(We don’t have Senapathy, the old man who kills corrupt government officials and even his own corrupt son in the 1996 Tamil movie Indian but we have something close called MACC. The question is how far it has been effective in “weeding” out the corruption from the system. Image source: IMDB)
This is the question that been asked by many but yet to be answered satisfactorily by the agency itself.
PKFZ mess saw some positive movement in recent days when the former Transport Minister was charged in the court for cheating the Government on PKFZ. One can call it the “biggest fish” caught todate but until we see the outcome, we will not be hoping for the end of the mess so soon.
There are still a lot of big fishes yet to be caught and the judiciary’s decision on those been caught todate is yet to be seen. More importantly, we have yet to know whether we can recover back the taxpayer’s money.
I recall the post titled “MACC can improve” where the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board said what is important is for MACC to be given the opportunity and time to prove itself. I wish could share the same as the Board’s sentiments on MACC and wish that we can indeed give it the opportunity and time to prove itself.
In the Tamil movie, Sivaji: The Boss, the hero (played by Rajinikanth) uncovers the evidence of undeclared money of the villain and after getting half of it, he informs the Income Tax Vigilance Department who proceed to make a high-level raid on the villain’s house together with CBI and the police.
Politically, the villain is well connected (he determines who forms the next Government) but despite this, he was helpless when the enforcement authorities make the raid. The enforcement authorities were dedicated to doing their job and they do not answer to their political masters.
In another Tamil movie, Kandasamy – the hero is a tough CBI officer who goes after powerful people without favour or fear. And the strongest support for the hero comes from the very top in the department.
The above are just examples of how enforcement agents should ideally act in discharging their duties. I say ideally because, in reality, things are not so smooth sailing as we have not been seeing the proper discharge of duty by enforcement agencies such as the police and MACC when it comes to politicians from the ruling parties. As many of us would say in disappointment, “the big fish is yet to be caught”.
Yes, investigation papers have been opened on politicians like Khir Toyo but what is the good of investigations when it is yet to see the light of the day. Despite the obvious evidence (as uncovered by Selcat), Khir Toyo is still roaming around creating unnecessary problems in Selangor.
What about the purported commission that was paid in defence deals? What about the 60-page document that was submitted to MACC in early January 2009 by the opposition? What about the revelation that has been surfacing on the Sarawak’s Chief Minister’s questionable wealth and overseas properties? How about the revelation that politicians have been sending millions through an unregulated hawala system?
I agree that the revamped MACC performed better than the old ACA but the question is “how much” better. Despite the change of name, MACC is still riddled with the handicap that faced the old ACA as well – top of the list, the absence of the power to prosecute. Sadly, MACC at the end of the day still needs to wait for the AG’s green light for prosecution.
What is the point of utilising taxpayers’ money, time and manpower in investigations of corrupt acts if, at the end of the day, the perpetrator cannot be prosecuted in a court of law? When this happens, how MACC expects people to respect it? How does it expect people to give it the opportunity and time to prove itself?
Rather than acting like the vigilante Senapathy, we need a proper institution that works tirelessly fighting corruption. We need a dedicated, independent anti-corruption agency like MACC and we want it to be so effective that anyone would piss in their pants before thinking of committing the slightest act of corruption.
We want it to be feared by offenders and well-liked by the whistle-blowers. We simply want corruption in this country to end. It is because corruption, if not checked, will cripple the country and create chaos for the people.
But then again, we do not want an agency that only acts against the opposition whilst looks the other away on corruption by the ruling politicians involving millions, billions of taxpayers’ money. We do not want an agency that is feared by whistle-blowers and not feared by those who are corrupt to the core. We do not want an agency where a witness ends up dead after questionable, late-night interrogations.
If MACC can prove us wrong and show (with strong actions, not with empty talks) that it is dedicated to fighting corruption on both sides of the political ground and is fearless, then perhaps, we may give it the opportunity and time to prove itself.