Following in the footsteps of Najib Razak’s guilty verdict in the SRC International scandal, his wife Rosmah Mansor has also been convicted for offences related to corruption.
The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) commends the judiciary over the bold decisions to convict Najib and Rosmah, for asserting that corruption is a heinous crime and for holding power to account.
These decisions by the judiciary have reaffirmed the rule of law – that it prevails against those who only seek to serve their self-interest.
The verdicts should serve as a rallying call for the government to reform the corrupt system and reinstate reforms and measures that would eliminate abuse of power and minimise the likelihood of cases like these recurring.
Rosmah is the wife of former prime minister and current convicted criminal Najib. The presiding judge, Zaini Mazlan, concluded that she used her position to interfere with her husband’s affairs as head of government to influence and secure opportunities for self-enrichment.
Rosmah was found guilty of soliciting RM187.5m from former Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd managing director Saidi Abang Samsudin as an inducement for the latter’s company to secure a RM1.25bn solar hybrid energy project for 369 rural schools in Sarawak.
Rosmah was also found guilty of two counts of receiving bribes amounting to RM5m and RM1.5m from Saidi between April and August 2016.
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The impoverished state of schools in Sarawak has been further maligned by Rosmah’s greed and desire for power.
C4 Center has long called for the processes in procurement and private contracting of large projects to be made transparent and open to scrutiny.
The risk of corruption taking place on such a large scale could have been minimised if checks and balances had been put in place such as implementing an open tender process, publicly justifying the deliberations behind why only certain entities are chosen for a project or investment, and making the accounts publicly accessible.
The above practices fall in line with the principles outlined in the UN Convention Against Corruption, which Malaysia has ratified, particularly in reference to Article 9 on public procurement and management of finances.
The article stresses the need for transparency, the use of objective and predetermined criteria for public procurement, and mechanisms for personnel involved to declare their interest.
The recent rulings by the judiciary over powerful personalities involved in high-profile cases and related scandals send a strong message about the need to reform a rotten system and signals the coming of a zero-tolerance attitude towards corruption that the institutions of many other nations have adopted.
Our current government seems to have forgotten that Malaysia has a national anti-corruption plan that puts forward recommendations for reforms including a procurement act, a stronger Whistleblower Protection Act, and a parliamentary ombudsman – all of which are necessary to tackle corruption from all sides and, most importantly, to prevent offences related to corruption from taking place to begin with.
All institutions must act in tandem to stamp out the ever-growing weeds of corruption from taking root.
In light of the above, C4 Center calls for:
- All corruption cases to be fast-tracked and deliberated in trial without delay
- The establishment of special anti-corruption courts, in addition to providing judges specialised training to preside over complex corruption cases
- The government to fast track anti-corruption reforms and the establishment of independent institutions as per the national anti-corruption Plan. – C4 Center