Terence Gomez’s resignation highlights fundamental problems in MACC

Gomez meletak jawatan selaku panel SPRM

Aliran commends Dr Edmund Terence Gomez for his principled and courageous stand in resigning from the consultation and corruption prevention panel of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

He submitted his resignation as he felt the panel was dragging its feet in taking decisive action against allegations involving the MACC chief.

Terence said news reports on a website had raised disturbing questions about the “nexus between business and law enforcement” and a “conflict of interest” situation allegedly involving the MACC chief. It also raised the question whether the MACC chief had “declared his extensive ownership of corporate stock as required by law”.

The political economist noted it was disturbing that these reports also claimed that a former MACC chief commissioner was involved in a conflict-of-interest situation.

The MACC’s delay in acting is most regrettable. It raises the perception that the commission is not interested in establishing the truth and ensuring accountability if the allegations involve any of its top officers.

The MACC must not remain silent about the allegations in the reports. It must act immediately and those implicated must be told to go on leave pending the outcome of the probe.

Hence, an independent investigation is required.

Yet, when the chief of the anti-corruption agency is himself allegedly involved, who can we then expect to investigate the agency?

We recommend that the MACC be put under the purview of Parliament instead of its current position under the Prime Minister’s Department. This would allow for a select committee, comprising the people’s elected representatives, to monitor the commission’s performance and hold its top officers accountable to the public.

READ MORE:  Allegations concerning MACC transparency

We need to make the MACC truly accountable as a crucial step to make headway in the battle against corruption. In addition, the selection procedure of the MACC heads should not be left to the Prime Minister. This procedure should be revamped.

Earlier this year, Bersih had proposed the enactment of a public appointments and removal law to oversee the appointments of top officers in federal bodies and agencies like the MACC. This should be implemented immediately to promote accountability, transparency and independence.

The irony is that the PM had earlier this month awarded a 90% approval rating for his cabinet ministers. Clearly, this is way off the mark. He must now explain how he would grade himself, considering the latest uproar involving an agency parked under the Prime Minister’s Department.

Aliran executive committee
28 December 2021
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