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Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving award to Datuk Richard Morais during the Launching Ceremony of Perdana International Anti-Corruption Champion Fund today. (BERNAMA)

PUTRAJAYA: The late senior deputy public prosecutor Datuk Anthony Kevin Morais may have long passed but his commitment, determination and contributions towards fighting corruption is one legacy which lives on.

Morais was named as one of the two recipients of the International Anti-Corruption Award 2020 at the Perdana International Anti-Corruption Champion Fund (PIACCF) launch, here tonight.

Morais was abducted and murdered while on his way to work in September 2015, while investigating a corruption scandal.

His body was chopped up and put into a cement drum before it was discovered and confirmed through a DNA test.

The other award recipient was Novel Baswedan, the Head of Investigator for Indonesian’s Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).

Novel, from Jakarta, Indonesia, was attacked on April 11, 2017. He was returning from dawn prayers near his house in Kelapa Gading in North Jakarta when he was sprayed with chemical-laced water by his attackers.

He survived the attack but lost sight in one eye as a result.

Both men were honoured for their bravery in fighting and exposing corruption activities in their respective countries.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad presented the awards to Novel and Morais' brother Datuk Richard Morais, who accepted the posthumous award on his late brother's behalf.

Dr Mahathir paid tribute to the men's courage and determination to eradicate corruption.

"These are among the men who deserve to be hailed as heroes for going all out in the fight against corruption and the danger and threats that come with the job. These two men are some of the most dedicated men who paid a very heavy price for their battle against corruption," said the prime minister in his keynote speech.

Dr Mahathir said the fund is not only special but also important because it acts as a support system for anti-corruption officers who had been victimised and subjected to persecution in the line of duty.

"We know that combatting and exposing corruption are very dangerous and the world has witnessed many of those who attempted to do so pay dearly, even with their lives.

"Obviously, those who involve themselves in corruption are powerful and rich. Their objective is normally to gain more power and wealth and these people are powerful enough to punish and stop anyone who tries to end their shenanigans.

"We are here to tell the world that all the anti-corruption officers who had paid heavy prices in the course of their duty are our champions and our heroes," he said.

Dr Mahathir also added a special mention for former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, former Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz and former Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner

Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull for their role in exposing the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad giving the award to Investigator Komisi Pembasmian Korupsi (KPK) Novel Baswedan during the Launching Ceremony of Perdana International Anti-Corruption Champion Fund today. (BERNAMA)

Dr Mahathir said 1MDB is a significant case which became the turning point of Malaysia’s political direction and sparked an awakening among Malaysians.

"Their collective courage and determination brought a kleptocratic regime to its feet, in an unprecedented show of people’s power. I would also like to express my utmost regards for all the men and women across the globe who had given their time, lives and commitment in putting an end to the corruption scourge.”

Among those present at the PIACCF launch were United Nation’s Resident Coordinator Stefan Priesner; National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) director-general Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed: International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA) representative Martin Kreutner; the prime minister's wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali as well as cabinet ministers.

Kreutner, meanwhile, said the fund was created to help anti-corruption agents, with the larger aim of enabling anti-corruption agencies to be independent and fight for the truth without fear.

The establishment was set up in line with the United Nation Conventions Against Corruption's (UNCAC) code which makes protection compulsory for graft busters, who are state members of IAACA.

Kreutner added that the setting up of the fund followed the adoption to establish the fund at IAACA General Conference in Vienna, in Jan last year.

Malaysia started the fund with a RM500,000 contribution, followed by Yayasan Bukhari which donated RM2.5 million.

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