New law proposed to weed out rotten civil servants

As published in Malay Mail today
KUALA LUMPUR — A special legislation is needed to deal with government officials who flaunt regulations and act against the interest of the public.
This was one of the five recommendations mooted by the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) as it focused on the misconduct of civil servants and the lack of action against them.
The board also noted refusals, delays and reluctance in taking disciplinary action by the disciplinary board of certain ministries or government departments “as well as the disproportionate sentences that were imposed on a public officer engaged in corruption”.
The statement was in conjunction with the submission of the board’s 2013 Reviews Report to the Special Committee on Corruption (SCC) on August 12.
ACAB and SCC are among the five entities which act as the check and balance mechanism to monitor Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) since 2009. The board said the recommendations were to sustain the independence, transparency and professionalism of the commission.
“The ACAB suggests any public servant, who is found guilty of any disciplinary charges, receive a punishment that commensurate with the offences committed to establish an element of deterrence,” the statement read.
But the board recognised the fact that MACC was unable to instruct any ministry or government department to take action against its personnel based on its report.
The other recommendations were to ensure companies were not exempted from prosecution and punishment, recordings made in MACC’s video interviewing rooms be accepted as evidence in court and candidates to fill key positions in government-linked and owned companies be screened by MACC to ensure they were free from corruption.
“ACAB is confident that with the right strategies and unwavering commitment, the commission will be a competent and respected anti-corruption agency,” the board's chairman Puan Sri Zaitun Zawiyah Puteh said.
MACC, had on August 13, said it was “slighted and would request for a written explanation from the appropriate authority” as to why Kedah secretary Datuk Wira Mohd Puat Mohd Ali was “let free” following a front page exclusive by Malay Mail entitled, “Probed by MACC, made state secretary”, published on the same day.
Investigations by the commission revealed Mohd Puat, who was then state financial officer, had awarded three roadworks contracts worth RM980,000 each to three companies without referring them to the state secretary or the state council meetings.
MACC deemed Mohd Puat’s actions as a “conflict of interest” as one of the contractors used another firm to carry out renovations to his brother-in-law’s house, which he later moved into.
MACC sent a letter and its report to the state secretary’s office on May 13 last year, saying Mohd Puat had broken the Kedah Public Officers (Conduct and Discipline) Regulations 2007 and that disciplinary action be taken against him.
However, on June 5, 2013, Mohd Puat was named state secretary, replacing Datuk Wira Rasli Basir.
Mohd Puat, had in a Malay Mail report, insisted he was cleared of any wrongdoing. He had claimed there was a concerted move to get rid of him as he was retiring on November 4.
State Public Services Commission secretary Ahmad Termizi Abdul Rani was unaware of the report, adding he only assumed duties from Sharhida Nazuha recently.
Despite repeated emails and phone calls, efforts to get Public Service Commission secretary Datuk Ramli Juhari remained futile.


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