Tuesday, March 19

Integrity, independence, efficiency essential to curb corruption

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Wong Ching Yong

SIBU: The integrity, independence and efficiency of enforcement agencies are the most important factors towards curbing corruption and other commercial crimes, says Wong Ching Yong, a chartered accountant by profession.

He gave this view today when commenting on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that the government is to propose the inclusion of a provision in the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act to show the real beneficiary owners in companies.

Dr Mahathir reportedly said the provision would enable the MACC to identify the real owners of any interest during their investigation, adding that this was one of the matters decided upon at a meeting of the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption which he chaired at Perdana Putra on Thursday.

The Prime Minister had also said that though the owners had used the names of others, the evidence would be found and action taken against the real owners.

On this, Wong said: “Today (Thursday), the Prime Minister disclosed that the government is to propose the inclusion of a provision in the MACC Act to show the real beneficiary owners in companies.

“The proposed provision of MACC Act is welcome but may not be that helpful to curb corruption. We already have enough powerful legislations to fight against financial crimes.”

He pointed out that presently, the authorities fight financial crimes under the Penal Code, the Companies Act 1965/2016, and the Dangerous Drugs (Forfeiture of Property) Act 1988, the Anti Corruption Act 1997, MACC Act 2009, Penal Code (Act 574), Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009, Income Tax Act 1967, Capital Market and Services Act 2007, and the Financial Services Act 2013.

“The most important factors to eradicate corruption and other financial crimes are the integrity, independence and efficiency of the enforcement agencies such as the police, Public Prosecutors, AG Chambers, MACC and the judiciary system among others,” noted Wong, who is SUPP Dudong chairman.

It is suggested that if the Pakatan Harapan (PH) (government) is sincere and serious in its intention to include a provision in the MACC Act to show the real beneficiary owners in companies, the proposed provision shall apply retrospectively, Wong added.

“In 2016, the MACC seized RM114 million from the homes of a director and his deputy of an important statutory body in Sabah. The money was stashed in their homes and the boot of a car. MACC investigators also seized jewellery and 127 land titles valued at RM30 million.

“If the new provision is applicable retrospectively, the real owners of the above cash, jewellery and land may be surfaced,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Mahathir had said Thursday’s meeting discussed, among others, education as a means of producing a generation of integrity and of noble character in the aspect of human governance and character building.