Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bar welcomes panel to study high profile cases before going to A-G

BY V. ANBALAGAN, ASSISTANT NEWS EDITOR

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) proposes a separate panel to study investigation papers involving high-profile cases before they are submitted to the attorney-general. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 10, 2015.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) proposes a separate panel to study investigation papers involving high-profile cases before they are submitted to the attorney-general. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 10, 2015.
The Malaysian Bar has lent support to a proposal by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Special Committee for an independent panel to study investigation papers involving high-profile cases before they are submitted to the attorney-general (A-G).
"The proposal by the Special Committee are a step in the right direction and they deserve undivided support," its president Steven Thiru said in a statement to The Malaysian Insider.
The Bar also repeated its support for the office of the A-G to be separated from the office of public prosecutor.
The proposal for an independent panel to vet investigation papers before they go to the A-G is among several suggestions by the MACC committee in its 2014 corruption report to Putrajaya and Parliament early this month.
The committee is one of five independent MACC oversight panels.
The current practice is for agencies like Bank Negara Malaysia, the police and the MACC to submit investigation papers to the A-G, who has the sole discretion whether to prosecute offenders.
In October, newly appointed A-G Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali said 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) was cleared of making inaccurate declarations related to overseas investments, despite an appeal by the central bank to reconsider his decision.
Apandi's stand that Bank Negara did not seek enough information from the firm to show that it had broken the law was widely criticised by the opposition and civil society.
MACC is currently investigating a former 1MDB subsidiary, SRC International Sdn Bhd, as well as the RM2.6 billion deposited in the personal bank accounts of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
In its report, the anti-graft agency's special committee expressed disappointment that the recommendations it submitted to the government three years ago to amend the MACC Act had yet to be tabled in Parliament.
The recommendations included proposals to make it an offence for any officer of a public body to use his office or position for “gratification”, and the appointment of MACC chief commissioner under the Federal Constitution.
Thiru (pic) said since last year, the Malaysian Bar had been working with civil society groups on proposals to reform MACC to become an independent anti-corruption agency. 
"This will enable it to comprehensively address and deal with the scourge of corruption," he said.
He said a joint memorandum was submitted to MACC and to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan, last month.
One of the proposals is to separate the office of the A-G from the office of public prosecutor, with the former to be solely the legal advisor to the government, and the latter to focus on prosecution of criminal matters, to be accountable and answerable for the public interest in all prosecutions.
"These proposals are necessary, as the fight against corruption must be addressed holistically in order to make genuine progress towards a corruption-free Malaysia," Thiru added. – December 10, 2015.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/bar-welcomes-panel-on-high-profile-cases-before-going-to-a-g#sthash.ABWqb14p.dpuf

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