Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Chief Executive of IDEAS, explains that “For the last one year we have been briefing top policymakers such as Minister Datuk Paul Low, (former) Senate President Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamad, various civil society leaders such as Transparency International, PERKASA and many others, together with leaders of parties in government and opposition. This campaign marks the next stage of our work, where we want to raise awareness among the wider public.”
IDEAS has been briefing these various parties in order to achieve the Government’s National Key Recovery Area (NKRA) Fighting Corruption targets. Four major steps must be taken, namely:
- Upgrading the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) into a constitutionally mandated Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) with 15 commissioners who enjoy security of tenure.
- Amending relevant parts of the MACC Act 2009 to give more investigative powers to the relevant bodies.
- Amending several relevant Acts including the Official Secrets Act, Whistleblower Protection Act, Witness Protection Act, and to introduce laws that enable freedom of information and asset declarations.
- Strengthening the institution of the Attorney General and that of the Public Prosecutor.
Wan Saiful stated that “We are grateful to the various NGOs who have helped us develop these ideas. We are happy that our suggestions have received positive responses from those in government and opposition. We know that the journey is still a long one but we must continue the work. It is not enough to expect the government to do everything. We must play our part in order to support the effort and raise awareness among the public too.”
The launch event held today was titled “Should the Roles of the Attorney General and the Public Prosecutor be Separated?”. “This is an important issue that must be considered by our policymakers. IDEAS is working with top legal minds to refine the proposals on how to address this issue”, added Wan Saiful.
Commenting further, Wan Saiful said, “there has been increased public concern for greater accountability and transparency to ensure that criminal justice is enforced fairly and impartially. The Attorney General is the chief legal adviser to the Government, while on the other hand as Public Prosecutor he is expected to make decisions on whether or not to prosecute a case. This creates a conflict of interest especially if the case involves government”.
“It is not fair on the AG to be burdened with this conflict of interest because it could lead to a situation where people question the integrity of even the most honest and dedicated AG. We must protect the sanctity of the institution by changing the set upso that two different persons hold the post of AG and Public Prosecutor. Otherwise all the allegations thrown at the current and previous AG will continue to haunt all future AGs too,” Wan Saiful concluded.
The IDEAS forum today is a follow-up from a high-level roundtable discussion which IDEAS hosted yesterday with key stakeholders. Participants discussed the necessary reforms of the Attorney General’s Chamber in order to reestablish confidence, trust and credibility of the institution so that the government’s fighting corruption targets can be achieved.
About the #NyahKorupsi Campaign
The #NyahKorupsi Campaign is a nationwide anti-corruption campaign that aims to advocate for institutional reforms to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General’s Chambers. The reforms include increasing the independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission by establishing it as a constitutional body as well as separating the roles of the Attorney General with that of the Public Prosecutor. For more information about the campaign visit www.ideas.org.my. If you are a Member of Parliament or member of the media and would like to be briefed on the campaign contact Shaza Onn at firstname.lastname@example.org
IDEAS is Malaysia’s first think-tank dedicated to promoting market-based solutions to public policy challenges. We are an independent not-for-profit organisation. As a cross-partisan think tank, we work across the political spectrum. Our purpose is to advance market-based principles, and we are not bound by party politics, race or religion. Our mission is to improve the level of understanding and acceptance of public policies based on the principles of rule of law, limited government, free markets and free individuals. For more information, please visit http://ideas.org.my/