Corruption in govt procurement critical – Azam Baki

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

CORRUPTION cases resulting in leakage of government procurement involving civil servants are seen to be increasingly critical, said Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki (picture).

Without revealing more, he said that 50 per cent of such cases involved government agencies.

“I can say that, based on the MACC analysis, such wastages are common in the public sector, where they (the top leadership of government agencies) who are in power in deciding a matter (government procurement) are involved in misappropriation and abuse of power.

“When there is a leakage of government procurement, our investigation shows that there is an element of corruption that causes a certain value of government procurement to rise,” he told Bernama in conjunction with the 53rd MACC Anniversary today.

For example, Azam said that if a government procurement is worth RM1 million then the value of corruption will also increase.

“It is not only that the value of corruption increases but it also affects the quality of the project. For example, the latest case involving a road upgrade project in Sarawak, where the quality of the project has been reduced so that it is prone to damage and causes a loss of millions of ringgit to the government,” he said.

Azam said the MACC needed to have experts in the matter and to work with the Public Works Department (PWD).

In early September, Bernama reported that the MACC had arrested two directors of a company with the title of Datuk suspected of corruption and submitting false claims worth tens of millions of ringgit in connection with the implementation of 10 road upgrading projects in Sarawak worth RM800 million.

Asked whether such cases occurred in the private sector, Azam said MACC had received reports involving the private sector but the number was not as worrying as in the public sector.

“The MACC’s intention is to investigate both parties (public and private sectors) if it involves government procurement and to bring them to court,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the effort to turn Malaysia into a corruption-free country, Azam said that it demanded the MACC be mature in all its actions involving enforcement, prevention and community education in combating corruption.

“Presently as we are living in the new norms in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic, also for the next few years, the situation poses challenges to the MACC in its struggle towards zero corruption or creating a corruption-free society.

“Before COVID-19, the MACC went out into the field to give briefings and conduct campaigns against corruption to the community, but since COVID-19, the MACC uses a lot of video and social media approaches to interact with the community,” he said.

Apart from that, Azam said that the MACC also included an element of anti-corruption education in the textbook of Year Five students which will come into effect in 2021.

“Apart from preventive measures, the MACC also focuses on educating society in improving the integrity of individuals, especially involving the future of the civil service sector,” he said.