Wednesday, June 12, 2013

EAIC Will Deserve Praise If It Does Its Job

Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) chairperson Datuk Seri Heliliah Mohd Yusof claims the opposition will never admit it if a government agency does a good job. Datuk Seri Heliliah said this in response to criticism from me that the EAIC was “designed to fail” from the onset.

“Will the opposition praise any government body despite it being set up with heartfelt sincerity?” she asked.

Let me declare upfront that I will be the first to praise the Government if the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) and bring to book all who are guilty of misconduct.  And this will certainly not be my first time doing so.

However, I’d like to ask the Chairperson of EAIC if she actually thinks that the Commission has delivered anywhere remotely close to what was promised?

In the past 3 years, the EAIC receive only a budget of RM7 million a year.  Today, it has only 1 investigating officer as part of a 23-man staff which include its clerks and drivers.

In terms of actual concrete actions taken since its formation in September 2011 and until the end of 2012, the EAIC had only recommended one disciplinary action and two warnings to civil servants.  In that sole case of disciplinary action, a complaint had been lodged against a police officer mid-last year for closing a case after three days.

Even in this relatively minor case of indiscipline, the EAIC CEO Nor Afizah Hanum Mokhtar admitted that she doesn’t know if the recommended disciplinary action of a demotion has actually been carried out by the Police.  This is despite the fact that within the EAIC law, the Police is required by law to feedback to EAIC on the actions taken on specific complaints and recommendations.

The fact that the Government isn’t serious, with only 1 investigating officer today to “look after” 19 government agencies. is proof of the intent for the entire exercise to fail.

The performance of EAIC is so dire, that Datuk Seri Helilah’s former colleague, former Chief Justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad had openly questioned the effectiveness of the EAIC.  Datuk Seri Helilah should perhaps be thankful that the ‘opposition’ hasn’t been more harsh in their criticism of the EAIC, perhaps its Commissioners being accused even of “sleeping on the job”.

Hence the opposition’s “criticisms” of the EAIC are entirely valid and should not be summarily dismissed by the EAIC as the chairperson did.  In fact, I would challenge the former Court of Appeal Judge, Datuk Seri Helilah to state unequivocally if the EAIC has actually served its purposed and has successfully met its founding objectives.

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