Dewan Rakyat passes bill on anti-financial crime centre

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By BERNAMA

LAWMAKERS passed legislation yesterday to establish a central coordinating agency to combat financial crimes in Malaysia. The National Anti-Financial Crime Centre (NAFCC) Bill 2019 was approved by a simple majority voice vote after a four-hour debate in the Dewan Rakyat.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s (PM) Department (Law) Datuk Liew Vui Keong (picture) said the NAFCC is in tandem with the government’s effort to fill its coffers and curb mismanagement of public funds.

Liew said the NAFCC will allow for better handling of inter-agency criminal cases such as cigarette smuggling which would also have elements of bribery, tax evasion and dubious transactions.

“We will be able to monitor effectively. If we are able to do that, the financial crimes will be reduced. Thank you to all MPs who are matured and debated the subject matter well. If everything goes well, it will be launched in January,” Liew told reporters at the Parliament lobby on Wednesday.

The centre will act as a principal body that will coordinate the efforts of 12 enforcement agencies in tackling crimes linked to illegal outflows of money from the country.

These agencies include the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Bank Negara Malaysia among others.

The Act is to provide the coordination of the integrated operation relating to financial crime among government entities, enforcement agencies and the management of centralised data system.

According to Liew, NAFCC will allow for better handling of inter-agency criminal cases such as cigarette smuggling which would also have elements of bribery, tax evasion and dubious transactions.

The body will be made up of an advisory board headed by a chairman, director-general and five members appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the PM. The appointments will be for a period not exceeding three years with eligibility for reappointment upon the expiry of their term.

The advisory board will advise the PM on any aspect related to financial crimes, including making recommendations on related matters.

The proposed law states that the NAFCC will have no prosecution power for an offence under the Act, except with the written consent of the attorney general.

The centre, however, has the capacity to order any person who has any relevant document or is capable of giving any information relating to financial crime.