It is just sad that the agency doesn’t want to be independent, seeing how they have been misused by the government time after time,” he said.
Yesterday, Azam had contended that the MACC was “very transparent” and had six independent bodies monitoring it, including a parliamentary select committee (PSC), for check and balance.
However, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong hit out at Azam for these remarks, pointing out that the MACC chief had failed to show up when summoned by the PSC on agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department.
“What kind of monitoring does Azam mean?” said Khoo, a member of the PSC, in a Facebook post.