Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Independence of MACC and JAC must be assured

The bills for the establishment of the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Judiciary Appointments Commission (JAC) had been tabled in the parliament recently by the prime minister and now its papers had been put to debate.

We could see from the details of these two proposed bills that the appointment of commissioners for these two commissions still lies on the jurisdictions of the prime minister himself. Apart from the commissioners’ appointment, the appointment of the advisory panels, the operations review panel, the consultative panel and the complaints committee for the MACC also lies on the sole discretion of the prime minister.

So, are the independence of MACC and JACC rest assured? As long as it still have direct connections with the prime minister’s department, the independence of these two commissions are still questionable and doubtful. To give a simple word on these, there are no clear cut for a real implementations but merely intend to create a final legacy for Pak Lah whose term is due to end next March following his departure from the Umno presidency.

In this case, in order to assured the public and our parliamentarians, both the MACC and JAC should come under the direct jurisdiction of a parliamentary committee against corruption and a parliamentary committee on judiciary respectively.

Therefore, the appointment of commissioners to the both MACC and JAC should also be scrutinized and endorsed by both parliamentary committees appointed amongst members of parliament which shall consist of members from both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional as well. The prime minister’s role in such appointment shall only be at proposal level and not direct appointment nor confirmation.

Besides, the appointment of five panels to oversee the MACC must also be done and endorsed by the parliament instead of the prime minister. To have the parliamentary roles onto such appointments will also help to enhance the transparency and accountability of these bodies and commissions as well as to assured the public of its independence.

If Pak Lah and the Barisan Nasional government still insist on the current proposed structural role of both MACC and the JAC, it is just like nothing has really been done at all, but merely an upgrade of status of these two bodies has been carried out.

Our main concern here, can the independence of these two commissions rest assured? And what are the justification then?

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