Three of these four amendments are to broaden the scope, duties and functions of the Anti-Corruption Agency so that the Director-General would be statutorily empowered to advise heads of private sector organisations of any changes in practice, systems or procedures to reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of corruption.
Under the Anti-Corruption Bill, the Director-General is only empowerd to advise heads of public bodies on the changes in practice, systems or procedures to reduce the likelihood of the occurrence of corruption, but corruption in the private sector is increasingly become a serious problem, especially with the growing pace of privatisation.
Privatisation of state enterprises had been regarded as one way to reduce corrupt opportunities within government, but what had been overlooked is the privatisation of corruption. As Dr. Jomo K.S., Malaysia’s renowed economist and prolific Malaysian author on Malaysia’s privatisation process said at the two Round Table Conferences on Corruption, "privatisation actually offers new opportunities for abuses and corruption".
The duties of the ACA Director-General will also be clarified to include promoting "a national culture of integrity with zero tolerance for corruption" and to "promote international co-operation in combating transnational corruption".
Another amendment is to safeguard the civil liberties of citizens to ensure that while the Anti-Corruption Agency is given greater powers to fight corruption, the civil rights and fundamental liberties of Malaysian citizens are not arbitrarily trampled upon. I am proposintg that the powers to intercept communications in Section 40 of the Bill, whether any postal article, message or conversation transmitted by any telecommunications, should be subject to check and control by a magistrate if the interception exceeds more than 30 days.
All in all, the 28 amendments which I am proposing to the Anti-Corruption Bill are aimed to make it an effective anti-corruption law which commands the respect and support of the Malaysian people to ensure a new culture of integrity with zero tolerance for corruption
Many of these amendments are the result of the deliberations and the consensus reached at the Round Table (II) on the Anti-Corruption Bill in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, which reached a five-point consensus on the Bill, namely:
Firstly, that it should be referred to a Select Committee to allow for a proper process of public consultation and participation.
Secondly, the need to ensure the the Anti-Corruption Agency is independent and enjoys public confidence in its impartiality and professionalism.
Thirdly, opposition to Section 20 which creates the new offence entailing RM100,000 fine, ten years’ jail or both for any person who makes a false statement on corruption.
Fourthly, the need for Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen to publicly and periodically declare their assets, income and liabilities.
Fifthly, the need for a definitive and clear-cut provision to make it an offence for those holding public office who has pecuniary resources or property or maintains a lifestyle disproportionate to their known sources of income.
The seven main thrusts of the 28 amendments to the Anti-Corruption Bill are: