MCAC -please do not let us wait till the cows come home

Malaysiakini reported today that PM has announced the formation of an Independent body for Anti Corruption (he calls it MCAC-Malaysian Commission for Anti Corruption). The report by Malaysiakini says:

The premier, at the launch of the first Asean Integrity Dialogue 2008, said that the agency would be made a full-fledged commission by year-end, adding that it would be answerable to Parliament.

He added that the commission would have to table an annual report and be answerable to a parliamentary committee on the prevention of corruption. He said this would ensure that there was an effective check and balance         

I have been very vocal in asking for an Independent Commission for corrupt Practices. I have forgotten how many articles and letters I have written on this. I will just qoute one of the letters published in Malaysiakini on 18 September 2006 below, since the points are still valid, for the readers who have not read it before.

Before quoting the letter, I have these few points to make:

1. The commission has to be truly independent. It is only answerable to a select committee of the PArliament consisting of government and opposition MPs.

2. To be truly independent, no politicians or businessmen, past or present,  should serve in the commission. Its members have to be those of high integrity, consisting of outstanding people from the academia, from the professions, from the civil service or diplomatic service, NGOs. The appointment should be made by the Agung on the recommendation of the Parliamentary committee.

3. It must have separate power of investigations as well as prosecution, without going through the police or AG chambers.

4. THe commissioners must have their assets declared yearly in media such as newspapersas well as internet websites.

5. It should have the power to investigate anyone, perhaps with the exception of the AGung as the Head of the country. It should have the power to call anyone including the PM for questioning and investigation.

6. There should be a new class of investigating officers who should be newly recruited and should be sent to Hong Kong for training. No police officers should be seconded from the police force.

7. Please make sure that we don’t have to wait like the proposed IPCMC; for that one promise, we have been waiting until the cow has come home. ANyway, the PM must have the will to do this fast, because if he is toppled and the next in line takes over, all these promises may not be kept. Maybe we can give a dateline of 100 days for the Judicial COmmission and MCAC to take shape. If these can be delivered by 100 days, perhaps UMNO should not be in a hurry to topple the PM.

I have also proposed a structure of a ICAC in my of my earlier posts. The commissioners will sit on a supervisory committee overseeing the Chief Investigating Officer.

Here is the content of  the letter  to Malaysiakini on 18 Spetember 2006:

IPCMC – Follow Hong Kong’s example
Dr Hsu Dar Ren | Sep 18, 06 5:53pm
In the light of the recent report that the new police chief is not happy with the setting up of IPCMC, may I suggest that we look into the possibility of setting up an Independent Commission Against Corrupt Practices (ICAC).

This commission will have wide power to tackle problems of corruption, not only in investigation, but also in arresting and prosecuting those involved in the evil of corrupt practices, be it in the public and private sectors. This should reassure our police force that they are not being singled out and victimised in the fight against corrupt practices.

Corruption is like cancer and to eradicate it we need total commitment. Just like treatment for cancer, half-hearted measures will certainly not succeed. Tackling corruption requires a three-pronged approach of enforcement, prevention and education.

In this respect, the setting up of an Anti-corruption Academy as proposed by the Prime Minister on his assuming the premiership three years ago is an important link and should be welcome by all of us. We hope that there would not be any more delay in the setting up of this academy, as we have lost much time already in the fight against corruption.

Perhaps there is plenty for us to learn from the history of how Hong Kong was transformed from a most corrupted place to one of the least in the world.

In the early 70s, it was not uncommon to have ambulance drivers soliciting tea money before transporting sick patients, firemen asking for tea money before turning on taps, police officers covering up vice, gambling and drug money. Everything that involved government and public agencies needed “tea money”.

Following a well-publicised case of corruption against the then police chief Peter Godber, there was a big uproar among the people and the government was forced to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate corrupt practices in the territory. The commission recommended the setting up of an independent body to fight corruption.

I would like to quote the then Hong Kong governor Sir Murray MacLehose’s speech when he argued for the setting up of the ICAC in Hong Kong. He said, “I think the situation calls for an organisation, led by men of high rank and status, which can devote its whole time to the eradication of this evil; a further and conclusive argument is that public confidence is very much involved. Clearly, the public would have more confidence in a unit that is entirely independent and separate from any department of the government, including the police.”

Hong Kong has since come a long way and its civil service, especially the police, is acknowledged as one of the best and most efficient.

Sir McLehose’s recommendation was not only good for Hong Kong, it will certainly be good to any country with similar problems. Although corruption in our country has not reached that alarming stage, it is undoubtedly still a very serious problem. I would therefore like to urge the prime minister to seriously consider what McLehose said to Hong Kong people almost 30 years ago and set up an Independent Commission Against Corrupt Practices.

This commission should also have power to investigate misconducts and abuse of power and should be answerable only to our Parliament.





7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeff
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 08:10:22

    This PM making promise again, if it is not independent agency only answer to Parliament n no one else, having statutory power to investigate whoever in government including all ministers, it is not going to be able to end corruption without fear n interference. The director has to be appointee by Parliament, and serve the interest of the people not just PM or DPM. All these factors had to exist before effective war on graft can take place. Also hope it is not taking another decade for him to form this reinvent agency like other of his past promises.


  2. joehancl
    Apr 22, 2008 @ 19:15:49

    Be not afraid. This time around IF Bodohwi chakap tak serupa bikin, malaysians maybe can forgive him, but I think God will NOT. I say this is the PM of malaysia. If there is no God then I don’t care. If there is I am certain he WILL be damned. Not every tom, dick and harry can be PM. Grace must be seen as from God.


  3. Ah pek
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 00:18:43

    it’s just another Bodowi’s trick to play Malaysians as “sucker”, if he is sincere in eliminating corrupt ministers (the big shark), he should let parliament be the watch dog not the commissioners appointed by him and answer to PM department, having another layer of not independent body is not going to win war on graft among government officials but just wasting more our tax dollars. He needs to change the goods inside rather than just the package to gain political mileage, Malaysians are less easy to be fool now a day.


  4. Jeff
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 02:37:07

    If we can get this weak man fulfill his 2004 promises, we should be fortunate enough , thinking that this new initiative will take place and is effective, we must be day dreaming and never learn from the past.


  5. Kathy
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 13:20:06

    “PM, please don’t simply make the promises,please do action.”The first people he has to do action is his private secretaries.Follow by his son inlaw.Then only making promise to us. I hope this message also go to DPM n all ministers.Before they make a promise,please pay attention to the people r surrounding them(especially wife ,family members n private secretary).Actually The most important person to pay attention is themself.


  6. Kathy
    Apr 24, 2008 @ 13:32:58

    There is one chinese idiom,’上梁不正下梁歪’.It means’When those above behave unworthily,those below will do the same’


  7. steven
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 11:16:00

    It is quite easy for this PM to fool everyone, probably because too much rubbish in his box like “ketuanan M.n I.hadhari belief, he thinks we are too foolish to realize that he is way behind his 2004 pledges.


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