Surprising that MACC is surprised that it has a public perception problem about its independence and professionalism

Today the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) celebrates the 53rd anniversary of its establishment and one of its greatest challenges remains the public confidence problem that it is not independent and unable to discharge its duties professionally without “outside” interference.

What is surprising is that the MACC is surprised that it has a public perception problem about its independence and professionalism, as evidenced by the comments of its Chief Commissioner, Azam Baki.

Evidence of public perception and lack of public confidence that MACC has independence and professionalism are quite galore, but the following ten instances will suffice for clarification by Azam:

  1. The absence of the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin himself to grace the 53rd anniversary celebration of MACC.
  2. The toppling of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan Government committed to combat corruption and kleptocracy by a backdoor Perikatan Nasional government without these commitments, and even worse, depending on a political party whose top leadership are vying with each other on the number and size of corruption charges in the courts and on the other hand, by another party which believes that it is a religious duty to vote for corrupt leaders provided they are from one’s own faith.
  3. The biggest Cabinet in history with the largest number of Ministers and Deputy Ministers and the appointment of politicians to GLCs, GLICS and state-sponsored agencies – setting the country on the trajectory of a kleptocracy and kakistocracy.
  4. A Cabinet conflicted by the issues of corruption and kleptocracy – with an MACC trying to co-exist with government leaders who have no commitment to public integrity, to the extent that they do not believe in the existence of a 1MDB scandal, regarded worldwide as one of the biggest financial scandal in the world. Who will swallow who?
  5. How can Malaysia become corruption free or have a zero tolerance for corruption when the fragile “backdoor” government can be held to ransom by six MPs who are facing serious corruption charges in the courts?
  6. Dismal record to fight corruption and money politics in the recently-held Sabah state general election, especially no action on the report by Bersih against the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for using corrupt practices in the Sabah election campaign when he (the PM) presented mock cheques for more than RM60 million in Beaufort, Sabah.
  7. Inability to resolve the 11-year-old murder of Teoh Beng Hock by MACC officers at the Selangor MACC premises.
  8. Failure to prosecute anyone for the five-year RM70 million MARA corruption scandal in Australia.
  9. Malaysia joining the international ranks of a “high-risk money laundering destination”.
  10. What would Azam expect of Transparency International (TI) Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 which would be released next January? Would there be an improvement on the TI CPI 2019, which ranked Malaysia No. 51, with a score of 53, registering a single-year improvement six points for the TI CPI score and 10 placings in TI CPI ranking? Or will there be a “significant decline” if the score is lower than three points?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri