MACC ops rooms are what M'sia deserves, civil society engagement is what it needs

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PETALING JAYA (Thursday): MACC’s plans for the next elections are what Malaysia sorely deserves, but steps need to taken to ensure that civil society can fully utilise the planned 24-hour operation centers for the next General Elections.

“The operation rooms are extremely welcome move by the MACC towards building institutions that prevent electoral malpractice. However, we are concerned that if the centres are poorly publicized and underutilized by the public, the efforts may be in danger of turning into a mere publicity stunt.”
Cynthia Gabriel, C4 Center

On Tuesday, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad revealed plans to establish round-the-clock operation rooms in each state to monitor corruption and abuse of power for the 14th General Elections, and will be ready to take in reports of violations of the Elections Act and the MACC Act. Such centers catering towards electoral malpractice will be useful to groups like PEMANTAU, who were themselves formed because of the lack of institutional support for monitoring corrupt practices during elections.

C4 Center firmly adds that for MACC’s efforts to be utilized to its full potential, civil society groups and the public at large must be engaged in a meaningful way to act as their eyes and ears. This includes coming up with a list of what constitute as malpractice for the public to easily identify violations, and for MACC proactively investigating digitally published videos of corruption—rather than just waiting for formal reports. If MACC acts proactively, corrupt electoral can be seriously deterred.

MACC stands to gain further confidence with the public and demonstrate its genuine motivations to rid Malaysia of corruption, whether during elections or otherwise.

"Before this, no government agency has ever directly cooperated with existing good governance civil society groups to programmatically observe, document or report abuse of power during elections. We see this as a key opportunity to engage as a whole-of-systems approach in the fight against corruption.” – Cynthia Gabriel, C4 Center

Part of the reason why C4 Center had published its report, ‘The Roles and Functions of the EC and MACC in Addressing Corrupt Practices at Elections” in November 2017 was because civil society groups were having difficulty finding the correct agency to report electoral malpractice.

It is imperative that corrupt practices during elections cannot be allowed to repeat—and many were observed in the previous 13th General Elections. In the same C4 Center report, we highlighted that there were clearly documented cases of money politics being used to win votes. These are considered bribery and treating, which are in violation of the Election Offences Act 1954. Such corrupt practices are likely to be rife in the crucial 14th General Election, and as much as possible needs to be done to prevent it.

Civil society and the wider public should also prepare themselves with an action plan to engage MACC as much as possible by reporting corrupt practices to such operational rooms in the soon approaching 14th General Elections. C4 Center reminds the public that they can take advantage of widely available technology in mobile phones to snap photos and take videos of suspected violations which will be useful as evidence to ensure that violations can successfully be prosecuted.

In the meanwhile, C4 Center has reached out to several state MACC offices, and hope to receive a positive reply soon on further cooperation. C4 Center calls on the MACC to reach out and cooperate with good governance groups such as ourselves to ensure that abuse of power and money politics are stopped in its tracks. We hope to see that such efforts to increase the operational capacity will have extremely real and lasting effects in Malaysian public life.

Released by:
Cynthia Gabriel (Ms.)
Executive Director, C4 Center
04 Jan 2018

In The News

Malaysiakini, "MACC ops rooms are what GE14 deserve": https://www.malaysiakini.com/letters/407496
The Malaysian Insight, "MACC’s plan to monitor polls graft should not be publicity stunt, says watchdog": https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/30783/
Free Malaysia Today, "MACC’s GE14 operation rooms a timely move": http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/01/04/maccs-ge14-operation-rooms-a-timely-move-says-c4/ 

Read the Report

Download and Read the C4 Report on “The Roles and Functions of the EC and MACC in Addressing Corrupt Practices at Elections” Published November 2017 https://c4center.org/report-roles-and-functions-ec-and-macc-addressing-c...