July 13, 2021 (PN)
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has recommended that Parliament passes an act that makes it compulsory for members of the government administration, Parliament and the Senate to declare their assets.
In 2019, the Dewan Rakyat unanimously approved a motion for all MPs to declare their assets to the Speaker and for a copy to be given to MACC. However, without legislative provisions, the motion only serves as political pressure, which only relies on the good faith of MPs for compliance. Therefore, enacting the aforementioned Act would enable the MACC to take action against those who do not declare their assets as well as verify the declaration documents received and act as fertile grounds for the detection of corruption.
Currently, under Section 36 (S36) of the MACC Act 2009, the Commission is only authorised to request for further information (in writing) from ‘any persons’ believed to be living beyond their means ‘as a result of, or, in connection with an offence under this Act’. Nonetheless, the Commission is restricted from probing these individuals or conducting substantive investigations.
C4 Center thus proposes that S36 of the Act be amended such that it enables MACC to deal with those living an extravagant lifestyle beyond one’s own to be deemed an ‘offence’ thus potentially extending the function of S36 to trigger immediate investigation by the anti-graft body.
A significant law making asset declaration compulsory would work hand in hand with an amended S36 so that investigations can be undertaken against those suspected to be abusing their positions of power for corrupt purposes and monetary gain, thus increasing the efficacy of Malaysia’s anti-corruption laws and regulations and paving the way for targeted enforcement to be carried out to eventually bear the desired results (prosecution of the guilty).