Gomez: MACC should be independent, not under politicians’ control

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The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be truly independent and free from politicians’ control, including the prime minister, Edmund Terence Gomez said.

Gomez, who quit last week as a member of MACC’s oversight panel over an allegation involving the anti-graft agency’s chief commissioner Azam Baki, claimed politicians in power are taking advantage of the situation, as the agency comes under the purview of the prime minister.

“There have been serious allegations in this country involving politicians in power.

“Politicians cannot be having oversight over MACC – not even the prime minister, or the executive arm of government.


“Politicians in power do not want to relinquish power over this independent institution to investigate corruption.

“Why relinquish power over this institution when it can control investigations?” Gomez told The Malaysian Insight in an exclusive interview.

Gomez had last week resigned as a member of one of five MACC oversight panels – the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel.

His resignation is a protest against MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Abu Zahar Ujang and Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel chairman Borhan Dolah’s lack of action on allegations that Azam had owned corporate shares in a company in 2015 and 2016, and not declared them.

Gomez had accused both chairmen of covering up for Azam.

Referring to Malaysia’s biggest financial scandals of all time – 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) – Gomez said the incident is enough to show that MACC should not be placed under the government or the prime minister’s purview.

He said the agency’s top brass and the members of panels and advisory boards are appointed by the prime minister, which he branded “problematic”.

“Who appoints the chief commissioner? Who appoints the members of the advisory panel?

“Is there scrutiny of the chief commissioner before he is given his appointment? Is there public scrutiny of the advisory panel before the members are appointed? Because they must be truly independent and be allowed to do their job without fear.

“They are responsible for investigating corruption even among the highest-ranked government officials and politicians in power.

“After all, the recent and latest 1MDB allegation involved a sitting prime minister (then).

“What does that indicate? The sitting prime minister also had oversight of MACC. Surely there’s a problem here that we have to look into,” he said.

Gomez suggested the anti-grant agency should be placed under Parliament’s purview, and not under the Prime Minister’s Department.

The professor of political economy at Universiti Malaya said talks of making MACC an independent body have been ongoing for a long time, but nothing materialised.

He claimed there is no political will to bring about the changes.

“It is Parliament, not the executive arm of government, that should have oversight.

“I would say, let us have a public debate on these suggestions. Let’s have an independent committee to look into this.

“(Also) this matter should be debated in Parliament,” he said. – TMI