August 18, 2012
Believe It or Not: MACC is one of the most esteemed of its kind, says European Partners Against Corruption President
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has won praise from a prominent international anti-corruption figure who described it as one of the world’s most esteemed of its kind among the international community.
By the same token, MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed is also one of the most recognised and esteemed among anti-corruption experts and the international community, says Martin Kreutner, the President of European Partners Against Corruption network (EPAC).
Abu Kassim is a member of the INTERPOL Group of Experts on Corruption (IGEC) and executive committee member of the International Academic Advisory Board of the Vienna-based International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA).
Kreutner, chairman of IACA, is currently visiting Malaysia.He told Bernama that IACA would soon sign a memorandum of understanding with MACC to establish a framework of cooperation for its first International Masters Programme in anti-corruption under which part of the programme would be conducted at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA) here.
MACA also conducts some international programmes and is the world’s first anti-corruption academy. The 24-month Masters Programme for anti-corruption professionals, police officers, judges and other enforcement agency officers, will be launched on Dec 9 to coincide with World Anti-Corruption Day.
It is the first full-pledged programme on the global corruption studies, addressing corruption from various perspectives and will have participants from all five continents and all regions.
Kreutner said it would not only incorporate the perspective of corruption and the law but also the perspective of corruption and science, corruption and security, corruption and politics and economics.
“The modules will reflect the common understanding and international cooperation in fighting corruption which has become very important and therefore we place strong emphasis on international cooperation,” he said.
Kreutner, a former head of the Austrian Anti-Corruption Commission, said the Arab Spring movement that toppled a number of Arab regimes over the last two years, was an example where because there was no political will from the top to combat corruption, the people had resorted to the revolutionary approach.
“One of the key elements of the Arab Spring movement was that the people had had enough of corruption. There is obviously a very strong understanding among the people that they didn’t want to be treated unjustly”.
He said the fight against corruption internationally had made vast improvements over the last decade with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption already adopted in the various regions.
Kreutner disclosed that when two heads of state in the Arab region had to step down at the height of the Arab Spring movement, it took only 30 minutes to have their illegal assets frozen in safe havens.
“If it had happened 10 years ago, it would have taken 30 months, if this had happened 25 years ago, some safe haven would say “bank secrecy, no information. Period. I think there is improvement, positive improvements, success stories but at the other end, let’s be frank, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“We also need to struggle in the future and it would also be an uphill battle. But there is hope at the end of the day. Interestingly, it’s the countries of the so-called developing world that are at the forefront and mean business.”
Asked on the educational approach to combat corruption, billed as the world’s second oldest profession, he said countries need to go into the inter-generational approach, starting with addressing children and youngsters.
“When I went to school and university where I studied law, corruption wasn’t mentioned a single time. Only when I specialised in criminal law, corruption was one issue, among many.
“I think it is very important, within the chapter of education, to raise awareness also among the people that this is not a small sum and it costs billions and billions a year to the country.
“Ultimately, corruption is against human rights. And corruption is the opposite of equity and equality. In this context, fighting corruption is also about the rule of law and good governance,” he added.
Kreutner said there would always be corruption in the future and efforts should be concentrated on gradual improvements and the need to go for the long-term perspective.
“If the politician or a manager promises you that he can eradicate corruption within half a year, with most due respect, most likely he is a liar. I’d rather see the glass half full than half empty,” he said.