Letting MACC prosecute would create conflict of interest, Hanipa says

Zurairi Ar
Mohamad Hanipa Maidin says the MACC serves an investigative role and giving it prosecutorial powers could invite questions over the impartiality of its actions. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 — Mohamad Hanipa Maidin disagreed with PKR’s Nurul Izzah Anwar over the need to grant the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) prosecutorial powers after a minister was acquitted of a graft charge yesterday.

The deputy minister in charge of legal affairs at the Prime Minister’s Department told Malaysiakini the MACC serves an investigative role and giving it such powers could invite questions over the impartiality of its actions.

“For me, while the suggestion is good on one hand, it may result in a conflict of interest,” he was quoted saying.

“The MACC, like the police, is an investigation agency. It's task is to investigate. If an investigation agency is given the powers to prosecute, then, with respect, it is not good practice or a universally adopted practice.”

The Parti Amanah Negara’s Sepang MP explained under Article 145 (3) of the Federal Constitution, the attorney-general has neither the need nor statutory duty to explain his decision.

“Relatively, an accused person could be easily be freed [or gain an acquittal],” said the former lawyer.

Nurul Izzah yesterday reiterated her stance that the MACC be vested with such powers, following the controversy of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s acquittal.

The MACC expressed “shock” yesterday after the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) withdrew its case against Lim and businesswoman Phang Li Koon over alleged corruption in the sale of a Penang home previously.

While the prosecutors applied for a conditional discharge, the High Court disagreed and fully acquitted both Lim and Phang.

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