Anti-graft chief denies selective prosecution

By The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 25 — Datuk Abu Kassim Mohamed, who was appointed to lead the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) six months ago, believes the people’s faith in the commission will be instilled, in line with its relentless efforts to combat corruption.

For him, the people’s faith in MACC’s credibility would serve as an impetus for the agency to go all out and track down the offenders.

“Undoubtedly, many people are still sceptical of MACC’s credibility, but we have found that negative criticisms from the public had declined, and they are beginning to have faith in the commission,” he told Bernama.

On an allegation that MACC was not serious in tackling bribery and only caught the “ikan bilis” (those involved in small bribes) instead of the “sharks”, he said MACC had never turned a blind eye to the “big fish”.

“Whoever commits it, a bribe is a bribe. It is the country’s number one enemy and we will also hunt the sharks and their accomplices,” he said.

Abu Kassim said the public could refer to the database in MACC’s website for the lists of convicted bribery offenders, including those in the “white collar” category.

Apart from tracking down the “takers” (those taking bribes), MACC has also arrested 194 individuals who had offered bribes to civil servants between January and June this year.

He said this was an indication that civil servants were rejecting bribes and saying “no” to temptation due to their high level of integrity. During the same period, only 140 civil servants were nabbed for bribery and abuse of power.

Asked whether the MACC was under duress after being compelled to solve every bribery case in just a year, Abu Kassim said the commission would take the challenge by enhancing its integrity and preparedness in achieving zero bribery.

Meanwhile, in a random interview, several people told Bernama that efforts to restore public faith in MACC should not be carried out by the commission alone.

Taxi driver Norazuan Azizi, 32, said he found it hard to believe in law enforcers in general, as some of them were also reported to have been involved in bribery.

“They should set good examples to the public. The negative exposure has, inadvertently, tarnished the image of other law enforcers and the public will find it hard to believe in them, too,” he said.

He also suggested that heavier penalties be imposed on law enforcers, be it from the MACC or the police, if found guilty of bribery so that it would serve as a lesson to others.