Mahathir launches Malaysia’s anti-corruption action plan

PUTRAJAYA (Bernama) – The National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP) launched yesterday by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seeks to deal with the country’s four main causes of corruption: administrative failure (the manipulation of systems and procedures), conflict of interest (relating to discretionary power, absolute power and political interference), weak internal control and non-compliance, and a lack of transparency.

They are among the nine causes pinpointed through an analysis of more than 20,000 complaints received by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from 2013 to 2018.

Given that, the NACP’s three main missions in ending corruption are to uphold the rule of law, improve the public service by practising good governance and creating a clean business environment.

A total of 115 initiatives for six risk areas – political governance, public sector administration, public procurement, legal and judicial, law enforcement and corporate governance – were formulated.

From these, 30 are short-term initiatives (to be carried out from January-December 2019), 31 medium-term initiatives (January 2019 -December 2020) and 54 long-term initiatives (January 2019 –December 2023).

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during a press conference after raising and launching the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC). – BERNAMA

The group of initiatives also covers 22 priority measures like introducing new legislation governing political funding and lobbying, a proper asset declaration system for members of the administration and Parliament, and a Prime Minister’s Directive governing the demarcation of power between Ministers and Secretaries-General.

Some of the other steps are managing the appointment of senior government officials as board directors and chief executive officers in state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and statutory bodies, and introducing transparent guidelines on the appointment of special officers, political secretaries, private secretaries and media secretaries for ministers and deputy ministers.

The NACP also promotes a separation of powers with regards to the Attorney-General and public prosecutors, and for corruption cases to be handled by judges and prosecutors who are trained and experienced in the field.

Additionally, the plan wants to integrate relevant agencies for effective border management and improve the existing foreign worker’s centralised management system. It also endorses an integrity vetting requirement as a selection criterion for top management positions in statutory bodies, SOEs and CLBG, as well as a conditional approach in the utilisation of funds provided by the government to all statutory bodies, SOEs and Government Established Company Limited by Guarantee (CLBG).