PANAMA CITY – The setting up of a Governance and Integrity Ministry by the Malaysia government bears testament to the strong political towards achieving a corruption-free society, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan to the international delegates.
During the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption on 25 November 2013 hosted by the Panama government, he also highlighted the success stories and achievements of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as well as the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA).
Among the highlights of his keynote address:
Fashioned after the ICAC of Hong Kong (SAR), the MACC unlike its predecessor, is now “detached” from the Prime Minister’s Department and reports directly to the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board and the Parliament (Select) Committee on Corruption.
Additionally the MACC’s core functions of prevention and investigation are scrutinized by the Corruption Prevention and Consultation Panel, the Operation Review Panel and a Complaints Committee.
A Service Commission has also been formed to streamline hiring of specialized resources, and the status of the Chief Commissioner is being elevated to be on par with the Auditor General, Attorney General and Judiciary in terms of his independence.
2) MALAYSIA’S KEY ANTI-CORRUPTION INITIATIVES
Hand-in-hand with punitive and integrity measures as per the MACC Act 2009, the Government has also implemented several additional initiatives under its NKRA – Fighting Corruption Strategy as follows:
1. Enactment of the Witness Protection Act 2009.
2. Enactment of the Whistle Blowers Protection Act 2010.
3. Setting up specialized courts to try corruption cases.
4. “Name & shame” data base for offenders prosecuted for corruption offences.
Additionally, we have also embarked on other integrity enhancement initiatives:
· Corporate Integrity Pledges (CIP) by companies or corporate bodies to uphold principles of integrity in doing business (to date about 279 CIPs have been signed).
· Integrity Pacts (IP) between the Government and its vendors not to participate in corrupt practices.
· Electronic procurement processes to ensure transparency and reduce human interaction in bidding, etc.
· Doing away with lobbying through the use of “support” letters to influence decision makers.
· “Hot” job rotation exercise – to overcome officials establishing unhealthy relationships with suppliers.
· Reducing bureaucratic delays – cutting down usage of long complicated processes, one-stop centre for government services.
New initiatives of the Government include:
· Removing middlemen in Government Procurement.
· Inclusion of criminal liability of legal persons clause in the MACCA 2009.
· Amending existing provisions of the MACCA 2009 in regards to asset declaration.
One recently announced development is that the MACC will head and oversee Integrity Units in all Ministries, Government Departments and Agencies (mainly high-risk organisations). The Units will be headed and supervised by experienced officers from the anti-graft body itself.
3) INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
On 2nd September 2010, Malaysia was one of the first to sign the Agreement for the setting up of the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA) – a joint initiative between the UNODC – and contributed RM 1 million towards its initial establishment. The Chief Commissioner of MACC currently serves as the Vice Chairman of IACA’s Board of Governors.
The MACC is also one of ten Southeast Asian Anti-Corruption Agencies to have signed a MoU on Preventing and Combating Corruption within the region – called the South East Asia Parties Against Corruption (SEA-PAC).
4) PROCESS OF REVIEW
Comments made by the experts from the Philippines and Kenya in the recently concluded desk review and country visit processes on Malaysia’s implementation of Chapters III and IV of UNCAC have been noted and taken to serve as a positive guide for our future improvements.
With regards to this, Malaysia would like to thank the Secretariat and these experts for having done an excellent job during the first review cycle for Malaysia. Some of the successes and good practices in implementing Chapter III and IV of the Convention are:
· 14 specialized anti-corruption courts have been in existence since 2011. Judges are instructed to hear cases within one year and can be held accountable for non-compliance. Other initiatives which helped to reduce the case backlog were the introduction of pre-trial conferences and plea bargaining.
· Various initiatives on corruption prevention are carried out with the private sector, such as integrity pacts, monitoring committees for large projects and integrity pledges. Large Malaysian corporations regularly employ Integrity Officers and have no-gifts policies in place. MACC provides training for the private sector and has seconded a small number of MACC officers to large companies.
· Malaysia has in place specialized and skilled manpower who actively cooperate with their foreign counterparts. Dedicated training, capacity building and exchange programmes – including through MACA – are among the international good practices for information exchange, cooperation and corruption prevention.
· The use of joint investigations and an operational working group with Brunei Darussalam are good examples of law enforcement cooperation among countries at the policy and operational level.
5) KUALA LUMPUR STATEMENT ON ANTI-CORRUPTION STRATEGIES
On behalf of the anti-corruption authorities as well as national planning authorities from the 20 South, East and Southeast Asian countries (namely, in alphabetical order: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Lao PDR, India, Indonesia, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Maldives, Myanmar, Mongolia, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, Thailand and Vietnam) I would like to take this opportunity to make a statement formulated during the Asia Regional Meeting on Anti-Corruption Strategies held in Kuala Lumpur between 21-22 October 2013 organized jointly by UNDP Pacific Centre and UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia with the Government of Malaysia.
The Kuala Lumpur Statement on Anti-Corruption Strategies is formulated in line with Article 5 (1) of UNCAC which states:
Article 5 (1) of UNCAC specifies, that “each State Party shall, in accordance with the fundamental principles of its legal system, develop and implement or maintain effective, coordinated anti-corruption policies that promote the participation of society and reflect the principles of the rule of law, proper management of public affairs and public property, integrity, transparency and accountability.”
This statement does not pretend to supersede the UNODC/ UNICRI “Technical Guide to the United Nations Convention against Corruption” on Chapter II Article 5, but has been developed to fine tune and enhance said “Technical Guide” to further promote the implementation of the Convention in a sustainable and manageable manner by all State Parties, noting that compliance with the Convention is not an end by itself.
The participants at the Meeting which also represented State Parties to the Convention have agreed to a set of guidelines termed “The Kuala Lumpur Statement on Anti-Corruption Strategies” mainly because it was formulated at the host-country, Malaysia. The participants also support the commitment of Malaysia to make this statement officially at the Conference and urge that all State Parties to the Convention adopt these guidelines as complementary to the Technical Guide.
Allow me also to take this opportunity to thank the organizers of the Asia Regional Meeting on Anti-Corruption Strategies namely UNDP Pacific Centre and UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia for spearheading this initiative in anticipation of the Second Review Cycle on Chapter II of UNCAC.
6) COUNTRIES IN REVIEW BY MALAYSIA
Year 4 will see Malaysia reviewing both the good countries of Palau and Turkey.
Anti-corruption is a common task facing every country in the world, and strengthening exchanges and cooperation in anti-corruption has become an inevitable choice of the international community. Given differences in the level of economic development, political and legal systems, historical and cultural background, as well as in legislation, investigation, prosecution and punitive measures for fighting and preventing corruption crimes, countries and regions may be different in their anti-corruption work development. Nonetheless, we should, in the spirit of mutual respect, mutually benefit and support one another to jointly fight and prevent transnational corruption crimes.
I want to use this occasion to reaffirm that Malaysia stands committed to share and exchange information intelligence with our international anti-corruption counterparts. We shall continue to strengthen our international commitment through the provision of capacity and capability building and provide technical assistance to other member states.
The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA) offers training programs tailored to both local and international participants, and is one of the strong supporters of the IACA – which will be conducting one of the seven modules of its Masters in Anti-Corruption Studies Programme in Kuala Lumpur.