Choose MACC chief wisely

THE appointment of the new MACC chief commissioner will be made on Aug 1. This important appointment can have a very strong impact on the country’s political, social and economic future.

Corruption is the cause of many of our socio, economic and even political ills. These serious weaknesses are already severely eroding our national progress, well-being and future.

It is, therefore, of vital importance that the government makes the right choice.

Ideally, the public should be consulted over this choice of the new chief commissioner, to be fair to us all, and to ensure the new MACC chief has wide national support for his/her appointment and the great challenges the new chief will face in combating corruption more effectively.

With a ranking of 54 out of 157 countries in the Corruption Perception Index, our performance is still dismal and discouraging. Hence, we need a new thrust to fight corruption and a new process for selecting the new
chief commissioner.

At least the Special Committee on Anti-Corruption in Parliament should be consulted and its approval obtained for the new MACC chief if broader public consultation and consideration cannot be undertaken at this time.

The special committee has three government MPs, three opposition members and is chaired by the Speaker of the Senate. Thus, its credentials are first rate and it should be fully consulted and should give its views publicly on the choice, so the rakyat will be given more confidence in the choice of the new chief commissioner.

What are some of the criteria that the government could use in selecting the new chief commissioner?

Firstly, he should be appointed from within the MACC and no outsider should be considered. An insider will have the vast experience, the competence, the operational know-how on the ground and the dedication that has been built over the many years in combating the scourge of corruption.

Secondly, the new chief commissioner should be someone of impeccable honesty and integrity. There is no sense in having someone who has had a chequered and sleazy record or who is even of doubtful integrity.

Thirdly, the candidate must be strong in personality, character and commitment to the great cause of going all out against corruption, before it spreads further in our system like cancer. He or she has to be able to stand up firmly and steadfastly against any political and commercial interference from any quarter, high or low.

Fourthly, the candidate has to be an inspirational leader in order to rally MACC to a new stage in the war against corruption. He has to treat it as a struggle against corruption that otherwise will continue to undermine our national morality, productivity and progress.

Fifthly , the new chief commissioner must be someone who the public respects for professionalism, fairness and impartiality
at all times.

The new chief commissioner cannot be even suspected of political, social and commercial preferences.

Finally, the above criteria for the choice of the new chief can be supplemented. But what is paramount is that the choice should be transparent, consultative and be seen to be fair to the public.

Only then will there be greater public confidence in the MACC and stronger support for its noble efforts to reduce if not stamp out the curse of corruption from our beloved country.

Malaysians now wait with bated breath for the appointment of the new chief commissioner, as it will show the extent of our government’s sincerity and political will to prevent us falling deeper into the well of corruption.

Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam

Chairman, Asli Centre of Public Policy Studies

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