Claims of integrity pact not meeting international standards inaccurate, says MACC

PUTRAJAYA: The view that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) Integrity Pact has failed to meet international standards is inaccurate, as it had been improved with clear and relevant guidelines, says its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki.

He said the proposal for the involvement of an independent party to ensure transparency in the entire procurement process is not bound under any legal provision that requires it to be implemented at national or international level.

“The improved Integrity Pact has clear guidelines, in addition to the new provisions included such as Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009, it is seen to be relevant in terms of its implementation for now.

“The involvement of third parties to monitor government projects also depends on the type of project because not all projects are suitable for third parties to be involved due to factors of government interest and confidentiality, for example, projects involving law enforcement agencies or public and national defence,” he told reporters recently in conjunction with MACC’s 55th anniversary on Saturday (Oct 1).

Azam did not deny that there are countries that practice such a mechanism to ensure transparency in procurement matters, but added that it would depend on the country and current needs.

Azam stressed that the absence of a monitoring third party does not mean that the Integrity Pact cannot be implemented effectively.

“In fact, until today, there is no study that shows the issue of corruption and abuse of power or the issue of leakages of government revenue can be completely overcome with the presence of an independent monitoring party,” he said.

In addition, he said through the appointment of a third party, questions will arise regarding the cost of the project with service fees and the value of the cost should be considered for that purpose.

However, Azam said MACC would welcome any improvements in the future for the benefit of all parties.

He said the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption (JKKMAR) held last year had recommended five improvements and one of them is to carry out further studies for the independent monitoring pilot project.

“If the pilot project proves effective and there is a need to include a third party as an independent watchdog to improve the transparency of every government procurement matter, then MACC will also accept the improvement for the benefit of all,” he said.

The implementation of the Integrity Pact in government procurement is one of the initiatives under the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) on Corruption and was enforced on June 1.

Azam said it was among the 111 initiatives implemented under the National Anti-Corruption Plan (NACP) 2019-2023 to improve integrity, combat corrupt practices and avoid any issues related to conflict of interest in government procurement. – Bernama