by Kuek Ser Kuang Keng@www.malaysiakini.com
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission investigates all allegations of corruption made to it, but it is the Attorney-General's Chambers that refuses to file in court some of the cases the MACC deems valid.
"Come, show me which case has not been investigated by MACC. There is not even one case that we did not investigate," its Deputy Commissioner (Operations) Mohd Shukri Abdull (left) told a forum in Shah Alam today.
"The problem is, many people want the cases to be charged in court, but if you ask me on this issue, you are asking the wrong person. To us, there are valid cases (to be charged in court), but to the Deputy Public Prosecutor, there is no case to answer, so what can we do?" Shukri told the participants, who responded with loud cries of lawan (fight).
Giving the audience a dry smile, Shukri replied: "How to fight? MACC has no (prosecution) power."
The articulate senior officer who has 27 years of combating graft behind him, was trying his best to convince the excited audience that MACC was free from political interference and doing its best to haul up corrupt politicians to face the music.
The cheers and applause from the floor suggested that his explanation was well received by the hundreds at the forum titled "Political Bribery: Reality or Perception", organised by Malay daily Sinar Harian.
"If my officers and I were to act according to our hearts, we would arrest all! But we can't, because the charges must be based on evidence, not sentiment," Shukri said, attracting another round of applause from the floor.
The forum's moderator was International Islamic University of Malaysia lecturer Maslee Malik. Responding to Shukri’s ‘complaint’ Rafizi quickly came to his defence.
“MACC has no prosecution power"
"If you want to blame, don’t blame Shukri but blame Abdul Rahman because he is the member of Special Parliamentar yCommittee on Anti-Corruption,” said Rafizi. And Shukri who was sitting beside him immediately extended his hand and shook with Rafizi, sending the audience into fits of guffaws.
Rafizi then took potshots at Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s earlier promise that MACC will be given more power should BN retain two-thirds parliamentary majority in the next general election.
“If I were the Prime Minister, no need to amend the constitution just replace the attorney-general with someone who can work with the MACC,” he suggested.
Abdul Rahman (right) then criticised Rafizi for not respecting the principle of separation of powers, pointing out that should the MACC be given both the power to investigate and prosecute, it would create another problem.
Rafizi quickly corrected Abdul Rahman that he was suggesting to change the A-G, not to give MACC prosecution power, but Abdul Rahman claimed that it was the stance of Pakatan Rakyat representative in the parliamentary committee.
Earlier, Shukri also stressed that his officers in the commission, though having different political inclinations are very professional when it comes to carrying out their duties.
“I have to be very transparent here. My dad and mum are green colour, but people don’t know what colour I am, even my parents don’t know, that is my right. “When it comes to investigation, I’m professional, I’m colour-blind,” he added.