Anti-corruption campaign launched in Malaysia

By on 14/08/2017 | Updated on 24/09/2020
MACC deputy chief commissioner of operations Mohd Azam Baki says that civil servants who lived a life of luxury were likely to be involved in the abuse of power and corruption and would be monitored.

A government agency tasked with tackling corruption has urged the public to report civil servants who seem to be living beyond their means.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) launched the “Friends of Anti-Corruption Revolution Movement” campaign, saying it invited and encouraged participation from all levels of society.

Speaking on the Ruang Bicara talk show, MACC deputy chief commissioner of operations Mohd Azam Baki said that civil servants who lived a life of luxury were likely to be involved in the abuse of power and corruption.

The MACC was monitoring officers in senior positions, including their acquisition of property, he said, according to Malaysian news site Malaysiakini.

Azam added the commission would also act against retired civil servants if it proved that they had abused their power while in service.

Earlier this year, MACC launched the Corruption-Free Pledge, to encourage public bodies to commit to taking responsibility to avoid corruption and abuse of power. So far, 280 government agencies had signed the pledge, MACC said.

Convictions needed

The Malaysian branch of anti-corruption campaign group Transparency International welcomed the MACC’s latest campaign, saying that it was in line with action it had asked the commission to take to improve Malaysia’s record on corruption. “This year, we’ve seen much more activity by MACC, with lots of arrests made,” said secretary general of Transparency International Malaysia Muhammad Mohan.

But time would tell, he warned. “It all depends on whether it results in a conviction or not. We don’t have a high rate of convictions in Malaysia,” he said.

“Some say that people might not have confidence that they will be protected for reporting an official, but under the Whistleblowers Act 2010 they will have this,” he added.

Declining corruption record

Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index this year place Malaysia 55th out of 176 countries, with the country’s performance dropping one point from the previous year.

The organisation criticised the country for its “sad” performance and said that a new approach to training public officials was needed to counter the existing culture where corruption was a normal way to get things done. The government must provide leadership by driving a message of zero tolerance for abuses of power, it said.

Its other recommendations included mandating international standard ISO 37001 on anti-bribery for all government suppliers; introducing access to information laws at federal and state level; monitoring of the cost of large infrastructure projects to prevent middle men taking a cut.

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See also:

Malaysia sets open data targets

Global Government Summit report; part 5

Nordic countries perform best in global corruption ranking

About Catherine Early

Catherine is a journalist and editor specialising in government policy and regulation. She writes predominantly about environmental issues and has held permanent roles at the Environmentalist (now known as Transform), the ENDS Report, Planning magazine and Windpower Monthly, and has also written for the Guardian, the Ecologist and China Dialogue. She was a finalist in the Guardian’s International Development Journalism competition 2009, and was part of the team that won PPA Business Magazine of the Year 2011 for Windpower Monthly. She also won an outstanding content award at Haymarket Media Group’s employee awards for data-led stories in Planning magazine. She holds a 2:1 honours degree in English language and literature from Birmingham University.

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