Friday, May 26, 2017

The MACC will never shake its politically tainted image unless it starts taking action against power abuse and corruption in relation to 1MDB and SRC International

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been putting up a brave front in making dozens of arrests of corrupt government officials from state utilities and zakat officials to senior police officers around the country.

While none of the key arrests to date have resulted in convictions in the court of law, the relatively aggressive effort in fighting corruption is to be applauded.

However, all its efforts have failed to redeem the commission’s tarnished and tainted image of being a political tool of the Najib administration, and for its failure in touching anything remotely connected to the two largest scandals afflicting Malaysia today – 1MDB and SRC International.

In comparison, over the period of a year, the Singapore authorities have prosecuted and secured guilty verdicts against various parties involved in facilitating the laundering of illegally sourced funds passing through the Singapore banking system.

The most recent conviction was against a remisier who provided a S$3,000 inducement to a financial analyst to produce a favourable valuation report for a then proposed US$2.4 billion acquisition of Petrosaudi Oil Services Limited (PSOSL) by 1MDB.

In Malaysia, the Auditor-General and Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have already flagged the transaction as highly irregular and failed all tests of corporate goverance and due diligence – with the management both misleading the 1MDB Board of Directors, as well as ignoring the instructions of the latter.

Why is it that while the Singapore authorities have not only completed the prosecution and conviction of those found guilty of being involved in the above fraudulent transaction, but in Malaysia, the MACC isn’t even remotely close to completing its investigations.  In fact, the MACC Chief Commissioner has consistently refused to confirm if there are any investigations on the parties involved in the 1MDB scandal which have burdened the Malaysian tax-payers with RM42 billion of financial liabilities.

As a result, regardless of how many other arrests the MACC made against police officers and other agencies, the rakyat will forever view MACC as a biased agency which will only take action against the fish fries and not the monster sharks.  This is especially since it is now public knowledge, undenied by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Najib Razak himself, that at least US$731 million originating from 1MDB and RM69 million from SRC International Sdn Bhd found its way to his personal bank account with Ambank Bhd.

The Chief Commissioner, Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad had tried to brush off criticisms of MACC’s tardiness by claiming that actions against politicians are delayed because they didn’t want the issue to be made used of by politicians for the purposes of campaigning.

"There is no issue of 'pilih kasih' (favouritism), it's about timing. If we take action straightaway, then that's favouritism," he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur today.

Datuk Dzulkifli could not be more misguided in his rational for not completing its investigations on 1MDB and SRC International, or prosecuting the politicians involved.  In fact, his failure to take action against corrupt politicians on a timely basis is itself an act of ‘favouritism’.

It is not the business of MACC to interfere with politics or political campaigning. The business of MACC is to prosecute the corrupt, regardless of whether the person is the Prime Minister or a lowly civil servant.  The constitution provides for the fact that all Malaysians are equal under the eyes of the law.

Secondly, Datuk Dzulkifli appears to insinuate that political campaigning against corrupt officials is a despicable and dishonourable activity.  The MACC Chief could not be more wrong. Campaigning against the politically corrupt officials is central and integral to the concept of electoral democracy.

The rakyat must have the opportunity to hear and understand all the relevant facts, so that they are able to make informed choices during the General Election.

So, Datuk Dzulkifli, we call upon you to use the powers vested upon MACC to take immediate and uncompromised actions against political figures who are involved in abuse of power, the misappropriation of state funds as well as corruption.  It will go a long way towards redeeming the severely damaged image of MACC and demonstrating that you really act without fear or favour.

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