THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has come under considerable flak this past week, most severely with the death of Selangor state government aide Teoh Beng Hock. On 16 July 2009, Teoh was discovered dead on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam, after a gruelling interrogation lasting more than 10 hours until 3.45am at the Selangor MACC premises.
How did his death occur? This is still unknown, though police are not ruling out foul play. While theories as to the cause of Teoh’s death abound, it is perhaps prudent not to jump to conclusions, but remain focused on a solid principle: the MACC’s lack of procedural parameters or its non-adherence to standard operating procedures, should they exist.
Why was there not greater security at the MACC’s office? Why was the welfare of those under the commission’s custody treated in such a cavalier way, to the extent that a death occurred under its watch?
Is the MACC empowered to conduct interrogations — whether with witnesses or suspects — way past 3am, and for such a long duration? Even in police lockups, there is the 6am-to-6pm rule, the stipulated timeframe for suspects to be questioned.
What about the allegations made by Kajang municipal councillor Tan Boon Wah, who had also been interrogated by the anti-graft agency? On 17 July, Tan revealed that investigating MACC officers forced him to stand for four hours, threatened to “take away my wife”, and called him “Cina bodoh”.
It should be remembered that Tan’s claim is not the first time the MACC has been accused of thuggery. In a joint statement calling for a royal commission of inquiry into the “first political death under (Prime Minister) Datuk Seri Najib Razak”, civil society groups pointed out the case of Maran Umno committee member Halimi Kamaruzzaman.
Halimi had alleged that he was roughed up and forced to strip by MACC officers, in an investigation targeting Federal Territory Umno chief Datuk Mohamad Norza Zakaria.
The corruption inquest into Norza — as with the investigation into Selangor executive councillor Ean Yong, whom Teoh was an aide to — is widely believed to have been politically motivated. While the anti-graft commission has opened 533 investigations since January 2009, it is difficult for the MACC to shrug off accusations that it is partial to certain quarters of the political divide.
One need only look back to its speedy, almost self-satirising investigation into Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim‘s cows and cars. Contrast that to the commission’s failure to act into obviously suspicious circumstances, such as those of former Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo‘s palatial mansion in Shah Alam. Or its sluggish look into the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal.
The MACC was part of former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s tripartite package of reforms, with the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) and the Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC).
Like its two fellow agencies, the MACC was already under fire even while it was still a bill in Parliament. Most described the bill as weak, since it did not guarantee the commission’s independence. Rushed through in a mere two days, the MACC Act 2008 places the anti-corruption body squarely under the jurisdiction of the Attorney-General, instead of Parliament itself which many feel would ensure the MACC’s impartiality.
In February 2009, a Merdeka Center poll found that only 43% of 1,018 Malaysians surveyed thought that the MACC would be an effective tool in the fight against corruption. Recent events appear to have vindicated the 57% of Malaysians who thought otherwise.
With all this said, what do you think? Here are some of our attempts at summing up the MACC:
MACC procedures need checks and balances.
MACC needs to regain public confidence.
Eradicate real corruption, power abuse, malpractice.
And now, we must fear MACC.
Eh, boleh disoalsiasat sampai 3.45 pagi?
How can we trust government institutions?
What are your interrogation procedures, MACC?
Interrogation till 03:45 is undoubtedly torture.
Keraguan rakyat memuncak dengan kematian Teoh.
Unshakable evidence is of utmost importance.
BN + MACC = Skeptical rakyat.
Investigate, don’t persecute. Question, don’t torture.
Little Napoleons get away with anything!
“Kalau sayang bini, ikut cakap kami.”
Follow due process. Rakyat will trust.
Prosecute selectively. And then cry wolf?
Wow! This settee is really comfy!
The Nut Graph really hates corruption.
Inspired by Ernest Hemingway‘s genius, the Six Words On… section challenges readers to give us their comments about a current issue, contemporary personality or significant event in just six words. The idea is to get readers engaged in an issue that The Nut Graph identifies, while having fun and being creatively disciplined.
PM Najib, macam ni 1Malaysia ke?
Absolute power corrupted absolutely. Innocent died.
ACA, MACC. Dulu teruk, kini zalim!
Interrogation that forces people to confess.
MACC investigate when small amount involved.
MACC + PDRM = licensed gangsters.
MACC is a BN component party.
MACC – Malaysian Art of Conspiracy Centre.
MACC – the Murderous, Atrocious and Corrupt Commission?
Nicholas Aw says
MACC: we prosecute as we like.
Don’t question us, we question you.
Prosecution – by hook or by crook.
Sivin Kit says
What really happened to Papa, Mummy?
Beware the attack of the MACC.
Your cowboy methods come to light.
With death of boy you kantoi.
More monkeys with license of power.
More fuel for this dodgy administration.
Trying to figure out how huh?
Question later, act now. Just adhere.
Allow you entry BUT no exit.
A political tool of ruling regime.
Supposed to rid corruption. Became corrupted.
Fishing of minnows and not sharks!
Awan Gebu says
Falling straight down causes ripped trousers?!?
In the door, out the window!
Rajesh Taluar says
MACC: crossing the decent cross-examine line.
MACC has such a low standard.
MACC are only gangsters in disguise.
Hang Tuah 1 says
Walked in ALIVE. Carried out DEAD.
5.00pm check in. 3.45am check out.
MACC is Mana Ada Cow Cents.
Masuk ikut pintu. Keluar ikut window.
Kenny Loh says
The rakyat are not blind, MACC!
I smell something fishy … MACC rupanya!
Jangan buat bukan-bukan, polis tangkap nanti!
Politicians and their puppets are damned!
More Action on these Common Criminals.
From so high, head not smashed?
From so high, bones still intact?
From so high, blood don’t splash?
From so high, nicely by ledge?
From so high, impact torn pants?
Must be clocking overtime @ 3.45am.
D evil says
This is a badge of death.
Guilty until you prove your innocence!
MACC working late, having to defenestrate.
Philip Selvaraj says
From NBI to ACA to MACC.
Philip Selvaraj says
NBI most professional until Mahathir came.
A new tool for political persecution.
MACC – Malevolence Abuse and Cruelty Commission.
MACC, component party of Barisan Nasional.
MACC, go after the real culprits.
New campaign call: video all questioning.
Philip Selvaraj says
Authorized to view and destroy evidence.
Philip Selvaraj says
Move in to cover-up for government.
Caused opponent’s death, set up inquiry.
Investigate RM2,400 corruption. Closed-eye on RM24million.
Malaysian Heart says
Guantanamo Bad, PDRM Good, MACC Better!
timothy cheng says
MACC = Memang Ada Cacat Cela.
NBI, ACA, MACC, oh, next please!
Another RCI’s recommendations to be ignored?
Dulu samseng bermaharaja-lela, kini MACC pulak.
PDRM & MACC kini sama-sama anti-rakyat.
MACC more terror than James Bond.
tj wong says
Cry havoc, let loose the MACC.
Acting with impunity, lacking in humanity.
Drunk with authority, bullying fearful citizenry.
King Cat says
Don’t stop till they “drop dead”.
MACC wants to topple Selangor govt.
Khir Toyo – innocent, Pakatan Rakyat – guilty.
24 million – ok, 2,400 – wah, corruption!
How can rakyat trust MACC anymore?
siew eng says
MACC is Mana Ada Credibility Commission.
“Cina bodoh” – syndrome of inferiority complex.
MACC specialises in small corruption cases.
Fighting corruption not MACC’s top priority.
MACC’s top priority – topple Pakatan Rakyat.
Small [kids] doing an [adult’s] job?
Freedom? Only over *your* dead body.
MACC = Mostly Actors Cum Comedians!