Speech (2) by Lim Kit Siang when proposing amendments to Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Bill during committee stage in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday, 16th December 2008: 

A Parliamentary Committee on Corruption to establish important principle of parliamentary oversight of MACC indispensable if the failure Abdullah’s five-year National Integrity Plan is to be avoided  

Second Amendment to MACC Bill –

Fasal 14:-

Menggantikan “Jawatankuasa Khas Mengenai Rasuah” dengan “Jawatankuasa Parlimen Mengenai Rasuah” setiap kali perkataan-perkataan berkenaan muncul di dalam Rang Undang-undang

[Replace “Special Committee on Corruption” with “Parliamentary Committee on Corruption” where it appears in the Bill.]

Pindaan Fasal 14(2)

MEMOTONG dan DIGANTIKAN dengan “Jawatankuasa Parlimen hendaklah terdiri daripada tujuh anggota yang hendaklah dilantik oleh Dewan-dewan Perwakilan yang menggambarkan perwakilan di Parlimen dan diketuai oleh seorang Ahli Parlimen Pembangkang, dan tiada seorang daripada mereka merupakan anggota pentadbiran

[Clause 14(2) - DELETE and SUBSTITUTE: “The Parliamentary Committee shall consist of seven members to be appointed by the House of Representatives reflecting the representation in the House and headed by an Opposition Member of Parliament, none of whom shall be a member of the administration.]

Pindaan Fasal-fasal 14(3) dan 14(4)

Memotong Fasal 14(3) dan 14(4)

[Delete Clauses 14(3) and (4)]

Pindaan Fasal 14(5)

Penomboran semula Fasal 14(5) sebagai Fasal 14(3) yang dipindakan menjadi “Jawatankuasa Parlimen hendaklah, tidak lambat daripada mesyuarat Parlimen pertama pada tahun berikutnya, mengemukakan laporan tahunannya kepada Parlimen mengenai semua aktivitinya sepanjang tahun yang berkaitan dengan laporan berkenaan.”

[Re-number Clause 14(5) as Clause 14(3) which should be amended to read: “The Parliamentary Committee shall, not later than the first meeting of Parliament of the following year, submit its annual report to Parliament of all its activities during the year to which the report relates.”]

Before his highly-principled resignation as the de facto Law Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in September over the gross abuse of government powers which saw the arbitrary and frivolous detention of DAP MP for Seputeh and Selangor Senior Exco Teresa Kok, Sin Chew senior reporter Tan Hoon Ching and blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim had spoken publicly of the proposed legislation for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

He said that a constitutional amendment would be needed as well as a new MACC Act to replace the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

He spoke about the need to set up a Special Parliamentary Committee on the Prevention of Corruption and an Anti-Corruption Advisory Board, as well as the propoposed Operations Review Panel and the Corruption Prevention and Consultancy Panel, the former two under the new legislation while the other two could be done administratively.

Under the MACC Bill before the House, the Special Parliamentary Committee on the Prevention of Corruption has disappeared and instead we have in Clause 14 a “Special Committee on Corruption” which clearly is not a Parliamentary Committee in the true sense of the term which establishes the principle of MACC responsibility to Parliament but a mere Special Committee on Corruption comprising MPs but which is finally responsible to the Prime Minister rather than to Parliament.

As a result, this Special Committee on Corruption comprising MPs is not a creature of Parliament but a creature of the Prime Minister, making a mockery of the claim that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission is to enjoy true independence from the Executive coming under parliamentary responsibility.

The other four “check-and-balance” committees, whether the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board; Special Operations Review Panel; Corruption Prevention and Consultative Council; and a Complaints Committee are all beholden to the Prime Minister or the Executive, making nonsense of the principle of parliamentary responsibility of the MACC.

In fact, the MACC Bill is so watered down that the principles of its independence from the Prime Minister’s control and accountability/responsibility to Parliament can be quite tenuous and even fictitious.

The original intention to amend the Constitution to give the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission a constitutional status has been abandoned while there is no clear-cut provision to establish its responsibility and accountability to Parliament.

The appointment provision is quite ludicrous – the seven members to be appointed by the Yang di Pertuan Agong, which means on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Clause 14 (3) provides that seven MPs shall be nominated by the Leader of the House of Representatives, who again is the Prime Minister, i.e. the Leader of the House (who is the Prime Minister) advising the Prime Minister to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the appointments.

As the Special Committee on Corruption is to comprise MPs, why is the Prime Minister shy in calling it the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption?

Is this just to give the impression of some form of “parliamentary” scrutiny without actually permitting robust and proper parliamentary stewardship?

If such a Parliamentary Committee on Corruption is to be meaningful, its composition must reflect the parliamentary representation of the different political parties in the House and its membership decided by MPs themselves and not by the Executive. Furthermore, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Corruption should be an Opposition MP.

* Lim Kit Siang,  DAP Parliamentary leader & MP for Ipoh Timor