Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad has hit out at Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Paul Low’s proposal for a new Department of National Integrity and Good Governance (JITN).
Dzulkifli said the minister should be asking for more allocation for MACC, to increase its budget, assets and workforce, and to improve the staff’s welfare, instead of forming a new agency.
He chided Low (photo) for reportedly saying that JITN would ensure that MACC properly investigates corruption cases and charges perpetrators effectively.
“Who is this minister? Who is the minister to control how we investigate cases?
“We are supposed to be independent. If the excuse of forming the JITN is to monitor MACC, why should I report to him?”
Dzulkifli questioned why there was an urgent need to set up the agency when budgets for all departments and agencies have been cut.
“How come there is money to set up the JITN?” a flabbergasted Dzulkifli asked.
“I am quite serious about this and we have strongly opposed the matter when it was raised in the cabinet,” he added after attending an anti-corruption programme in Balik Pulau, Penang.
JITN approved by the cabinet
Dzulkifli was responding to Low, who said the proposed new entity, JITN, was being reviewed by the Public Service Department (JPA).
The cabinet on July 28 approved the setting up of the JITN, in line with the Government Transformation Programme, for the institutionalisation of compliance initiatives in the fields of governance, integrity and human rights.
According to Bernama, Low said the Integrity and Good Governance Division under the Prime Minister’s Department was being upgraded into JITN, which would be a full department.
“JITN is set up to lead the transformation of change to build institutional capacity, especially among civil servants and drive policy changes and empower the government’s processes,” Bernama reported Low as saying in a statement issued in Putrajaya yesterday.
The minister added that the transformation initiatives would require enforcement agencies such as the MACC to strengthen and focus on key functions.