Political-business “unholy nexus” must be dismantled, MACC needs more teeth

Topic: Nexus Between Politics and Business

Coverage by: Focus Malaysia

Related news: https://focusmalaysia.my/political-business-unholy-nexus-must-be-dismantled-macc-needs-more-teeth/

THE recent conviction of former Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad for corruption shows how dangerous the “unholy nexus” between politics and business can be to a nation.

“It clearly shows how government-linked companies (GLC) are manipulated and used as conduits to facilitate the theft of taxpayers’ money for greed and personal gain.

“And instead of making structural changes to address this, the Government is using patronage politics and rewards to sow loyalty among MPs by offering them lucrative positions as directors of GLCs, removing several professionals along the way,” Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel told FocusM.

Yesterday, the High Court sentenced Isa to six years in prison and fined him RM15.4 mil after finding him guilty of nine counts of corruption involving RM3.09 mil purchase of a hotel in Kuching, seven years ago.

Judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali handed six years’ imprisonment on each of the nine counts; the jail terms are to run concurrently.

A former chairman of Mara Incorporated Sdn Bhd (Mara Inc) is also scheduled to be charged for receiving bribe amounting to RM33.45 mil, following a land purchase in Australia.

The former chairman, who holds a Datukship, is scheduled to be charged at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court come Friday, a source from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was reported saying.

Calling it a dire situation, Gabriel said the Government seems to lack the political will to end patronage politics which would only allow such abuse of power and corruption continue to thrive.

Grant MACC more power

Offering solutions, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) leader said the Government should look into amending Section 23 and 36 of the MACC Act, to grant the anti-graft body more muscle to take on corrupt individuals.

“The change has to be structural and has to come from the top. The rakyat are mere pawns in the web of greed and power.

Gabriel added: “The MACC should also be lifted to become a constitutional organisation with its chief commissioner having a guaranteed security over his or her tenure.”

On Jan 28, Transparency International (TI) reported that Malaysia ranking dropped six spots to 57th position, among the 180 nations surveyed for the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2020.

“The small drop may be statistically insignificant, but the drop in score and position is a cause of concern. We need to improve and I am sure we can do better than countries like Rwanda, Poland and so forth,” Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Dr Muhammad Mohan was reported saying. – Feb 4, 2021.

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