Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Independent Anti-Corruption Agency?

Just as the response to local government elections as well as the IPCMC have been particularly disappointing, this morning, SERDANG (Teo Nie Ching/DAP) has her question on the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) addressed to the Prime Minister which received only a lukewarm response. Her question was:
...sama ada Kerajaan akan mengikut seruan rakyat untuk membebaskan Badan Pencegahan Rasuah daripada kawalan Jabatan Perdana Menteri dan diletakkan di bawah Parlimen. Jika tidak, mengapa.
The reply was given by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Nazri Aziz was fairly standard, who said he'll be gentle with first time parliamentarian SERDANG, was unfortunately disappointing.

Despite initial euphoria when the Prime Minister first raised the possibility of a Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC) as part of the restructuring plan for ACA (i.e., "commission" instead of "agency"), we have been subsequently disappointed by the fact that this remains a half-hearted step towards reform as the "commission" remains under the purview of the Prime Minister's Department.

When further asked by SERDANG as to why the powers of prosecution will not be granted to MCAC, the Minister responded that the Government needs to subscribe to the "principle of separation of duties" i.e., different bodies doing the investigation as opposed to prosecution and adjudication.

When pressed by IPOH TIMUR as to why such principles don't seem to apply when the MCAC is placed under the Prime Minister's office instead of the Parliament i.e., the separation of powers, with the specific example of the Prime Minister abusing his powers by "ordering" the Attorney-General (AG) to prosecute BUKIT GELUGOR for raising questions of legality with regards to the extent of powers of the royalty, the reply by the Minister with "gentle" but clearly evasive.

The Minister responded that anybody can request for the AG to charge anybody, including IPOH TIMUR, but it's still up to the AG to decide as to whether the charge should be carried out. (The fact that the Prime Minister is the AG's boss was of course irrelevant)

And the Minister added that even if MCAC is placed under the Parliament, its powers can be abused by Parliamentarians!

Isn't placing the MCAC under Parliamentary purview less likely to be abused then under the arbitrary powers of the Prime Minister? That's what the separation of powers between the executive, the legislative and the judiciary is all about isn't it?
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