Two anti-graft groups have called for an update on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigations into alleged cases involving MPs Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Dr Xavier Jayakumar.
Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) said it was important for the agency to update the public on the developments in these cases, since MACC previously confirmed it was investigating Xavier, while Tajuddin had even been detained.
TI-M president Muhammad Mohan told FMT that MACC should avoid any negative public perception that the MPs’ cases could be swept under the rug if they supported the government.
“This is important for MACC to improve its image with the public. In Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer 2020, MACC’s approval rating among the Malaysian public was 74%.
“This can be improved if MACC regularly engages with the public and acts without fear or favour. However, remaining silent and not updating will lead to a trust deficit among the public on its independence,” he said.
Another anti-corruption group, the Center to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4), said MACC must continue striving to operate independently, especially with accountability hitting rock bottom.
C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel said MACC should also fight to ward off political interference, pointing out that the 1MDB scandal saw the direct interference of the executive in the agency.“It must at the very least provide updated information on the cases of Xavier, Tajuddin and several others, and not wait to act once they lose power,” she told FMT.
In February, MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki confirmed that Xavier was being investigated following the arrest of his close associate, MA Tinagaran, a week before. The Kuala Langat MP quit PKR and announced his support for the government on March 13.
There has been no news of his case since.
Tajuddin was arrested by MACC on May 28 over alleged abuse of power. He was released on bail the same day.
Mohan also backed calls for a royal commission of inquiry on reforming the Attorney-General’s Chambers, mooted by former law minister Azalina Othman Said.
He said the key necessary reform was to separate the attorney-general’s role as the government’s legal adviser from its roles as the public prosecutor, to do away with any conflict of interest.
“The government’s announcement on separating this role is welcomed and should be supported by both sides of the political divide.
“But members of the RCI should be independent and respected figures. They can be from the Bar Council or comprise retired members of the judiciary.
“If the credibility of the members of the RCI is questionable, then the outcome of the RCI will not be accepted by the public,” he said. – FMT