Tuesday March 5, 2013
Graft complaints rise ahead of polls
By RAZAK AHMAD
PUTRAJAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has received an increasing number of complaints on corruption ahead of the general election.
Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed said, however, this was also the trend in the run-up to the elections of 2004 and 2008.
“Each time a general election approaches, the information we receive will increase and the closer it gets to a general election, the more reports we will get on alleged corruption.
“Sometimes, old allegations resurface, forgotten issues are raised again and some issues suddenly appear out of the blue,” said Abu Kassim, adding that the MACC would investigate all information and reports it receives.
In 2004, the number of reports lodged with the anti-graft body rose by 17% to 11,413 from the previous year, while in 2008 the increase was 27% to 15,804 compared to the year before.
Last year, there were 11,765 complaints, from which 1,078 investigation papers were opened.
Statistics for the first quarter of this year are still being compiled.
Data provided by MACC showed that 32 politicians were arrested over suspected corruption between 2009 and 2012 and 20 of them were subsequently charged in court.
Asked if the MACC would make any arrest for suspected corruption during the general election period, Abu Kassim said: “This will be decided on a case-by-case basis.”
He said under the Election Offences Act 1954, suspected acts of corruption during elections could also be investigated by police.
“The police have an extensive presence right to the most remote areas.
“So, they will also be able to receive reports of alleged corruption during the polls,” said Abu Kassim, adding that a joint task force comprising representatives from the Election Commission, police and MACC would be set up soon to improve anti-corruption enforcement during the 13th general election.