KUALA LUMPUR: Corruption in Malaysia is at a worrying level although the situation has yet to become a pandemic, its anti-graft chief said.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki was responding to a question during an interview with TVAlhijrah on Wednesday (Apr 14) on whether the increasing number of detentions and exposes indicated the severity of the corruption situation.
“We cannot say that it is very bad. But I can say, as someone in the line of fighting corruption for a long time, it is at a stage that worries me personally. But it is not yet a pandemic,” he said.
“Probably the community feels that it has gotten serious and it is a pandemic, but if we look at it from another point of view, it is the awareness of the public that contributed to the exposes on the many issues now."
He added: “If there is no information from the public, and technological advancement now (that contributes to) many corruption issues being surfaced, especially those involving the authorities or public servants, these issues won’t be exposed.”
Mr Azam was appointed to the position in March last year, following the resignation of Ms Latheefa Koya on the heels of the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan administration. He has more than 30 years of experience in the anti-graft body.
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During the Wednesday interview, Mr Azam also said that there has been no political interference in high-profile corruption cases being investigated by the MACC.
“Since I became the chief commissioner, no. I can give assurance that there has been no interference, no instruction given to me.
“But I don't deny there have been questions. It is illogical for me to say there have been no queries at all. I usually mix with ministers or other politicians, they ask (about the cases).
“But I am giving my assurance here that asking will not influence our decisions in investigations,” he said.
He added: “We will continue to investigate the cases and it is up to the attorney-general to decide if they want to charge the cases in court.”
There have been several high-profile corruption cases recently. Last week, the MACC said it has crippled a "project tender cartel" that reportedly monopolised 354 tenders from several ministries and government agencies since 2014, involving projects worth RM3.8 billion (US$920 million).
Last month, MACC arrested a former bank president over an RM400 million loan for a non-existent project.