Review projects to eradicate corruption, abuse of power, Anwar told

25 Feb 2023 11:52pm
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Photo: Bernama
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. Photo: Bernama

SHAH ALAM - Projects that were undertaken during the emergency period need to be reviewed to ensure no occurence of corruption or abuse of power.

The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Centre) acting chief executive officer Pushpan Murugiah said all procurements must go through a transparent process with proper oversight.

"The case of the ventilators is an example of how emergency procurement can be abused," he told Sinar Daily.

"We are also concerned about a new trend of using corporate social responsibility (CSR) to bypass regulations on procurement process," he added.

Pushpan said the center welcomed the tabling of the Procurement Act and amendment to the Whistleblower Protection Act as both have been overdue, hoping that this will be the government's genuine attempt to reform the law.

"The Prime Minister must follow up this announcement with real action by urgently tabling these without further delay in the nearest parliamentary session," Pushpan stressed.

He also noted two major concerns that require reform intervention which the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim failed to address.

Firstly, the independence of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), describing the trust deficit between the public and the agency as 'extremely worrying'.

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"Anwar has not addressed the concerns of making MACC more independent by announcing any reforms towards this commission including placing it under the purview of parliament in the immediate future," he said when contacted.

"There was also no mention of long term constitutional amendments to elevate the MACC to the level of a constitutional body similar to that of the election commission," he added.

He stated that these initiatives will go a long way to gain the public trust in the commission and its ability to act independently yet no budget was announced to cater for these efforts and reforms.

Secondly, a major concern regarding regulation on political financing as the scrooge of money politics has become uncontrollable.

"The latest cases involving the Jana Wibawa initiative are serious issues of money politics that are linked to political financing," he said, adding that reforms in these areas will hopefully be expedited and sufficient funds allocated to carry out this initiative.

Pushpan also pointed out the lack of mention on the status of the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) which is due in December this year.

He explained that the NACP provided many initiatives and strategies that needs to be implemented that will help the fight against corruption.

"This entails legislating new laws, such as the Ombudsman law, Freedom of Information Law, all of which would require sufficient budget allocation to legislate, operate and maintain yet there was no indication of it," he said.

"C4 would like to ask the PM, what is the government position in completing the NACP which was started by Pakatan Harapan government themselves in 2019?" he questioned.

He added that the Prime Minsiter should furnish the people with expected timelines to complete the NACP should he have plans to extend it.

Yesterday, Anwar re-tabled a revised Budget 2023, with a total allocation of RM386.14 billion.

This represented a RM15.8 billion increase compared to the RM372.3 billion initially allocated by the previous government.

From the total, operational expenditure amounted to RM289 billion, with RM99 billion for development expenditure.

Anwar who is also the Finance Minister said six flood mitigation projects will be retendered immediately by June this year.

He said it included the Flood Mitigation Projects in Sungai Johor, Kota Tinggi, Johor and construction of dual-function reservoir for flood mitigation and raw water supply in Sungai Rasau and Sungai Klang, Selangor.

He also mentioned another project namely the Phase 3 Integrated River Basin Development Project in Sungai Golok, Kelantan.

The Tambun MP said the high-impact projects must be conducted by tender to guarantee the best interest value and saves government funds.

He said the action also aims to ensure the flood mitigation project can reach its goal.