Why get MACC to draw up ethics code, economist asks

why get macc to draw up ethics code, economist asks

Political economist Edmund Terence Gomez resigned from an MACC panel last year over the agency’s failure to discuss reports linked to its chief commissioner, Azam Baki.

PETALING JAYA: An economist has questioned the government’s wisdom of assigning the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to draw up a code of ethics for heads of government-linked firms and judges.

“The prime minister must surely be aware that the credibility of MACC is being questioned after its chief commissioner was alleged to have ownership of a huge volume of corporate equity,” Edmund Terence Gomez told FMT.

Gomez resigned from MACC’s consultation and corruption prevention panel last December over its failure to discuss reports alleging that MACC chief Azam Baki had extensive ownership of corporate stock.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob recently said MACC would come up with a new code of ethics in relation to the directive to judges and heads of government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies to declare their assets to the anti-graft body.

Gomez said GLCs should be properly defined, noting that many institutions were collectively classified as such.

“Does the government even know how many GLCs there are in the country?” he asked.

The definition of GLCs covers companies incorporated under the Companies Act, statutory bodies, foundations, special purpose vehicles and development financial institutions.

He said he wondered whether the government was willing to release a list of all the people who received stipends for serving as GLC directors.

Without such a list, he said, MACC would not know the people required to declare their assets.

Gomez also asked whether Putrajaya would make the list public. “This will inspire public confidence that the prime minister is serious about monitoring public expenditure by GLCs,” he said.

He said the initiatives the prime minister announced might not be taken seriously if there was no effort to subject MACC to scrutiny, beginning with an investigation into the allegations against Azam.

He also called for a thorough review of the GLC ecosystem, saying this was urgent.

“In August 2021, the government announced its Perkukuh Pelaburan Rakyat plan, an endeavour focusing on instilling good governance within the GLC ecosystem. What has happened since?” he asked.

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