Cooperation from witnesses is important to MACC, as without it, it is a hard fight against corruption, said MACC deputy chief commissioner Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil . Pix by NSTP

CIVIL servants who reject bribes but chose to close an eye to them will face a law that has never been used before.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is impelled to unleash Section 25(1) and (2) of the MACC Act 2009 as their mission to keep corruption out of the public delivery system has been hampered by their apathy towards the war against graft.

It has not slipped the commission that there are cases where they know of indiscretions by colleagues, but choose to turn the other away.

These legal clauses will legally criminalise those who fail to report on the crime when they see or know of any. If found guilty, they could be liable for a fine of up to RM100,000 or a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, or both.

MACC chief commissioner Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad recently revealed that civil servants involved in enforcement were among the major culprits for compromises in the delivery system and that if they said “no to graft, a host of problems the country has been seeing will be resolved”.

Dzulkifli’s deputy, Datuk Shamsun Baharin Mohd Jamil, who is in charge of prevention initiatives, said the commission’s records showed that only about 0.0001 per cent of the 1.6 million civil servants had come forward to report corruption between 2011 and last year.

The number, he said, was incredibly low, considering that the government was ready to offer them ringgit-for-ringgit incentives for reporting bribery and corruption.  

The issue, compounded by the low take up rate, he said, was why the commission had to resort to the piece of legislation to force them to report corruption and abuse of power around them.

“To my knowledge, the commission had never used provisions under Section 25(1) and (2) of the MACC Act to charge those who fail to report bribery attempts.

“But, under the Anti-Corruption Revolution Movement (Gerah) we launched recently, we will leverage on all available laws against corruption.

“Like what Dzulkifli said, our aim is to change the mindset of the people and make them say no to corruption,” he told the New Straits Times.

Section 25(1) of the act stipulates that anyone who is offered or given gratification shall report the action, and if available, name the person who gave or made the offer to police or MACC.

Section 25(2) serves to make the offence punishable with the fine and jail term.

Shamsun said Section 25 could also be applied against members of the public who fail to report bribe solicited from them.

“Civil servants and the public should not worry about coming forward as they will be protected under the Witness Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Act.

“Just come to us and lodge a report. We will initiate investigation and collect evidence to make the case.

“Cooperation from witnesses is important to MACC, as without it, it is a hard fight against corruption,” he said.

NST had reported that MACC had set a three-year deadline for Malaysia to move high up the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Dzulkifli was reported as saying that the aim to stem corrupt norms in society began with public office holders and civil service, adding that Gerah meant “put-ting the heat on the corrupt”.