Corrupt politicians should not be exempted from action by MACC

PETALING JAYA: High-profile politicians who are allegedly corrupt should not be exempted from action by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), said Transparency International-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar.

"Investigations into politicians should be conducted in all aspects of anti-corruption legislation – against those who live beyond their means, and anti-money laundering acts for money trail investigations as it will deter others from being involved in corrupt practices," he said in a statement today.

He added that the Malaysian Corruption Barometer 2014 showed political parties were the most corrupt bodies in Malaysia followed by the police and civil servants.

"The findings point to the fact that the public do not see politicians as individuals with integrity or as transparent and accountable as they should be," he said.

He said that politicians should not break the law and live beyond their means.

"In order to gain credibility and also increase public support, MACC must seriously eradicate corruption and strengthen its commitment to carrying out its investigations … without fear or favour," he added.

He said that many are not aware that the MACC does not have the power to initiate prosecution for offences of corrupt practices, they only have power to investigate.

"It is not true that MACC has been selective in the prosecution especially those involving politicians. In Malaysia, only the Attorney-General (AG) can decide on the prosecution. Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution expressly states that the Attorney-General shall have power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a syariah court, a native court, or a court martial," he added.

He went on to call for the Attorney-General to be fair in making "purely non-selective" decisions.

"Thus, the AG's role should be apolitical and no one should be able to doubt decisions made in the interest of the nation. Judges should play a vital part by imposing maximum penalty on the accused once found guilty in efforts to prevent repeat offenders and also to send out a strong message to others not to indulge in corruption," he said.