Time for change in Malaysia’s business landscape?

MALAYSIA’S 10th Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX) is already on the overdrive in his anti-graft campaign.

Nearly every day, there are reports of people being arrested by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The latest involved a district police chief in Pahang who was arrested for allegedly receiving bribes of RM1 mil in return for protection for entertainment outlets and massage parlours in the state.

The first by any Malaysian premier, Anwar’s efforts will benefit businesses that seek to have a level playing field in Malaysia.

Given the choice, no businessperson would be happy to pay bribes if they are in a position to compete for a government tender. Bribery and corruption would only add to the cost of the projects which will in return be borne by taxpayers.

The clean-up by the current administration will in the long-term boost investors’ confidence, especially at a time when the country is seeking to attract big time investors to put their money in Malaysia.

Most of these investors are watching the country’s political stability before deciding to channel their funds into the country. Countries such as Indonesia have seen the fruits of their years of political reforms and anti-corruption initiatives.

The MACC website is up-to-date with the statistics showing its monthly arrest of people who were involved in corruption. The focus is not only on public servants but also those from the ‘public sector.’

In May, for example, the MACC arrested a total of 131 people, of which 80.92% are from the public sector which comprises both ordinary members of the public and employees or owners of private companies.

Source: MACC’s website

The website has also set up its Hall of Shame since 2020 whuch currently hosts a total of 340 offenders of various forms under the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2018.

The list comprises offenders of cases ranging from a mere RM500 to perhaps the biggest case involving disgraced former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak who lost his appeal in his SRC International case.

Najib, who was convicted of receiving a total of RM42 mil from SRC International while he was serving as the country’s Prime Minister and Finance Minister is currently serving a 12-year jail sentence in the Kajang Prison.

The MACC has also provided a number of ways for the public to lodge their reports which include using the MACC Complaints Management System, MACC Hotline, Email, SMS, Mobile Applications (Apps), fax, write-in or just pay a visit to the MACC office with the relevant documents.

However, one area which the MACC has apparently neglected is the Corruption-Free Pledge (better known as IBR), the brainchild of its former chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad.

According to the graft buster’s website, the IBR emphasises “on the pledge and oath voluntarily taken by an organisation’s leadership and members in an individual capacity to hold each of them accountable and responsible for carrying out their duties and to hinder them from engaging in any corruption misconduct throughout their tenure”.

A check on the published statistics show that the Public Services Department (PSD) has not given much support towards the IBR. In a number of ministries and government departments, there is only one signatory.

With the current anti-graft drive, shouldn’t the PSD under the current Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali do something to boost the support of the public servants to PMX’s anti-graft drive? – June 8, 2023.

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