KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — A planned new government department to spearhead integrity efforts is not meant to control the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) as the latter will retain its independence, a minister has said.
Datuk Paul Low, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, stressed that the planned National Integrity and Good Governance Department (JITN) is not to “supervise” the anti-corruption body.
“JITN is not set up to control MACC,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted today.
He said JITN will instead be focusing on policy matters, prevention and transformation of the civil service in terms of integrity, good governance and human rights compliance.
“Because the emphasis on transformation and preventive side is done by JITN, so in a sense it does relieve enforcement agencies to concentrate on their enforcement side.
“So there’s nothing that we say that we are to supervise them, they are independent and they are established under their Act,” he said.
Low said one of JITN’s functions will be to help “coordinate” between different government agencies, stressing however that enforcement agencies will be “left alone” and that his new department will not be “interfering in their operations”.
“They continue as usual,” he said, noting that JITN will instead ensure that bodies like MACC retain their independence.
“Basically JITN is just to help all the agencies, to help MACC, if there is a need. Sometimes JITN can set the policy, JITN is part of the government, can set policy; agency not necessarily can set policy,” he explained.
“But be very clear, we are not controlling enforcement agencies, they are incorporated under their Act and they are completely independent from JITN,” he reiterated.
Low was responding to a report today by news portal Malaysiakini, where MACC chief Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad was reported criticising the plans to set up JITN.
Dzulkifli reportedly said MACC was independent, questioning if JITN was formed with the intention to “monitor” the anti-graft commission and “control” how they carry out investigations.
Yesterday, Low said in a press statement that the Cabinet had this July 28 decided to establish JITN in line with the Government Transformation Programme, adding that the new department will among other things drive policy changes and strengthen government processes.
Low had in his statement also said that efforts to transform the civil service will require enforcement agencies such as the MACC to “strengthen and focus on their core function, to ensure abuses in corruption are investigated thoroughly and also to ensure effective charges are made leading to successful prosecution”.
Low also said the Public Service Department is currently finalising the setting up of JITN and in consultation with all agencies to ensure there will not be duplication in function and to optimise use of resources and manpower.