The Success of Indonesia’s Anti-Corruption Commission – A Model to Emulate

If there is an important message from the latest survey findings of Transparency International-Malaysia (TI-M), that message is not just about how 45% of 2,032 respondents viewed political parties as the most corrupt, followed by the police (42%), civil servants (31%) and so forth, but rather it’s about the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s expanded power to prosecute.

The proposed amendments to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009 is expected to be tabled in Parliament by June or September this year. Amongst all, there will be an insertion of corporate liability provision to ensure that corporate entities are free of corruption through enabling entities to be liable for bribed or violation by employees. [1]  Moreover, there are also proposals of establishing the Anti-Corruption Officers Services Commission and regarding the appointment of the chief commissioner of MACC, as the MACC chief commissioner’s post should be upgraded to be on par with important posts such as the Attorney General and the Auditor General. [2]

Think-tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) welcomed the efforts to propose amendments to the MACC Act, as to show MACC’s seriousness and determination to improve and enhance its performance and effectiveness in fighting corruption at all levels, particularly taking into account the circumstance in which the MACC seemed helpless to exert its authority and power by taking action against those officials of public bodies involved in corruption cases.

Nonetheless, KPRU opined that the kernel of the ineffectiveness of MACC lies within the jurisdiction and operational system of the MACC. In fact, these are the main factors that shackled the MACC’s professionalism and independence in preventing and dealing with cases of corruption in this country.

Therefore, KPRU has particularly made a detailed study of the anti-corruption entities in our neighbouring country, namely the Corruption Eradication Commission of Indonesia (Komisi Pemberantasan Korupsi, KPK), which has emerged as an exceptional anti-corruption agency with a 100% conviction rate against top officials in all major branches of the Indonesian government in a mere five-year-time. The study comprised of its jurisdiction, powers and capacities, operational system, human resources, as well as the Anti-Corruption Courts set up in Indonesia, in order to pinpoint the key elements that contribute to the success of KPK and of which should MACC emulate.

First and foremost, the KPK which is modelled after the Hong Kong Independent Commission against Corruption (ICAC), was not provided with prevention and investigation powers, but also endowed with prosecutorial powers. With the prosecutorial powers, anti-corruption investigations carried out by the KPK could therefore be fruitful without needing to rely on the Attorney-General’s Office – whose integrity was already tainted.

Secondly, the reason for the effectiveness of KPK lies in the efficient adjudication of the anti-corruption court of Indonesia, namely the TIPIKOR. The principal reason for its establishment was the perception amongst reformers that the corruption in Indonesia’s existing judicial institutions could, to a large extent, render the KPK ineffective as the courts’ decision could be compromised by corruption. Thus, there is a need for an independent anti-corruption court enhance corruption conviction rates. With TIPIKOR, speedy trials are made possible. By law and practice, all corruption trials handled by the KPK could be completed within eight months, including the time taken for the TIPIKOR verdict to be appealed to and decided by the Supreme Court. In addition, a guilty verdict rendered by the TIPIKOR is immediately executable.

Another big factor in the KPK’s productivity is undoubtedly the composition and capability of its personnel. KPK’s recruitment of investigators and prosecutors is highly selective to ensure their quality. The investigators and prosecutors of the KPK are chosen mainly from applicants from the Indonesian National Police and the Attorney-General’s Office. As of 2012, KPK had about 750 personnel, which was around one third the size of MACC, yet it is far more productive.

Full report: https://kprumalaysia.org/2014/05/21/kejayaan-kpk-indonesia-jadikannya-iktibar/

[1] http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/cadangan-pindaan-akta-sprm-untuk-pastikan-entiti-korporat-bebas-rasuah

[2] http://www.theborneopost.com/2014/04/11/sprm-kumpul-input-bagi-cadangan-pindaan-akta-sprm/

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