Malaysia: MACC chief’s job at risk in UMNO disquiet over anti-corruption probes – 2 Oct 2017

  • TOP graft-buster Dzulkifli Ahmad can be proud of the higher cash seizures, more arrests and prosecution in his first year of running the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but that success could cost him his job.
  • There is growing disquiet within Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN) over Dzulkifli’s zest and apparent eagerness to nab those allegedly accepting bribes or involved in corrupt practices, especially government politicians.
  • Since taking office in Aug 16, Dzulkifli’s MACC has seized MYR334mn in assets compared with MYR55mn in 2015. MACC has also opened 952 investigation papers, up 2.94% y/y, brought 405 cases to court (up 32.83%); and made 910 arrests (up 6%).
  • The Umno Supreme Council meeting on 29 Sep 17 discussed several high-profile MACC cases and arrests these past few weeks with even the most “benign” warlords demanding action to stop the “aggressive” enforcement.
  • He has had several top successes, including the arrests of top officials from the Sabah Water Department and seizure of MYR114mn in cash and luxury goods, the arrest of Johor executive councillor Latif Bandi, arrest of Land Public Transport Commission acting chairman Isa Samad and a few other civil servants.
  • Isa’s arrest and five-day detention in Aug 17 over alleged graft in Felda Global Ventures Bhd caused an outrage among his Umno supporters and sparked the disquiet over Dzulkifli and the MACC’s aggressive investigation into big cases.
  • Last week, Dzulkifli also took on Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low, criticising him over the idea to form an Integrity and Good Governance Department to oversee the conduct of officers in five enforcement agencies, including MACC.
  • The MACC chief commissioner said the proposed department was a waste of funds, particularly when the government had cut the budget for recruitment of more officers for the various enforcement agencies.
  • Prime Minister Najib Razak on 1 Oct 17 announced the formation of the new department despite criticism from Dzulkifli, who has been described as overstepping the limits in criticising a minister.

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