MACC to have power to prosecute ?

Posted on July 14, 2010


13 Jul : The Star – The special parliamentary committee on corruption has suggested to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that the power to prosecute corruption cases be placed under the jurisdiction of the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), instead of the Attorney-General. The prime minister had given his assurance to consider the matter, chairman of the committee, Datuk Seri Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said.

Previously in this blog, I have deliberated on the failed efforts of MACC to prosecute through the Attorney General’s office and the necessary need for MACC to improve their image to us , the rakyat. In Jun, we hear that MACC  will propose that it should have the power to prosecute directly. This proposal was submitted yesterday to the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib.

There are both supporters and opposition to this proposal. I fully support that MACC be given the power and authority to prosecute without going through the Attorney General’s office. This will not only reduce the red tape bureaucracy, it will cut down time and thus save us tax-payer’s money. With this move MACC has no longer an excuse to say the AG’s office is a stumbling block hampering their prosecution. This will be the last chance and only chance for MACC to prove that it is truly independent in their combat against corruption.

MACC has already loss our trust and confidence due to their failure to prosecute with so many cases thrown out by the court. I have detailed this in my previous post. The impression on the public is that MACC serves only the ruling coalition and cases against the BN guys are just ” sandiwara”  as most cases are unsuccessfully prosecuted. The speed at which MACC acts or jump on the opposition only adds to this impression.  It is not uncommon to hear that the MACC now is a stooge perceived as subservient to the Barisan Nasional and there are even questions of corrupt practices within MACC themselves.

In order to prosecute successfully, MACC must strengthen and upgrade the quality of their staffs such as investigation officers, lawyers, accountants,  economists etc to assist in investigations. Especially when dealing in white collar crime, the culprit has develop extensive “alibi” to cover his tracks and is not easy for just any officer to deep drill into the forensics of it without good knowledge. Witnesses called up to testify must be “educated” about their statements and their responsibility in court and not crumble under attack in court. There are too many of such incidents when contradictory statements are given and the judge have to dismiss the cases just based on the unreliable and inconsistent witness testimony. Many view such incidents as another “wayang” or show to allow the accused to go scot-free.

The effectiveness of MACC prosecution will be hinder if it still continue to report to the Prtime Minister’s office. Being an independent entity, it should report to, say  an all party Parliment Committe. Only then can it claim to be fair. As of now, can we imagine the MACC taking initiative to investigate in their own words ” without fear or favor” on any allegations of corruption, breach of trust against  the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers in the cabinet and State Ministers  ??  Under present status, the answer is clearly a positive NO.  MACC must be  fully empowered to investigate all cases of corruption among politicians, civil and public servants  regardless of their status.

Datuk Seri Najib should support what he always advocate that he is fair and approve this proposal from MACC.