KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — Being greedy and wanting to live a lifestyle beyond what they can afford have been identified as being among the primary causes of corruption among public officers, a minister has said.
Datuk Takiyuddin Hassan, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Parliament and laws, said that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had conducted studies on acts of corruption among public servants and identified the reasons for their behaviour.
“Among the main causes that cause corruption to happen among public servants are their tendencies to have a lifestyle beyond their means, greed, the existence of room and opportunity to commit acts of corruption and low levels of integrity among the officers involved,” he said in a written parliamentary reply yesterday.
Takiyuddin went on to highlight the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023, as well as one of its initiatives — Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP) — which is intended to help create a corruption-free country.
“All ministries, federal departments and state departments have been ordered to develop their respective Organisational Anti-Corruption Plan (OACP) to identify the causes of corruption,” he said, adding that each agency has different criteria that contribute to the act of corruption itself.
“This plan will be able to be a complete reference to all within the organisation from the top management to the lowest levels for each individual to be able to play their role in implementing an action plan to create a corruption-free organisation that has integrity,” he said.
Takiyuddin was responding to Parti Amanah Negara’s Pulai MP Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub’s question that asked the prime minister to state the cause of corruption cases involving public servants which was seen as reaching a critical stage now.
According to the MACC’s website, the OACP is a key anti-corruption document at the organisational level, with the NACP 2019-2023 requiring the public sector, statutory bodies, state-owned enterprises, companies limited by guarantee and the private sector regulated by regulatory bodies to develop the OACP.
The NACP 2019-2023, launched on January 29, 2019 by the then Pakatan Harapan government, is a five-year framework with six strategies covering 115 initiatives to eradicate corruption in Malaysia.
Fighting leakages in government procurement
Separately, Takiyuddin responded to PKR’s Johor Baru MP Akmal Nasir’s question, which had asked the prime minister to state the commitment made by the government to fight corruption involving leakages in government procurement that were said to be on the rise.
In a separate written parliamentary reply, Takiyuddin said the MACC is strengthening enforcement in the monitoring of large-scale procurements to help reduce leakages in government procurement.
Takiyuddin also highlighted that the NACP 2019-2023 contains 16 initiatives to be implemented by government units to improve the procedures for public procurement in order to prevent leakages in government funds.
These initiatives include strengthening the existing Integrity Pact to be in line with international standards, introducing a comprehensive procurement policy in relation to the declaration of conflict of interest during the procurement process, and enhancing the procurement system based on technology (e-perolehan) to reduce human intervention, Takiyuddin said.
“Besides that, the government is committed in efforts to fight corruption, improve integrity and implement good governance,” he said.
He went on to cite the implementation of a new provision that introduced corporate liability for corrupt acts as proof of such government commitment, noting that Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act which relates to corporate liability had come into force since June 1, 2020.
“This provision requires commercial organisations to create a business environment that is clean from corrupt activities, where each organisation has to have adequate procedures. These adequate procedures are to stop employees or the associates of the commercial organisation from committing corruption offences related to the business activities,” he said.
According to the MACC website, Section 17A means that commercial organisations can also be liable and punished for corruption by their employees or associates, with guilt also depending on whether the commercial organisation’s top management or representatives were aware of the corruption by its employee or its associates.
The MACC website states that a commercial organisation can be penalised under Section 17A(2) with a fine of not less than 10 times the value of the bribe or RM1 million, whichever is higher, or a maximum 20-year jail term or both, noting however that commercial organisations can put up a defence if they can show that they have implemented adequate procedures to prevent corruption in their operation or business activities.