MACC advisors want legal muscle to compel graft suspects to declare assets

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) advisory board today urged Putrajaya to make it compulsory for corruption suspects in Malaysia to declare their assets to clamp down on graft in the country.

The board said the MACC currently has no legal power to compel those whose wealth exceed their means and are suspected of corruption to declare their assets.

“It should be the responsibility of officers or civil servants that have lifestyles that clearly do not match their income source to explain and declare their wealth,” the board said in a statement today after its second meeting.

“Therefore, Section 36 of the MACC Act 2009 has to be amended to ensure these individuals declare their assets. At this time, there is no such provision,” the statement added.

The MACC panel also ticked off a list of long-pending reforms that Putrajaya has yet to roll out, including provisions for both corporate liability and misconduct by civil servants.

“The government is urged to immediately draft these two provisions in the shortest time because these suggestions have been long brought to the Federal Government’s attention, but there has been no follow-up action,” it said.

The board said Section 23 of the MACC Act must also be amended to bar civil servants from manipulating legal loopholes, especially in dishing out of tenders, contracts, government projects and land ownership.

In pushing for yet another legal reform, the board asked federal lawmakers to support constitutional amendments on the service of the MACC chief commissioner and the setting up of an independent service commission for MACC staff.

It also urged those with evidence of any corrupt activities to pass it on to MACC, adding that whistleblowers and witnesses are protected under the Witness Protection Act 2009 and the Whistleblower Protection Act 2010.

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