The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) for the most part has been praised for its recent aggresiveness in investigating high-profile corruption cases.
In its most recent arrest, a ministry secretary-general was nabbed for alleged abuse of power and corruption.
Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz lauded the arrest, telling Malaysia Outlook that when a person was living beyond their means, that in itself was a sign for the MACC to step in and begin investigations.
Commenting on the notion that the commission was merely going after the small fishes, Mohamed Nazri said there was no such thing as small fishes.
“The public is naive, they are very simplistic in their conclusions,” he opined, referring to how some quarters would not put to rest the RM2.6 billion donation issue whenever the MACC arrested a government official for alleged corruption.
Former Umno minister Saifuddin Abdullah said that MACC should be commended every time the agency do a good job in fighting corruption, especially when it involved those in high office.
“This is because there is public perception that MACC is only going after the small fishes,” he said.
When asked on why corruption was still rampant, Saifuddin opined that it was because the corrupt civil servants may be thinking that if their bosses were doing it, then why not them.
“And perhaps also because in the past they somehow can get away with it,” he said.
On what was lacking in the current policies that made corruption almost impossible to eradicate, Saifuddin said, “We lack the political will to fully implement technologies like e-procurement and e-bidding which can minimise human involvement in the transactions.”
This in turn, he said, would minimise the possibility of corruption occurring and the spread of money politics in the world of local politics.
Saifuddin said he had no issue with the focus being placed on corruption among civil servants, but claimed that the more problematic and the source of the problem was the political sector.
As for political analyst Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya, he said the efforts by MACC now reflects a continued commitment by the commission’s leadership.
“However MACC must avoid from the perception that these arrests are due to the coming general election. What the people want to see is if these arrests will be prosecuted in court,” Awang Azman told Malaysia Outlook.
With regards to the focus on civil servants, Azman Awang highlighted how those who gave bribes tend to be overlooked.
“MACC must focus on those who give bribes and there must be severe action in order to serve as a lesson for others.
“Without those who give bribes, there will be no corruption,” he said, noting that pointing fingers to those who take bribes was insufficient.
Speaking on the perception that MACC was focusing on the ‘small fishes’, Awang Azman said the prosecution process was a complex one, explaining that a mere technical issue could compromise a case.
“The issue of small or big fishes will always come up whenever there is an arrest or charge.
“However this perception must be backed by solid examples and concrete evidence because sometimes it can be just a mere perception or speculation.
“This is because the law is based on facts and strong evidence,” he added.
For Parti Cinta Malaysia (PCM) vice president Huan Cheng Guan, he found the current MACC team under its new leadership to be more effective.
“As responsible citizens, we will provide whatever information to the MACC regarding corruption.
“I also hope there will be more proactive action taken on the reports lodged in Penang,” he added.