‘Malaysia a role model in fighting graft’

By Adrian David, NST
KUALA LUMPUR: The inconsistent interpretation of corruption by different countries has made the task to combat social ills even more difficult.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Sutinah Sutan said greater efforts were being made globally to standardise and streamline the understanding and procedures linked with corruption so that it could be tackled effectively.

“Many lesser developed countries are still learning from the experience of others and are attempting to adopt their initiatives.

“Malaysia is seen as a role model as a nation successful in combating corruption. Many countries look at how we have rapidly progressed and developed since achieving Independence in 1957.

“They say we have managed very well to control corruption with our strong political will,” she said at the close of the three-day “15th ADB/OECD Anti-Corruption Initiative for Asia and the Pacific” and “Regional Seminar on the Criminalisation of Bribery” at the Palace of Golden Horses in Seri Kembangan, Selangor yesterday.

Sutinah, who is also the event’s secretariat chairman, said the delegates agreed that corruption was a big threat among lesser developed countries and greater initiatives were being put into place by their respective governments.

She said Malaysia had measured up to international standards like those laid out in the “Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act” and other United Nations laws and regulations.

“We have learnt that minimising bureaucracy and delays can reduce corruption. The idea is to promote business without corruption by enhancing confidence-building measures for businessmen and foreign investors.”

She said the message was clear — one does not have to bribe officers; there is no “extra cash” required to do business in Malaysia.

“We are also pushing for matters concerning extradition, asset recovery and other new action plans in a systemic manner with the cooperation of other countries.”

The event saw 28 countries and over 200 representatives involved, including representatives from the Asian Development Bank, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Transparency International, World Bank, German Training Institution, American Bar Association and the United Nations Development Programme.

The speakers presented international standards and national approaches to issues concerning international instruments on the criminalisation of bribery, challenges in establishing and applying domestic and foreign bribery offences, corporate liability for bribery, investigative techniques, and sanctions and confiscation.