Citing 1MDB, SRC International, MACC urges govt to amend law to expose real owners in companies

Danial Dzulkifly

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Latheefa Koya speaks during the Regional Workshop on Promoting Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Southeast Asia in Kuala Lumpur July 22, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, July 22 — The new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief hopes the government will soon table in Parliament its plan to compel companies to disclose the identities of the shadowy owners who are unnamed in the register but profit from the business.

Latheefa Koya said the proposed amendment to the MACC Act 2009 is necessary to expose the real owners in companies who often hide behind proxies and cited the ongoing court cases of the scandal-tainted 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd as examples.

“The SRC International’s case which is currently on trial and other big cases that have been charged in court by MACC, particularly the 1MDB and the one that involves the former deputy prime minister, are clear examples why such strong law on beneficial ownership, the topic of this workshop, becomes more important.

“Companies are being used in these cases to cloud the eyes of the enforcement agencies and to legalise their financial gains and or to use their companies to get financial gains without having to reveal their involvement in the companies,’’ she said in her keynote address at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Regional Workshop on Promoting Beneficial Ownership Transparency in Southeast Asia here.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that his government’s plan to amend the MACC Act so that the authorities can legally force the disclosure of the real beneficial owners of an enterprise under investigation.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is currently on trial for alleged misappropriation of RM42 million in sovereign funds from SRC International.

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