Monday, July 17, 2017

Malaysian Bar wants MACC to be reformed

Noel Achariam
Malaysian Bar wants MACC to be reformed
Bar Council president George Varughese calls on the government to reform the MACC into two bodies, an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission (IACC) which provides oversight, and Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA), the enforcement arm. – The Malaysian Insight pic, July 16, 2017.
THE Malaysian Bar is calling on Putrajaya to amend the Federal Constitution to set up an "Independent Anti-Corruption Commission".

Bar Council president George Varughese said that the IACC should comprise a group of commissioners that will provide oversight to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which will be renamed the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

"We have proposed this to the government two years ago, however we have yet to receive any feedback from them. If they want to discuss the memorandum further then we can do that," he said at the 8th anniversary memorial of Teoh Beng Hock and a forum on reforming MACC.

The public forum was held at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall.

Varughese said the aim of reforming MACC is to strengthen it as a corruption-combating institution.

He said that the IACC will operate as constitutional oversight and supervisory body that will oversee the operations and the ACA will be the enforcement arm of the IACC.

"We suggested that at least 40% of the commissioners in the IACC be made of members from civil societies who have relevant experience in the fight against corruption.

"The parliamentary select committee (PAC) on corruption will propose the names of the commissioners and it will be decided by voting, from all the parliamentarians.

"The commissioners should also have security of tenure from dismissal. The removal of a commissioner can only be carried out by a tribunal drawn by the PAC," he said.  

Varughese also said that the IACC will be responsible for the appointment, promotion and discipline of ACA officers.

Bersih 2.0 chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah said current legislation is inadequate in checking corruption in the country and therefore needs to be reformed.

"MACC is weak and needs to be reformed with the IACC. We need to look into the legislative, good governance and human rights issues.

"We need more people to come out and fight for change even though we face a lot of barriers," she said.

Maria said that the only way forward for reform is for the public to keep voicing their concerns.

"Institutional reform is very important and at the same we need to see the bigger picture.

"We should not only be focusing on MACC but also look at reforming the police and Attorney-General’s Chambers," she said.

Earlier, Teoh's sister Teoh Lee Lan, said the family will continue to seek justice for her brother.

"The MACC admitted that Teoh did not commit suicide eight years ago and they have admitted their negligence.

"We have demanded an answer from parliament but to no avail. Each year we remember Teoh and we will continue to tell everyone that his case is not over yet," she said.

Other panelists at the forum were Hulu Kelang assemblyman Saari Sungib and Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy board member Ngeow Chow Ying. – July 16, 2017.

~ The Malaysian Insight

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