KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 3 — The law enforcement approach in preventing corruption must change over time, in line with national progress, economic and political developments, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki.
He said the MACC, which is into its 54th year, needed such an approach to be implemented immediately so that the country would not be left behind in the enforcement of corruption laws and be on par with other developed countries.
“The MACC needs to find a more focused strategic action plan so that the law enforcement is able to create an impact on the community, especially in cases involving leakage of government funds.
“Presently, there are no laws that can be used against those who control project procurement and the MACC has proposed to include a new legal provision on the responsibility to disclose beneficial ownership in the MACC Act 2009 (Act 694),” he said in a virtual special interview held recently in conjunction with MACC’s 54th-anniversary celebration.
Azam said through these laws, project cartel crimes could be curbed which would help reduce leakage and misuse of government funds.
In addition, Azam said, the commission would also focus on corruption in the procurement, enforcement, and grand corruption involving high profile individuals.
“Our aim is to help the country reduce leakage of public funds because government funds must be well-managed….so it is MACC’s duty to see that the funds do not disappear just like that.
“In terms of procurement, since 2020 there have been issues over project cartel which had resulted in the government incurring huge losses of hundreds of millions. We have also charged a businessman who is believed to have been monopolizing government projects and taking the rights of others,” he said.
Azam added that several government officials who were involved in managing projects and the meat cartel issue were also arrested on suspicion of corruption.
On grand corruption, which is corruption and abuse of power involving high-ranking individuals, Azam said they were cunning and difficult to track down.
“Therefore, nowadays if there are reports from the public, we will not take immediate action but instead conduct an analytical study on them…as a result, we have detained individuals who are from JUSA B and C grades after changing our approach,” he said.
As of last August, Azam said 331 civil servants comprising six top management staff, 104 from management and professional level, and the rest, support staff, were arrested for their involvement in corrupt practices.
Meanwhile, he said all parties, including heads of departments, agencies, or ministries need to cooperate instead of leaving efforts to fight corruption to the MACC alone.
On the MACC’s 54th anniversary celebration this year, themed ‘Enliven Integrity, Fight Corruption, Azam said cultivating the spirit of integrity must come first in the fight against corruption.