‘PAC should probe why MACC only looking into UKSB ledger names now’

Related news: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/625537

Coverage by: MalaysiaKini

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) should probe into why the MACC did not investigate politicians named in the Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB) ledger earlier, said The Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism executive director Cynthia Gabriel.

The secret ledger of UKSB, which contained code names and details of alleged payments of kickbacks made by the company to several individuals between 2014 and 2018 was submitted by the MACC themselves as evidence in the graft trial of Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi recently.

“It’s quite bizarre that the MACC is only now opening an investigation into the named politicians that received huge ‘donations’ from UKSB.

“Was it not part of their evidence gathering that led to Zahid being charged for the foreign visa system (VLN) case.

“In addition, the MACC not investigating this matter earlier ought to come under the probe of the PAC as well,” she said when contacted by Malaysiakini.

The MACC had released a statement shortly after the names in the ledger were revealed in witness testimony during Zahid’s trial saying they will open investigations into the matter.

This raised questions as to why the anti-graft agency was only doing so now when both the evidence and the witness were prepared by the MACC.

Similarly, Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai, who is also a member of MACC’s special committee on corruption (JKMR), had also questioned whether this was the result of an attempt to cover up and that this has led to more questions on the competency and integrity of the commission.

Legislation Urgently Needed

Gabriel said this incident has driven home the “incredibly urgent” need to enact a Political Funding Act of some sort along with an Anti-Hopping Act before the next general election.

There must also be a law on tracking the assets and illicit wealth of politicians, she added.

“If not, the 15th general election will be wrecked by deep corruption and dirty money flowing through our electoral process,” she said.

The UKSB ledger revelation is just one warning of the “grave nexus” between business and politics, which Gabriel said must be regulated and legislated.

Wong said there can be no justification for receiving kickbacks as “political donations” and that doing so constitutes corruption.

He said the MACC has also been slow in implementing the 115 initiatives as stated in the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023.

As of Dec 31, 2021, only 29 initiatives have been completed, he said.

“Political financing needs to be regulated. There should be independent and public oversight mechanisms to regulate political parties from receiving funding.

“Only entities of political parties can receive political contributions and there is a limitation on the contribution, and the funds can only be used for limited usages, such as election campaigning, and such funds will need to be audited and regulated by law,” Wong said.

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