The MACC was a cornerstone of Sleeping Beast Abdullah’s so-called reform package.

KUALA LUMPUR: As the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) flounders, the legacy of Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is already in tatters barely three months into his retirement.

It would have more bite than the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) and would be the hallmark of the government’s seriousness in fighting corruption.

But with the death of Teoh Beng Hock, a DAP political aide called in for questioning as a witness, the MACC’s image has been battered to a pulp.

The interrogation methods of anti-graft officers are being questioned.

Significantly, it also brings direct attention to allegations that the MACC is not an independent agency.

Abdullah’s legacy is in tatters barely three months into his retirement. — Reuters pic
Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have pointed out that the MACC’s relentless pursuit of flimsy allegations of graft against Selangor government officials is in stark contrast to its inaction against Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders.

Teoh had been questioned for eight hours, according to the MACC, over allegations that his boss, a state government executive councillor, had allegedly misused RM2,400 in state funds.

In contrast, the MACC has not reported if it is investigating claims that former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo had amassed enough wealth to build a palatial mansion in Shah Alam.

It is hard to dispute the general public perception that the MACC is now viewed with greater disdain than its predecessor the ACA.

Also the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) has done nothing to reverse the view that the judiciary has decayed.

The courts’ handling of the Perak crisis has left the public again feeling less than satisfied.

Judgments of senior judges are now being openly challenged. Holes are being punched in the judgments by retired judges and senior lawyers for inconsistencies with legal principles and the constitution.

Ultimately, a significant number of Malaysians are left feeling that the courts are not exactly free and fair.

In other words, the public perception of the judiciary has not changed if it has not been worsened.

Abdullah stayed on for six more months as prime minister to fulfil what he says were his promises to the public and add some lustre to a patchy legacy.

The MACC he created is more powerful but little else.

It is not seen as an independent body and is an ocean away from Hong Kong’s much vaunted Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).

Both the MACC and the JAC perhaps do symbolise the Abdullah years: visionary ideas, half-baked execution and a dismal end-product.

MI
23/07/09

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