Reform the MACC and strengthen anti-corruption efforts
KENYATAAN MEDIA C4 CENTER
Pengisytiharan Harta Langkah Penting Membanteras Rasuah dan Salahguna Kuasa
2 Julai 2019
C4 Center merujuk kenyataan media semalam yang menyebut Dewan Rakyat telah meluluskan usul yang mewajibkan semua ahli parlimen mengisytiharkan harta. Kami amat mengalu-alukan langkah ini yang selaras dengan prinsip akauntabiliti dan ketelusan.
Kami juga menyambut baik kenyataan Menteri Liew Vui Keong bahawa satu undang-undang pengisytiharan harta sedang dalam proses penggubalan. Langkah ini amat penting dalam membentuk satu mekanisme yang efektif dalam memastikan pelaksanaan pengisytiharan harta. C4 Center sedia bekerjasama dengan kerajaan untuk memberikan input berkenaan undang-undang pengisytiharan harta.
C4 Center bersama-sama kumpulan masyarakat sivil yang lain telah lama melakukan kerja-kerja advokasi untuk memastikan kerajaan menggubal satu undang-undang pengisytiharan harta di Malaysia. Sebelum pilihanraya ke-14, C4 Center dan Majlis Peguam telah menderaf satu Kerangka Pengisyitiharan Harta (Public Asset Declaration Framework). Kerangka Pengisyitiharan Harta ini mengandungi contoh borang-borang pengisytiharan harta, prinsip-prinsip, dan amalan terbaik di negara-negara demokrasi yang lain.
Kami juga ingin menyelar kenyataan ahli parlimen PAS Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man yang enggan mengisytiharkan harta atas alasan larangan agama. Keengganan beliau untuk mengisytiharkan harta ini juga disokong oleh ahli parlimen pembangkang yang lain.
Sikap ahli-ahli parlimen pembangkang ini amat memalukan dan bertentangan dengan nilai-nilai demokrasi. Kami menegaskan bahawa dalam sebuah negara demokratik, rakyat mempunyai hak untuk tahu dan mendapatkan maklumat berkenaan harta yang dimiliki oleh wakil rakyat demi memastikan mereka berkhidmat dengan penuh amanah, ketelusan, dan integriti.
Ahli parlimen pembangkang sepatutnya menyokong pengisytiharan harta dan berhenti menggunakan agama untuk melindungi mereka daripada dipantau oleh rakyat. Semua agama menitikberatkan sikap amanah dalam melaksanakan tanggungjawab kepada rakyat. Ahli-ahli parlimen pembangkang tidak perlu takut seandainya gaya hidup mereka berlandaskan agama.
Pengisytiharan harta juga dapat mengukuhkan langkah kerajaan untuk memperkenalkan peruntukan undang-undang berkenaan kekayaan yang tidak dapat diterangkan (unexplained wealth) di mana jika seseorang didapati mempunyai harta yang tidak dapat diterangkan, ia cukup untuk menjadi satu asas untuk siasatan dimulakan. Pada masa sekarang, seksyen 36 Akta Suruhanjaya Pencegahan Rasuah 2009 (Akta SPRM) yang membenarkan siasatan dijalankan ke atas kekayaan yang tidak dapat diterangkan amat terhad kerana ia perlu berkait dengan jenayah yang sedang disiasat di bawah Akta SPRM.
Kami menegaskan bahawa tadbir urus baik hanya boleh dicapai dengan memastikan, antara lain, adanya satu undang-undang pengisytiharan harta yang menyeluruh. Kami dengan ini menyeru agar proses penggubalan undang-undang ini dijalankan dengan telus dan mengambilkira pandangan dan input orang awam. Ini adalah kerana rakyat merupakan ejen semak imbang yang amat penting dalam memastikan amalan rasuah dan salahguna kuasa dalam kerajaan dibanteras.
Pengarah Eksekutif, C4 Center
The announcement of Latheefa Koya as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner on on 4 June 2019 brought into question the commitment of Pakatan Harapan in reforming the MACC. Latheefa was appointed directly by Tun Dr Mahathir Muhammad without consultation with the cabinet nor a parlimentary select committee. This goes against Promise 14 of the Pakatan Harapan manifesto in which the MACC commissioner would be appointed through a democractic process or a parliamentary select committee. This move by the Prime Minister has undermined Strategy 1.4 of the National Anti-Corruption policy which he himself launch in January of 2019. The objective of strategy 1.4 is to enhance the Parliamentary Power and Governance Administration where it also promises for the establishment of the committee. This blatant disregard of the NACP and the manifesto shows a lack of respect on the hard work that has been done by the Governance, Integrity and Anti-corruption Center (GIACC) and C4 Center who has been instrumental in the composition of these documents.
Latheefa’s appointment has been the 10th unilateral appointment by the Prime Minister since Pakatan Harapan got into power in 2018 to key roles in the government. The Prime Minister justified the appointment as the parliamentary select committee (PSC) mechanism has no legal authority to do so and any changes to empower them requires a two-thirds majority vote in parliament, which the Pakatan Harapan government currently do not have. We urge the government to expedite this process before a change of any change of leadership as it will make future key appointments in the administration accountable to the rakyat.
Despite our disappointment with the method behind Latheefa’s appointment however we welcome the elevation of a prominent and robust political activist as a person spearheading the MACC. Regardless, we will remain vigilant and keep Latheefa Koya and the PH government accountable in their commitment in ridding the country from corruption.
NAFCC Bill to enable financial crime probes passed in Dewan Rakyat
10 October 2019 – Liew Vui Keong, the de facto law minister, said in parliament on 10 October 2019, that the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) bill 2019 will enable the government to investigate financial crimes committed in Malaysia and on foreign soil. In the same speech, Liew said that Malaysia saw an outflow of US$ 435 billion (RM1.82 trillion) from illegal and laundered trade between 2006 and 2015. The bill also lead to the management of a centralised data system on financial crimes. In an earlier statement, Liew said the NAFCC will help law enforcement agencies to recover crime-related money from abroad. The law minister said later at the lobby of Parliament, that the NAFCC top executives (Director-General and Chairperson) will go through the Parliamentary Select Committee on Major Appointments first.
Dewan Rakyat passes NAFCC bill unanimously without amendment
10 October 2019 – The National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) Bill was passed by the Dewan Rakyat unanimously. The NAFCC bill was passed without any amendments, where written text of the law states that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong will its Director-General will be appointed on the advice of the prime ministers. However, this will be changed when the act gets Gazetted to reflect the government in agreeing to refer this appointment to the Parliament.
C4 – The National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) bill was passed with the full support of the Dewan Rakyat. This bill will establish a centre that will organise activities related to financial crimes when an investigation involves two or more enforcement agencies. The NAFCC will have a centralised database that will help in their investigation. The NAFCCC may request or receive any relevant information and reports from any person, government entity or enforcement agency, of which the latter is permitted to provide such data to the centre necessary for an integrated operation or financial crime prevention.
The establishment of the NAFCC is a positive step in establishing professional and knowledgeable investigators that hinder and rid the nation of financial crimes.
MACC Act to be amended to provide more clout to combat corruption
20 September 2019 – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is amending some provisions in its law to further improve the agency and give it more clout to combat corruption more effectively. Its deputy chief commissioner (Prevention) Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil said the amendments, scheduled to be tabled in Parliament before the year-end, include provisions in Section 36 of the MACC Act 2009.
C4 – Section 36 of the MACC Act 2009 refers to the power of the MACC to obtain information. The MACC Deputy Chief Commission said in the article “The (proposed) amendments to Section 36 of the MACC Act are to allow an investigation to be conducted directly on individuals who are found to be living beyond their income.” He said the enhancement is needed that current provision requires the background of the individual first before asking about their property. This effectively speeds up the investigation process. In addition to that, the commissioner states that there will be additional amendments to the appointment of MACC chief commissioner and the panel of independent bodies to monitor its functions. This statement by MACC shows a clear commitment by the organization to reforming itself and which is in line with Promise 14 of the PH Manifesto.
Body cameras will ensure transparency, prevent abuse – IGP
20 September 2019 – The Inspector General of Police, Abdul Hamid Bador mooted the idea for law enforcement officers to wear body cams to help to document cases, ensure transparency and prevent any abuse of power
C4 – Body cameras worn by law enforcement officers has become an official sight in developed countries like the United States of America and the United Kingdom. These cameras have several benefits; first, they help document operations which can be used as evidence, to protect the law enforcement officers from slander and lastly to act “virtual” device that controls the behaviour of the officers from committing like acts of abuse and corruption.
Constitutional amendments to empower MACC in the pipeline, says Abu Kassim
“Be ever vigilant and unforgiving to any instances of corruption. Feel free to report any acts of corruption to the MACC, regardless of who committed it.Cooperate with the government by reporting using existing channels and criticise us publicly and freely if there is no action taken. It is only when there is strong, vocal and unwavering public opposition towards corruption, that the government is forced to be ever-vigilant,”
MACC warns of worsening corruption in business
10 September 2019 – Beginning June 1, 2020, with the enforcement of Section 17A of the MACC Act, companies and their directors could be deemed personally liable if an associated person such as an employee or subcontractor is caught involved in corruption for the benefit of the commercial organisation.
The introduction of Section 17A was necessary to fulfill Malaysia’s obligation under Article 26 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) to establish a provision for liability of legal persons in the domestic anti-corruption framework. For context, Malaysia had already signed and ratified the UNCAC, making the requirements legally binding for Malaysia.
New anti-corruption clause will target ‘big fish’
3 September 2019 – The clock is ticking for bribe-givers as the government prepares to widen its dragnet in the fight against corruption. Action will be taken against bribe-givers under the soon-to-be enforced Section 17(A) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act (MACA). This clause will see companies being fined no less than 10 times the value of the gratification, or RM1 million, whichever is higher, or be subjected to a prison term of not exceeding 20 years, or both, when the law comes into effect on June 2020.
C4 – From the 1 June 2020 onward, the MACC will be given more powers to bring cooperation and their board members to account on any acts of graft, bribery and corruption done by them and those work. Since the amendment to the MACC Act to include Section 17 (A) has seen a considerable effort by the corporate sector to educate their staff members, business associates, and management via corporate training, forums and updated manuals on good business practice and governance. Hopefully, the efforts from the corporate sector and the enforcement by the MACC would further reduce the occurrence of corruption and graft.
‘Stopping bribe-givers can end corruption in civil service’
2 September 2019 – The Public Service Department (PSD) Director-General, Datuk Seri Borhan Dolah, said that the MACC should start targeting bribe givers and snuffing out corruption its source. He also highlighted a survey compiled by MACC revealed that 22.1 per cent of respondents in the public sector said they were willing to accept bribes if they were in a position of power.
Tackling beneficial ownership: MACC wants provision to identify real owners
22 July 2019 – MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said the provisions for beneficial ownership needs to be incorporated in the Malaysian Anti-Commission Act 2009 as it will identify the real owners of business and properties. She said this to reporters on 22 July 2019 at a regional workshop in promoting beneficial transparency in Southeast Asia. She also said, currently the Companies Act and the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2001 (AMLA) has provisions on beneficial ownership.
Upgrade MACC to a Commission status (ie. akin to the Election Commission)
05 September 2019
The Director-General of GIACC, Tan Sri Abdul Kassim has announced the MACC will be empowered in the terms appointing and dismissing its own Chief Commissioner in accordance to the Jakarta Statement on Principles for Anti-Corruption Agencies in November 2012. These changes will be made via amendments to the Constitution.
31 Mar 2019 – Reforming the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is under way. The appointment of the chief commissioner will be done via a Parliamentary Select Committee, and this has been approved by the cabinet. MACC will also be forming a regulatory body to monitor governance in investment agencies.
Enable MACC to report directly to Parliament
02 July 2018
In a letter sent by the Chief Secretary to the Government Dr Ali Hamsa to the Prime Minister’s Department signal a massive change on how government machinery and ministries are run from now on. The changes are as follows:
- The PMD will handle 26 entities
- It used to more than 90 agencies and departments
- Forty agencies have been redesignated to other ministries
- 10 agencies, including 19 offices and task forces will be abolished
- Nine agencies will from now on operate as independent entities reporting directly to parliament
- These include the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, the Election Commission, The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia and the National Audit Department.
- The Attorney General’s Chambers will stay with the PMD
- The prosecuting function of the chambers will be placed under the Public Prosecutor’s Office that reports to Parliament
- The following agencies will also report directly to Parliament
- Public Service Commission
- Education Service Commission
- Judicial Appointment Commission
Increase MACC Commissioners and enforce a quota for civil society
Appointment of MACC Commissioners to be validated democratically by Parliament
10 October 2019
Law Minister Liew Vui Keong announced that the appointment of major roles at the Election Commission (EC), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM), the National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) will go through the Public Select Committee for Major Appointments.
12 June 2019: The government will stick to the “old idea” of referring to the premier’s recommendation to appoint chiefs of key national bodies until Parliamentary Select Committees are able to take over the role legally, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
12 June 2019: The Malaysian-Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) will investigate allegations that Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali stashed RM300 million abroad.MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Koya said the anti-graft busters will look into all the reports received and act on it professionally.
9 June 2019: Despite Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad declared that his decision on the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief as final, the Parliamentary Select Committee on Major Public Appointments still wants to meet the Prime Minister over the matter.
4 June 2019: Lawyers for Liberty executive director Latheefa Beebi Koya is the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner, replacing Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull. Her two-year contract takes effect on June 1, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement Tuesday (June 4).
31 Mar 2019: Reforming the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is also underway. The appointment of the chief commissioner will be done via a Parliamentary Select Committee, and this has been approved by the cabinet. MACC will also be forming a regulatory body to monitor governance in investment agencies.
Revise and enhance the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010, the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972, and the Witness Protection Act 2009
12 November 2019
The govt is considering a few other options with regards to the Official Secrets Act 1972 whether it will be repealed, or to establish a Freedom of Information Act while maintaining Act 88, or just doing an amendment on the provisions of Act 88, says Deputy Minister in PM’s Dept Mohd Hanipa Maidin
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30 October 2019
Law Minister Liew Vui Keong said that Whistleblower Protection Act being reviewed, legal affairs department gathering feedback from relevant parties and hopes to table by 2020.
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22 September 2019 – Concerns about running afoul with the Official Secrets Act 1972 (OSA) have led to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to leave plantations and mills in Malaysia out of a map that is meant to show where RSPO members are located. RSPO chief executive officer Darrel Webber told reporters at a virtual press conference on Friday that the NGO started asking its growers to release maps showing their boundaries in 2013, and subsequently published it on its GeoRSPO webpage beginning in 2017.
C4 – The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) explained that the majority of its members are scared to put their location on their map as it may be classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA). The purpose of the map was to improve transparency by allowing anyone in the world to check where forest fires are occurring in relation to RSPO members’ plantation. The RSPO is a non-profit that brings together the palm oil industry players and stakeholders to develop and implement global standards for sustainable palm oil. This statement by RSPO demonstrates the wide-reaching effect of the OSA, which goes beyond its original remit of national security. The OSA has inadvertently jeopardised the reputation of the Palm Oil industry as innocent plantation might be accused of open burning as the public is not able to know where the estates are. It also hinders environmental protection efforts by the public as this information is hidden. Repealing the OSA is essential as it has blocked information from the people that is essential for environmental protection.
20 September 2019 – Prime Minister Dr Mahathir has assured that companies that whistleblow wrongdoing by government agencies will be protected. He made the quote below during The Edge Billion Dollar Club and Corporate Awards 2019 Gala Dinner on 19 September 2019.
“Companies which provide information on corruption will be protected,” – Dr Mahathir Mohammed
16 July 2019 –The Official Secrets Act is under review and the bill to amend the law could be debated in Parliament next year, said Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Mohamed Hanipa Maidin.
10 January 2019 – Liew Vui Keong, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (PMD) said that the Protection Division in the PMD has successfully managed witnesses who testified in court, the completion of the trial and sentencing of the accused. None of the witnesses has been harmed. Under the Witness Protection Act, actions that may be taken to ensure the safety and welfare of a protected witness include relocation and providing a place to stay, facilitating the establishing of a new identity, providing funds for living expenses or relocation costs, as well as assisting in obtaining employment. He was quoted saying this at an event in Putrajaya on 10 January 2019.
16 October 2018 – The Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said that a comprehensive study is needed to ensure the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) meets the standard set by similar laws at the state level. He also added the FOIA study will also include the scrutiny of the Official Secret Act (OSA) and other related laws. The PM said this in a written reply in Parliament to a question raised by MP Lim Lip Eng on 16 October 2018.
14 Sep 2018 – The time has come for government departments and bodies to set up a whistleblower policy similar to their private-sector counterparts. Former Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi said the government could learn from the private sector, which practised corporate governance.
14 Sep 2018 – THE government plans to review the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 to encourage more people to expose unlawful activities in public and private organisations. Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin said such a move is in line with the government’s efforts to strengthen its policies.
“I believe that we need to have a stronger whistleblower act to deal with the current situation in the country.
Enact and implement a Freedom of Information Act.
18 July 2019
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir said at the Ninth meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti Corruption (JKKMAR) on 18 July 2019 that the Official Secrets Act 1972 will be replaced by a new Freedom of Information Act.
C4 – Enacting a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is an essential component in reforming the MACC and also the fight against corruption. This announcement by the PM is a positive step to put transparency as a core government policy. Under this law, all individuals have the right to obtain records and information held by the government, except for documents that pertain to national security. Currently, a large chunk of government documents is classified as secret under the Official Secrets Act 1972, which carries harsh penalties and fines. FOIA will enable free flow of information pertaining to government activities and procurement which in turn will keep the government accountable for their actions.
18 July 2019 – Freedom of Information Act to replace OSA. Mahathir said the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption, which met today, has agreed in principle that sufficient time must be given to the process of drawing up the law.
30 Jan 2019 – NACP – FOI Law to be enacted within five years.
Compel all members of the Dewan Rakyat, Dewan Negara, and government officials (JUSA C ranking and above) to declare assets and income.
21 August 2019 – The Selangor government is considering the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) call for state assembly representatives (ADUN) to declare their assets. Mentri Besar Amirudin Shari said the proposal would be implemented if there was a need, just like how Selangor executive councillors were asked to declare their assets due to their executive powers in state administration.
19 August 2019 – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) call for politicians to declare their assets applies to those with access to public funds at both the federal and state levels. MACC chief commissioner Latheefa Kota today urged state governments to emulate the Federal Government’s move to have members of Parliament declare their assets.
22 July 2019 – The Dewan Negara on 22 July 2019, has approved a motion that compels all senators to declare their assets. This motion was tabled by Liew Vui Keong, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, the Dewan Negara with the support of 34 of 57 senators in favour of the motion. During the tabling of the motion, Liew said, all members of the Dewan Negara, spouses, children and as their trustees must declare their assets in a Statutory Declaration which will be submitted to the Dewan Negara president. A copy of that declaration will be submitted to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner.
20 July 2019 – The Dewan Negara will follow in the footsteps of the Dewan Rakyat, where a motion will be tabled in the House to compel all senators, both government and opposition, to declare their assets.
13 July 2019 – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is offering a dedicated system and consultation services to state governments for asset declaration by assemblymen. MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya said asset declaration by elected representatives was to ensure a more transparent administration.
1 July 2019 – The Dewan Rakyat approved a historical motion to compel all members of parliament, senators and their family members to declare their assets. The Code of Ethics of Ethics for Administrative Members and MPs motion was passed with a voice vote in the Dewan Rakyat. All parties involved needs to declare their assets within a three-month period from 1 July 2019 until 1 October 2019, where they have to submit completed asset declaration forms to the speaker of the Dewan Rakyat and the Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Each declaration would consist of three forms for personal assets, additional assets and disposal of assets which would be made under the Statutory Declaration Act 1960. Liew added that this declaration includes monthly earnings and all properties obtained domestically and abroad. Individuals who do not abide by this requirement would be held in contempt of parliament. Individuals who falsify their declaration will be in violation of the Statutory Declaration Act 1960, if convicted they would face a maximum jail term and a fine.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said this meant that opposition MPs must declare their assets together with the rest of the federal lawmakers in the Lower House of Parliament.
20 April 2019 – The new act under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which requires politicians and senior government officials Grade Jusa C and above, to declare their assets, is expected to be implemented before the end of this year. The new act is currently being drafted and will be presented to the Cabinet and hope to be realised by year end. MACC Deputy Chief Commissioner (Prevention) Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil
18 March 2019 – Anwar Ibrahim has urged the government to make asset declarations by key public officials a legal obligation; some MPs are still refusing to declare their assets despite this being the policy of the Pakatan Harapan administration.
1 November 2018 – The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has published the asset declaration of 47 Pakatan Harapan and Parti Warisan Sabah parliamentarians, with Lim Guan Eng recording the highest monthly income.
8 October 2018 – A new law warranting a mandatory declaration of assets by elected representatives is in the works. The new law, when adopted, would be expanded to include opposition members of parliament and state assemblymen. MACC is completing the bill’s final draft, which is expected to be concluded by year-end.
Involve in relevant international platforms, including Open Government Partnership.
30 May 2019 – Joe Powel from GovInsider.asia, a government policy news platform, wrote an article on the importance of global public register that is populated with information from all major financial centres can help prevent the next 1MDB from happening.
C4 – Powel makes an argument that lessons need to be learned from the 1MDB scandal, where transparency and accountability needs to be central in the global financial system. He cites the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as an ideal platform for this to happen, where member states, will commit to make the following ; access to information, fiscal transparency, public official asset disclosure, and citizen engagement. 21 OGP nations have committed to company ownership transparency in their OGP action plans. Powel postulates that the OGP can drive in the formation of an interoperable global register in which information like beneficial ownership information and others can be accessed by journalists or citizen to expose illegal activities that led to the 1MDB scandal. At the time of publication, the Malaysian government has not revealed any plans to join such platforms.