23 DECEMBER 2022
In light of the recent announcement by the government to review the National Centre for Governance, Integrity, and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) whose key functions were to monitor the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP), The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 center) would like to express that we hold no objections to the decision. Likewise, we hold the same view in regards to the government’s intention to slash out overlapping institutions for effective administration. However, the primary focus should be steered back towards the aim of establishing a strong entity that can drive a stellar anti-corruption agenda for the country.
The effectiveness of GIACC has been hindered due to the changes in administrations over the last three years and amidst the political instability, the lack of political drive and will to push for intended reforms had been gravely impacted. As a result of that, only less than 30 percent of the initiatives from the NACP had been realised, to date. In view of this, the anti-corruption agenda must be revived and be made the current government’s top priority to accomplish. Elements from the NACP which were supposed to have been already implemented, must be given a whole new focus. C4 center would like to take this opportunity to extend its offer to work closely with the current government in accomplishing this agenda.
The other important issue to note is how the functions of the GIACC, or any mirror organisation to it, must never be placed under the MACC because the MACC’s primary function is as an investigative body. As much as MACC needs greater independence, the institution itself definitely still needs to be reformed in terms of its appointment process and be given more investigative powers, for example, to investigate unexplained wealth of politicians, and business entities.
To this end, the NACP and the anti-corruption agenda needs to be moved by an entity that needs to report directly to Parliament and the Prime Minister. As such, C4 center recommends the following:
1) To Establish an independent section in Parliament be it Special Select committees or an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) comprising MPs from both sides of the divide that is robust and proactive in overseeing this entity;
2) The functions of the GIACC should not be placed under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as the latter should remain an investigative body;
3) For any overlapping, unnecessary institutions to be scrapped.
In addition to that, we are aware that PM Anwar has shown he holds no outright aversion towards the involvement of politicians in Government-Linked Companies (GLC) management; it is worth highlighting that the current situation pertaining to GLC appointments is obscure. It is important to note that while there is no deterrence to stop politicians from applying for certain positions, what is highly recommended in this situation is for politicians not to be made chairpersons, executive directors in GLCs.
Hence, a long-term law that clearly sets out the guideline to approach this important aspect that increases good governance on a larger scale with a solid regulatory mechanism must be immediately established.
C4 Center would like to propose the following measures:
- Introduce a law to regulate government-linked companies (GLCs) to improve management of GLCs and oversee the membership make-up of the board of GLCs;
- Formation of an independent commission to vet the appointments of GLC chairpersons, CEOs and board members and the manner in which the entities operate;
- Open up the GLC appointment system by ensuring that a certain level of open applications to the public can be made possible. This would increase transparency and build a genuine meritocracy system that encourages competition among the brightest of minds and enables capable individuals from among the business, academic and even professionals from the civil society sectors to apply for GLC posts.
- Non-performing or dormant GLCs should be dissolved.
The above recommendations are made in good faith of the government’s vow to fulfill the anti-corruption agenda for Malaysia which has been a long time coming, and ensure that a positive environment in the GLC sector can be now nurtured to move the economy forward and secure the future and overall well-being of the nation in the long run.
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Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Center)
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