PUTRAJAYA, July 20 – Section 17A of the MACC Act 2009, which came into force on June 1, is the perfect weapon to curtail corruption at a time when companies struggling to keep afloat may consider bribery to earn a quick profit.
Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Deputy Chief Commissioner (Prevention) Datuk Shamshun Baharin Mohd Jamil said while there have been positive developments in the nation’s economic recovery post the Movement Control Order (MCO), the agency is concerned that businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis might lean towards corrupt practices to earn profits.
Speaking at a press conference here recently to explain what Section 17A is all about, he said the new provision is timely in view of the reopening of various economic sectors during the Recovery MCO (RMCO) period.
“It (Section 17A) is a reminder to commercial organisations not to get involved in corruption in their zeal to make a profit post-MCO.
“It’s common knowledge that the risk of engaging in corrupt practices is high in the commercial sector, particular when it comes to bidding for tenders for projects and contracts worth millions of ringgit,” he said.
Section 17A of the MACC Act, which was passed by Parliament on April 5, 2018, introduces corporate liability to commercial organisations in Malaysia, with the aim of fostering the growth and development of a corruption-free business environment.
Under the new section, commercial organisations and associated persons can be subjected to legal proceedings should the “person associated with the commercial organisation commit corruption offences or promise gratification to any person with an intent to obtain or retain business or an advantage in the conduct of business for the commercial organisation”.
Prior to the introduction of Section 17A, the MACC Act only focused on the prosecution of a natural person involved in corruption. In law, a natural person is defined as an actual person as opposed to an organisation.
However, under Section 17A, companies involved in corruption activities will be subjected to legal action.
Any commercial organisation found guilty under Section 17A faces a fine not less than 10 times the value of the bribe or RM1 million, whichever is higher, or jail term of up to 20 years, or both.