Many border personnel involved in corruption

By RAHIMI YUNUS / Pic By AFP

Some 80% of security personnel and law enforcement officers along the Malaysian borders are involved in corrupt practices, based on statistics by the intelligence.

Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Financial Intelligence and Enforcement Department deputy director Zarifa Izan Zainol Abidin, in citing the report, said some of the officers are even found to be on the payroll of smugglers at the borders.

“We observed that smuggling offences are mostly perpetrated by crime syndicates.

“They abuse the long and porous borders and possibly assisted by complicit officials,” Zarifa Izan said during a session at the 10th International Conference on Financial Crime and Terrorism Financing 2018 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

She revealed that smuggling ranked second among 21 serious crimes assessed in the National Money Laundering (ML) and Terrorism Financing (TF) Risk Assessment (NRA) 2017.

The expert said consumables and electronic goods, alcohol, tobacco, mobile phones, firecrackers and rice are the common items smuggled into Malaysia, while electronic products and rubber tyres are normally moved out of the country.

The NRA 2017 ranked fraud, smuggling, corruption, illicit drug trafficking and organised crime as the top five crimes with high net risks among 21 serious crimes.

The NRA 2017’s sectoral assessment rated banks as having a high inherent risk and acceptable control measures for ML; while jewellers have medium-high risk and weak control measures for ML.

Casino was rated as medium inherent risk with strong control measures for TF.

Money services is rated as medium-high risk with acceptable control measures for both ML and TF.

For fraud, Interpol has reported that Malaysia has become a hub for love scams.

Zarifa Izan said between 2014 and 2016, approximately 50% of civil servants arrested for corruption were below 40 years old.

The NRA 2017 also rated terrorism and TF as medium-high risk.

Zarifa Izan said the rising threat is fuelled by Islamic State (IS) propaganda, as well as local militants’ affiliation with the Salafi Jihadi and Wahhabi ideologies.

She said about 95% to 98% of Malaysians were recruited via social media and online messaging apps.

Zarifa Izan also cited a finding by the Pew Research Centre that stated 11% of Malaysians show a favourable attitude towards IS, compared to the people in Lebanon (1%), Jordan (3%), Palestine (6%), Turkey (5%) and Indonesia (9%).

She added that potential initiatives including legal framework, policy and implementation framework, resources and structure, and awareness and training are among key focus to improving the country’s risk management on ML and TF.