MCAC Bill – “magic formula” to transform Malaysia into a model nation in anti-corruption?

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced at the National Integrity Convention in Kuching last Friday that the Cabinet had on the same day approved the Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC) Bill, which would replace the Anti-Corruption Act and will be “the foundation for the formation of an anti-corruption commission that is effective and subject to independent monitoring through a comprehensive check-and-balance system”.

Abdullah said the MCAC bill will be tabled for first reading in Parliament “as soon as possible”.
However, it would appear that the Prime Minister’s concept of “as soon as possible” is very different from that of the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz who will be responsible for piloting the bill through Parliament.

This is because Nazri was reported in the press the next day as saying that the MCAC Bill would be tabled for first first reading in Parliament by December 11, which is one full month away!

I call on Nazri to speed up and table the MCAC Bill for first reading in Parliament without further delay, possibly this week itself, to allow for fullest public feedback and debate before a parliamentary vote on what has been bruited as Abdullah’s legacy as the fifth Prime Minister of Malaysia.

However, there is greater skepticism than belief among Malaysians that the MCAC would be the “magic formula” to transform Malaysia from a country in an unchecked plunge in annual international corruption rankings, whether Transparency International (TI) or the Political and Economic Risks Consultancy (PERC) into a country in the forefront of model nations in integrity and anti-corruption.

Can Abdullah achieve in the next five months what he had failed in the past five years – to declare an all-out war on corruption in Malaysians? It will be very difficult to find takers for this belief especially when Abdullah won’t be around when the legislation is enforced!

Recent developments in the past eight months since the March 8 political tsunami have only cast doubt that the MCAC will not end up as a toothless tiger like the Suhakam, which was established with the statutory duties to protect and promote human rights but has proved to be nothing more than a “window-dressing”!

Reasons for the great skepticism that the MCAC would be able to make any difference in combating the worsening corruption in the country include the following:

· Terminal denial complex by all in authority at the failure of Abdullah’s five-year National Integrity Plan to reduce corruption and improve Malaysia’s ranking in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index to at least No. 30 by 2008 – as instead we have plunged further down to No. 47, and still heading south!

· The MCAC Bill is driven by the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) which has proven to be totally impotent in fighting the “sharks” in contrast to the “ikan yu” in corruption – with a likely similar outcome of a more glorified MCAC as compared to ACA but with little change in real power equation to be able to take action against the corrupted high-and-mighty in power without “green-light” from the sitting Prime Minister.

· This is why there is the scandal of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) investigating the case of RM100 million money-laundering involving a Sabah politician but which the ACA has studiously avoided investigating, although a police report had been lodged on the same matter!

· The total impotence of ACA despite a thousand complaints of money politics in Umno party electioneering, with Umno disciplinary board chairman Tengku Ahmad Rithauddeen openly conceding that “Money politics in Umno has now become too deeply rooted for the party to completely deal with it” which “seems to be getting worse with every party election”.

· The singular lack of commitment on the part of the Prime Minister-designate Datuk Seri Najib Razak to wipe out corruption and what is worse, with him hounded and haunted by serious allegations concerning integrity which he is not prepared to completely dispel through a Royal Commission of Inquiry.

In view of these widespread reservations about whether there is real political commitment and will to fight corruption, it is all the more imperative that the MCAC Bill should be made public to allow for the fullest public discussion and consultation now before it is debated in Parliament next month.

  1. #1 by taiking on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 10:59 am

    Its all show. See we have Acts for this and for that. What for? Really important ones are not there. Obsolete and repressive ones are there and actively used. The rest not really enforced. They become just mere appendages. If not for show then they are for what? And more needless ones being introduced. Lets get it right dear umno government. We need the Act to check on the police. We need some kind of clear and transparent policy on appointment and promotion of judges, on award of government projects, on government spending. We dont need the ISA, OSA, Printing & Publication Act, Universities Act and the now proposed DNA thingy.

  2. #2 by madmix on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 11:04 am

    Hong Kong ICAC very successful. So copy name CAC, better than ACA.

  3. #3 by k1980 on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 11:16 am

    Malaysian Commission on Anti-Corruption (MCAC) will still take its orders and obey the PM, so it is not independent. Back to square one

  4. #4 by taiking on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 12:38 pm

    k1980 is absolutely right.

    Even if the Act expressly provides that the anti corruption body is to be totally independant and answerable only to parliament, when it comes down to reality, pm and cabinet will still be its directing minds.

    Useless effort it will be in having the mcac whatever.

  5. #5 by frankyapp on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 1:45 pm

    Great news MCAC bill and magic formula to transform Malaysia into a model nation of anti-corruption by AAB. It’s sounds like hot shit chicken. What say,you guys ? Remember Islam Hardari( sorry if I got the spelling wrong) four years ago ?. What has happened ? Can AAB’s SIL enlighten us ?

  6. #6 by OrangRojak on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 2:15 pm

    I think they’ve made a basic English mistake and confused “Bill” with “Invoice”.

    They could save everybody a lot of money and make a real commitment to the fight against corruption by ungagging the press.

  7. #7 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 3:29 pm

    MCAC Bill – looks set to be a case of old wine in new bottle!

  8. #8 by gofortruth on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 3:35 pm

    What good can come out of MCAC or whatever name to choose if all we get is an UMNO “YES man” sitting on its chair? Remember the Election Commission, Lingam Commission etc etc…

    The all important issue is who gets to nominate the candidate to sit on the chair if MCAC is to take on good meaning!

  9. #9 by riversandlakes on Tuesday, 11 November 2008 - 9:32 pm

    Let’s repeat.

    AAB had 5 years to produce the IPCMC, ICAC, etc. Now he claims to be able to do that as a lame-duck PM?

    When the pigs fly!

  10. #10 by Godfather on Wednesday, 12 November 2008 - 11:22 am

    Who’s trying to sell snake oil to the rakyat ?

  11. #11 by One4All4One on Thursday, 13 November 2008 - 9:00 pm

    When a nation, or for that matter just any organisation, needs Acts after Acts or Regulations after Regulations to put the house in order, something is very wrong with that nation or organisation.

    It shows that there are just too many irregularities or misdeeds going on that warrant more checks and balances to be done to spring-clean the house. There is just too much dirt and webs (of unacceptable and corrupted deals ) to be ridden of. Just too many bad apples to be weeded out.

    Just plain logic :

    If a person is upright and downright honest, incorruptible, reliable, credible, accountable, industrious, capable and acceptable to everyone who are in touch with him, do you think there is any need to question his every move?

    Irregularities and misdeeds if allowed to happen would only put the house in danger of collapse. And the innocent and hapless would invariably be the victims.

    The nation would also fall victim and the loss and consequences would be far-reaching and unfathomable in many ways.

    The only way to change for the better is for individuals to be accountable and sincere in all their intentions.

    Unless and until the nation rids itself of hypocrites and mediocrity and honestly puts only reliable and capable people to run the nation’s machineries, it would be the shadow that the nation is chasing after. It only remains a far-fetched dream that we are going after, let alone envisioning the true democracy and meritocracy (even though not 100% ) that’s the USA. We can only be envious and look from the sideline.

    The nation’s administration does not project sufficient honesty and sincerity in its desire to make the nation one which is fair and equitable. Too many incidents negate the stated policies and statements. The people cannot be blamed for being disillusioned, sickened and disgusted.

    Too many bad hats ( with connection ) got away scot-free after committing corrupt or unacceptable acts, which if committed by any other persons from across the divide would be dealt with differently and severely. How can the righteous and upright accept such injustice and contradictory practices?

    The people entrusted to watch over crimes and offenses must be of those who are truly incorruptible and not affected by any interest groups. They must be truly independent, non-partisan and
    not compromised in any manner.

    There is no point in coming up with legislations which would not be honoured or kept. There is no point in debating and passing Bills after Bills if what followed are merely rhetorics and whitewashing.

    It would only succeed in making the nation a circus and the butt of jokes good for the coffee shops and mamak stalls, and perhaps the blogs. It would make a mockery of what the nation aspires so hard to achieve and the nation would go down in history known for its scandals and unfulfilled visions.

    Such is the importance and might of integrity, accountability, transparency, sincerity, law and order, justice and an incorruptible and just administration.

  12. #12 by ktteokt on Sunday, 16 November 2008 - 10:14 am

    How to eliminate corruption in Malaysia when the anti-corruption officials themselve are CORRUPT???

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