MACC alarmed as young become majority of corruption suspects

MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil delivers his keynote address during the IDEAS forum titled 'Supporting the MACC in fighting corruption in Malaysia' in Kuala Lumpur January 26, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil delivers his keynote address during the IDEAS forum titled 'Supporting the MACC in fighting corruption in Malaysia' in Kuala Lumpur January 26, 2017. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — Over half of those arrested for corruption in the past three years are from the younger age group of below 40, a concerned Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said today.

MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil also noted that the number of people arrested by his agency has risen in recent years, reaching a high of 932 arrests last year.

“However, just to share my concern with you, 54 per cent or 1,267 individuals of the 2,329 individuals arrested since the last three years from 2014-2016 are individuals aged below 40.

“This is an alarming phenomena since this group of people are supposed to be nationbuilders that will shape the future of Malaysia,” he said in his keynote speech at a forum today.

Calling 2016 a successful year for MACC’s operations arm with 982 investigation papers opened and 258 charged, he said the number of those arrested by MACC in 2013 was only 509, while 552 and 841 individuals were nabbed in 2014 and 2015.

When met at the sidelines of the forum, Shamshun Baharin said the MACC will focus on engaging with the youth this year.

“Because the youth, we see now, especially the Gen Y, they always want to take the easy way, the shortcut,” he said when explaining the high number of youths arrested for corruption cases.

He said that the MACC’s community education division had sought to increase awareness among young children and the youth through programmes like the Wira Anti-Rasuah Campaign and also corruption prevention secretariats.

He said 20 of such secretariats have been set up in higher learning institutions, while 27 and 47 have been established in teachers’ training institutes and institutes under MARA as of 2016, with plans to gradually extend it to private higher learning institutes as well.

“But we cannot do one shot because of strength and budget,” he said of the plans to set up the secretariats in private institutes.

He was speaking at think-tank Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs’ (Ideas) forum titled “Supporting the MACC in fighting corruption in Malaysia”.

In his speech, he assured whistleblowers that they will be protected under the Whistleblower Protection Act if they voluntarily approach the MACC with information on corruption offences, but reminded the public that a successful fight against corruption would ultimately depend on their “integrity”.

“On the other hand, the classic formula for corruption, corruption occurs when the element of greed and opportunity co-exist.

“The MACC and the government can undertake all relevant and possible measures in eliminating the opportunity for corruption, but the element of greed, however, is something beyond our control,” he said.

“Enforcement is always the last resort and fighting corruption is not an exclusive task of any particular person or entity, but it is in fact everyone’s responsibility,” he added.