MACC panel: Foreigners not needed

By T K Letchumy Tamboo, The Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory panel has lambasted the proposal by the Selangor government to bring in foreign experts to investigate the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal.
They believe such a move would be “a disgrace and an insult” to the institution, and any foreign assistance should be used only as a last resort.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim yesterday declared the State government’s willingness to hire foreign experts to probe the NFC issue.

MACC advisory committee member Tan Sri Megat Najmuddin Megat Khas said the move would be demeaning and humiliating to the institution.

“It will be a very sad day if all our national scandals are going to be investigated by foreign experts. It just portrays and reflects our weaknesses,” he told The Malay Mail in a telephone.

Megat Najmuddin said the proposal by the Selangor government was a “politicisation of sorts”.

“Face it, our society is now split to two. One is the Opposition and the other is the government. This is a proposal to try to politicise the enforcement of law in the country and it is not right,” he said.

“If they are not happy, there are certain ways to express it and there are certain ways to express it and there are certain ways to do it. We have had countless Royal Commissions of Inquiry (RCI) and they could have suggested to have one for the NFC controversy.”

Megat Najmuddin also said the NFC scandal may be a misuse of funds and not really a criminal case.

“I do not see any criminality in the NFC sacndal. The police have said there is no criminality involved in it. The MACC has also said there is no evidence of corruption in the issue and as such it is not under their jurisdiction,” he said.

“There may be a misuse of funds but that’s not even a crime. If you take a loan from a bank and use it for other purposes, how could it possibly be a crime?
Exhaust all local avenues first

“We cannot simply convict people based on suspicion and hearsay. I have no idea what the Selangor government is screaming about. They are just trying to politicise the whole issue.”

Former chairman of the MACC panel on prevention and consultation Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam felt it was not proper or fair at this stage for any political group to invite foreign experts to investigate the NFC scandal.

“This issue must be approached professionally and not politically. If the MACC is not investigating the matter further, then it should be left to the police,” he said.

“Only after that investigation in Malaysia should other avenues be sought.”

Ramon said that in the event of dissatisfaction on the outcome of the initial investigation, there would be nothing to prevent any parties from starting investigations on their own, be it with foreign experts’ help or without.

“We have to follow our own traditional methods with integrity and transparency,” he said.

MACC advisory board member Tan Sri Simon Sipaun, who offered his personal views, said the proposal may mean that the Selangor government lack confidence in the MACC.

“They may not have faith in us but it is their prerogative to bring in foreign experts,” he said.

“MACC, upon its investigation, found that the scandal has no elements of corruption and that was why they passed the baton to the police in the fi rst place.

“I think, from what I read in the newspaper reports, this whole controversy is just an abuse of public funds.”