Anwar must ensure all ongoing graft-related cases are tried without fear of favour

THE unity government of Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must ensure that all criminal proceedings that have been opened against former government officials charged with abuses of power are allowed to continue without delay nor interference regardless of their political party.

The same applies to those who abuse their positions in government as opportunities for self-enrichment. This, according to the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism (C4 Centre), is vital especially in light of the decision by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman to hold a vote of confidence for his new government on Dec 19.

“This is instrumental in the task of public confidence-building, demonstrating to Malaysians that there is no place for corruption in the new administration, that no one can escape justice, and that support to govern cannot come from patronage and money politics,” asserted the C4 Centre in a media statement.

Earlier, the C4 Centre stressed that since the concept of unity government is unprecedented in Malaysia, there is a need not to sacrifice good governance practices in favour of “convenience” and “efficiency” or political expediency.

“Malaysians simply cannot afford more instability, and certainly not a repeat of the “Sheraton Move” of February 2020,” insisted the C4 Centre in a media statement.

“It is in the government’s and the country’s best interests to rule transparently and with accountability as a key component of building back better after the previous administration’s shortcomings.”

As Anwar has specifically spoke on his government’s zero-tolerance stance on corruption and abuses on power in his maiden media conference as PM yesterday (Nov 24), C4 Centre said the unity government need not look any further than the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019.

“The guidelines in the NACP provide a comprehensive overview of the areas that require reform, and that would bring Malaysian law and policy closer to fulfilling its obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC),” C4 Centre pointed out. “We have long campaigned for certain reforms as a matter of priority and urgency.”

These include:

  • The need for a Procurement Act to provide more oversight over public procurement processes and government expenditure; amendments to the Whistleblower Protection Act that would grant more protection to whistleblowers from persecution, both by public and private bodies;
  • A Freedom of Information Act to allow the public greater access to information relating to government administration, alongside repealing the Official Secrets Act; and
  • An Asset Declaration Act to compel government leaders to publicly declare their business or financial interests.

“The previous administration also assured that the Political Financing Bill would be tabled soon – there is no reason for the new administration to delay this any further,” insisted C4 Centre.

“The coming months will serve as a litmus test for Anwar’s unity government in assessing their commitment to the good governance and reform agenda – these reforms are to be initiated expeditiously and without delay.”

In relation to this, C4 Centre also reiterated its readiness to work with the government and provide expertise or aid in ensuring these reforms are implemented. – Nov 25, 2022

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