Minister: Give MACC powers to prosecute if AG decides not to

Ida Lim
Khalid (centre) proposed for the MACC to also have powers to bring charges in court. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 4 ― The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should be given the powers to prosecute in situations where the Attorney-General (AG) decides not to prosecute, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Samad said today.

Khalid said the proposal for the investigative body to have prosecutorial powers was in fact previously raised by Pakatan Harapan (PH) and will “most likely be part of the reforms that we bring”.

“We agree that MACC should be given the right to prosecute in the event that the AG decides not to prosecute,” he told reporters here, but said the MACC currently cannot prosecute directly as the relevant laws have to be amended first.

He said the current system is where the MACC investigates before presenting it to the AG for the latter to decide whether or not to prosecute, but proposed for the MACC to also have powers to bring charges in court.

“So if the AG feels the case is not strong, but MACC feels it is strong, then MACC should be given the right to bring to court,” he said.

The Parti Amanah Negara communications director was asked to respond to Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar’s backing of a proposal for the MACC to be given prosecutorial powers.

The matter was raised following the controversy over the High Court’s acquittal yesterday of Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon of corruption charges over the purchase of a double-storey standalone house below market value when Lim was Penang chief minister.

Khalid today highlighted however that the decision to acquit Lim was a decision made by the judge, and not a decision made by either the MACC or the AG.

Earlier today, the Attorney-General’s Chambers’ head of appellate and trial division Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria noted that AG Tommy Thomas had already recused himself from making any decisions involving Lim’s case.

Hanafiah also clarified that he was tasked to and had personally decided to not continue prosecutions against Phang and Lim, as he believed that new evidence that surfaced would mean the prosecution’s case against the duo would not succeed.

Hanafiah said the prosecution had asked for a discharge not amounting to acquittal, but said the court had decided to discharge and acquit the duo.

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