CORRUPTION: Check those assets, too

By M.G., NST

I REFER to your report “Focus on improving graft perception ranking” (NST, July 29), where it was stated that the government would concentrate on improving Malaysia’s ranking on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The act of corruption is often a mutually beneficial act carried out surreptitiously and covertly without any witnesses and it is often not possible to catch red-handed the person in the act of receiving or giving illicit gratification.

The new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act, unlike the previous Anti-Corruption Act, does not contain any specific provisions for prosecuting public servants or elected members of the executive who own assets disproportionate to their declared sources of income.

Provision should be made in the MACC Act for their officer s to actively investigate those public servants whose lifestyles give rise to suspicion of accumulation of ill-gotten gains.

They should be prosecuted if they are unable to account for the wealth accumulated by them or their family members, or if their wealth is disproportionately high compared with their declared sources of income.

The authorities should go beyond periodically requiring public servants to declare their assets.

They should investigate if they have correctly declared or under-declared their assets, and investigate whether the actual assets owned by the person under investigationm are justifiable when compared with his declared sources of income.