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Coverage by: MalaysiaKini
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim should immediately put the current MACC chief commissioner on leave and conduct an in-depth investigation into its controversies to restore the public’s confidence in the commission, said the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center).
Its deputy chief executive officer K Sudhagaran Stanley argued that the public deserves to know what was really going on within the anti-graft agency, especially during the time when MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki was embroiled in controversy last year.
“MACC is suffering a severe trust deficit now. We need to build back this trust.
“Working on reforming this commission is of utmost importance if we want to accelerate the fight against corruption in this country.
“Only by doing this can the public start to trust the MACC again,” Sudhagaran told Malaysiakini.
He noted that when Pakatan Harapan was in opposition during the previous government, they accused MACC of being used as a political tool to go after them.
Similarly, former prime minister Muhyiddin had also been accused of distributing cabinet and GLC positions to politicians in return for their support.
“Harapan leaders at that time were crying political persecution
“So, how can the PM now say that MACC is an independent body when it was his comrades in the past who had accused the commission of being used as a political tool?
“It is the same commissioner leading MACC now (yet) no reforms have been made to the commission?” Sudhagaran asked.
Sudhagaran then suggested that after investigating the controversies, a new commissioner should be appointed via a parliamentary process.
He added that long-term reforms should be considered, such as placing the MACC under Parliament and ensuring the security of tenure for the chief commissioner.
PM’s willingness to reform MACC
Meanwhile, Bersih has commended Anwar for his receptiveness towards placing the MACC under Parliament and having the appointment process of its chief vetted by a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC).
The prime minister stated that he had “no objections” to reforming the appointment process.
“The mechanism has been suggested in detail by various bodies including Bersih, Ideas, and Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M).
“We understand that any reform mechanism will go through the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) and be deliberated by the select committee, and hope that it will be done in a transparent manner inclusive of participation by civil society,” the group said in a statement today.
Further, Bersih also lauded the prime minister for stating that he “agrees” that the attorney-general should be separated from the public prosecutor.
“This separation, as well as the reforms to the MACC chief appointment process, must be expedited to strengthen institutional autonomy and dispel perceptions of ‘politically-motivated charges’ brought against former prime ministers and opposition MPs,” it added.
Lastly, Bersih also commended Dewan Rakyat speaker Johari Abdul’s initiatives to empower Parliament, particularly on suggesting special select committees on the appointments of key positions in government agencies such as MACC and the Election Commission (EC).
However, Anwar told the Dewan Rakyat today that this had to be reviewed by government agencies first.
He added that the method for the new appointment or extension of the current MACC chief’s contract would depend on progress in Parliament, including if the process mechanism is studied by the Attorney-General’s Chambers and government agencies and then passed to the select committee.