Malaysian anti-graft body sets up 24-hour operations centre to monitor corruption in upcoming elections

Malaysian anti-graft body sets up 24-hour operations centre to monitor corruption in upcoming elections

MACC press conference Apr 9
MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad speaking to reporters on Monday (Apr 9). (Photo: Sumisha Naidu) 

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said on Monday (Apr 9) that a 24-hour operations centre has been set up to actively monitor the upcoming general election for graft and receive any complaints from the public.

A special task force made up of representatives from the MACC, the Election Commission and the Attorney-General's Chambers has been established to investigate any element of misconduct or corruption in polls that are expected to be called soon. 

MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad told the media after launching the operations centre that they would investigate offences as stipulated under the relevant laws.

"There aren't many offences listed in the Election Offences Act," he said.

"But there are sections to do firstly with impersonation, secondly with 'treating' (such as of food and drink), thirdly with exerting undue influence, and fourthly with bribery."

The MACC has also screened a list of candidates by Barisan Nasional, said Mr Dzulkifli. He added that the opposition has yet to submit a candidate list for screening, and were welcome to do so as well. 

When asked if any of the Barisan Nasional candidates screened had been rejected due to the anti-graft body's findings, Mr Dzulkifli replied that this was not the responsibility of the MACC.

"We just do the vetting and we leave it up to the political party. We protect secrecy as well. We must keep the confidence of the political parties who send the names to us for vetting."

It is unclear if the MACC will act on any evidence of graft found during its vetting of candidates for political parties.

Civil society groups and the opposition have claimed that past elections were marred by abuses including corruption and vote tampering. 

However, no graft cases -  that the public were made aware of at least - were prosecuted following the last polls in 2013, with the ruling Barisan Nasional government maintaining it had won those polls fairly. 

Source: CNA/ad(aj)