Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Anwar wants more power for the MACC

Anwar : AG has unfettered powers that has to be 
By Debra Chong



KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 15 - While Pakatan Rakyat today welcomed the Prime Minister's new Bill to fight corruption in Malaysia, it is resisting the federal government's effort to make it a law until certain changes are made to give more power to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
The Opposition Leader wants the MACC to be given full discretion to charge in court those who have been investigated and found to have strong proof of corruption against them directly, instead of giving that power to the Attorney General's Chambers, as is done now.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim told Parliament that the issue at stake is the integrity, authority, and qualification of the Attorney General (AG) and the judiciary.
He claimed that the AG held too much power, to the point that he could decide if a case would be taken to court or simply closed.
Quoting a famous veteran lawyer Raja Aziz Addruse, Anwar noted that it was not a must for the AG to report to the Prime Minister, Cabinet or Parliament, not even "for the failure of a number of high-profile prosecutions, which commenced with much fanfare but ended up being a waste of funds."
"There is a need to limit the powers of the Attorney General because he acts as the chief legal advisor to the government and also as the chief prosecutor," Anwar stressed.
The 63-year-old, who spent six years in jail on corruption charges, has repeatedly accused the current AG Tan Sri Gani Patail of abusing his authority in sending him to prison.
"Reform cannot be carried out without first solving the problem of the large amount of power held by the AG," the Permatang Pauh MP said.
The solution, he suggests, is for MACC to have two separate arms: one to investigate and the other to charge in court those who have been investigated.
Among a laundry list of other changes, Anwar said the appointment of the MACC chief must be made more transparent.
He suggests that it be done based on the recommendation of a Special Parliamentary Committee on the MACC instead of by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the Prime Minister.
Anwar also wants the terms for informants under Sections 27 and 28 to be reviewed, claiming that heavy punishments would stop people from blowing the whistle on corrupt persons in future


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