MACC needs to rebuild its image

Sin Chew Daily

MACC has recently arrested three of its men to probe the alleged abuse of power and malpractice while handling the case involving a former government department chief.

This incident has since drawn tremendous attention among Malaysians and has dealt a severe blow on the MACC’s public image and credibility.

According to blogger Edisi Siasat, after the criminal breach of trust case of former Malaysian External Intelligence Organization (MEIO) director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid was discharged, she claimed back the assets seized from her by MACC, but discovered that some of the cash had been replaced with counterfeit notes.

MACC is an enforcement agency which should by right be a very safe place, but the stolen cash replaced with counterfeit currency involves a sum as high as US$6 million (approximately RM25.14 million). So what’s going on there actually?

The case is still being investigated, and the authorities must conduct the investigation in total transparency and provide a fair answer to the public.

One big question that lies before us is: why did the MACC arrest the alleged officer instead of letting the police investigate the case?

This is a case involving theft, not corruption, and should therefore be probed by the police. The detention of its own officers will invariably arouse suspicion and questions over the MACC’s integrity.

Although the minister in the PM’s department in charge of parliament and law Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has said the MACC would ensure transparent and professional handling of this case and will not shelter any erring officer, we cannot deny that public perception is also very important.

The authorities need to show to the people that they will handle the case in complete transparency and professionalism. Letting the police take over is definitely the most appropriate way of doing things.

There is yet another question: it is ever an easier task to remove such a huge amount of cash and replace it with counterfeit notes from the MACC’s safe deposit? How did the perpetrators manage to shun the security surveillance?

According to a former MACC officer, important evidences are normally kept in a foolproof security safe, and as such the theft might imply loopholes in the MACC’s security system.

This incident has severely dented the image of the agency. It is now time for it to display total transparency and a sense of responsibility to avert further damage to its reputation.

Although similar acts of malpractice have occurred in other government institutions such as the immigration department and the national registration department, the latest case is particularly serious as it entails the anti-corruption commission!

MACC has always been perceived as ineffective in stemming corruption as it only rounds up the small fry and spares the big sharks. The latest incident is poised to further bruise the agency’s already bad repute and credibility.

It is easy to talk big about eradicating corruption, but when it comes to executing the policies in creating a clean and just society, a much more powerful will and determination are warranted.

For years we have been talking so much about corruption but have been powerless in coming up with effective solutions to address this problem. The government used to have an impressive anti-corruption blueprint but are the proposals ever put to effective implementation in the first place?

The MACC needs to rebuild its public image and credibility and prove its worth in wiping out corruption. At the same time, it also needs to review its internal supervisory and checking mechanisms to ensure that similar misconducts involving its own people will not happen again.

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