50 NGOs representing a million members submit a petition against the setting up of the proposed JITN, which they say would impede the MACC from free and fair investigations, especially into corrupt government officials.
A petition signed by 50 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) across various sectors was submitted to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to come against the establishment of the proposed National Integrity and Good Governance Department (JITN).
MACC head of staff Datuk Norazlan Mohd Razali received the petition from the 10 NGO representatives, headed by Malaysia Corruption Watch president Jais Abdul Karim.
The anti-JITN group said the proposed department was a threat to the MACC’s independence and would impede it from free and fair investigations, especially into corrupt government officials.
The petition also protested against politicians who insulted MACC’s work in fighting graft.
It voiced the NGOs commitment to defend MACC’s autonomy and called for the government to reinforce the commission.
“We object to any political agenda that would cloud MACC investigations,” Jais said at a press conference, adding that there is a real concern that JITN will control MACC.
According to Pertubuhan Jaringan Rakyat Malaysia president Ng Lum Yong, JITN is unnecessary as the two agencies have overlapping responsibilities.
“I came to protest because MACC is doing a good job combating corruption and needs to continue investigating without fear,” Ng said.
“Based on a survey of 90,000 people, Malaysians are starting to put their trust back in the MACC and other government agencies.
“If another agency is established unnecessarily, it will backfire and will take away the people’s trust in MACC and the Government,” Jaringan Melayu Malaysia president Datuk Azwanddin Hamzah said.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low had said that the Cabinet had given the go-ahead for the setting up of JITN to serve as a coordinating body to lead transformational changes in the public and private sectors.
He had said that the department would be focusing on good governance, integrity and human rights.
MACC has also voiced its objections over the new agency with chief commissioner Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad reportedly saying that the budget allocation for the department can be better utilised by improving existing agencies and the welfare of its staff.