27 October, 2010



By Teoh El Sen

PETALING JAYA: A Gerakan leader has chided the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commision (MACC) for passing the buck and demanded an answer to his question.

Kedah Gerakan Youth chief Tan Keng Liang also asked if the corruption watchdog was “hiding behind the attorney-general”.

Tan had questioned the MACC's decision to refer suspected corrupt civil servants, implicated in the Auditor-General's 2008 report, to their respective department heads for disciplinary action instead of hauling them to court.

Earlier today, MACC clarified that it was within its administrative powers to do so, and that prosecution could only be initiated by a public prosecutor or the attorney-general.

However, the explanation failed to convince Tan, who said: “It only serves to raise more questions.”

“They were correct to say all prosecution have to go through the attorney-general first. His consent is needed. But did the MACC really forward its investigations to the attorney-general?

“If so, then now we must ask the attorney-general why he decided not to prosecute these civil servants," he told FMT.

"Someone has to answer, either the attorney-general's chambers or MACC. They can't be putting the blame on each other," he stressed.

Setting a dangerous precedent

However, Tan pointed out that MACC also mentioned that it was the commission's legal affairs and prosecution department which had decided to refer the reports to the relevant department heads.

"If that is true, then they are acting above the law by deciding things themselves. They are setting a new and dangerous precedent in dealing with corruption by becoming the judge and prosecutor.

“It defeats the purpose of having these preventive laws, which are bypassed," he said.

Assuming that the person was not guilty, the Gerakan leader said the suspect would be robbed off the chance to defend himself in a court of law.

"But MACC said these cases waranted disciplinary action, so why weren't they taken to court? They can't say it is minor, that is for the court to decide. This could make civil servants braver and more corrupt," he said.

Tan first raised the issue in a posting on his blog last Saturday in response to MACC's announcement that it had completed its investigation into cases mentioned by the auditor-general.

The commission said three people had been charged in court and four reports were submitted to department heads with the proposal that disciplinary action be taken.