Executive power hangs over MACC like the “Sword of Damocles”

THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) might be credited for hauling members of the elite for investigation on corruption, money laundering and other financial abuse charges.

Once it was unthinkable that the members of the elite will be subjected to investigation. The elite was thought to be immune from prosecution.

However, while the MACC’s action should be lauded, I am still not willing to give complete credit to the anti-graft agency of having complete independence from those in power.

The present investigations against those leaders who were in power once and their children are something significant in the development of the country. If former prime minister (PM) Datuk Seri Najib Razak could be sent to prison for corruption, I don’t see why other leaders and their families should be immune from investigation.

While the MACC should be praised for the present on-going investigation against the elites and their families, it remains to be seen whether the graft agency would show the same enthusiasm against those in power.

Unless this is addressed, the MACC will be seen as an agency subservient to those in power. After the new government took power last year, there were instances of allegations of corruption among ministers and officials in the government.

Pi credit: Key Risk Consulting Asia

Act impartially

I would like to know what has the MACC done to investigate and possibly prosecute those involved immaterial of their links to the government.

What is at stake in the country is the credibility of the MACC in the eyes of the public. The MACC by its actions and deeds must emerge from the shadows of the executive power.

Investigate without fear and favour and prosecute those involved in corrupt practices. Such a move must net both those in power and those were once in power including their children and relatives.

Blame cannot be placed on the MACC simply because even if the agency is composed of decent and honest personnel, its structural subservience to the executive makes it impossible for it to function independently.

This is not the problem of the MACC alone but those in power who have stifled the need for the MACC to be made directly accountable to the Parliament.

The shadow of executive power over the MACC might be the key debilitating factor in the emergence of a free and independent investigation agency. The existing oversight panels on the MACC and other investigative agencies have their structural limitations.

Those in power who talked so much about reforms to the extent of “tearing their mouths” are conspicuously silent on the need of reforms especially in rendering the MACC accountable to the public. – Jan 20, 2024


Former DAP stalwart and Penang chief minister II Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is chairman of the Urimai (United Rights of Malaysian Party) Interim Council.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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