The MACC transformation programme took effect as result of the sucide incident which involved a political aide to an Opposition Party at the premises of a MACC State Office in 2009 after he was taken into custody for questioning by the MACC. This incident brought serious implications to MACC. Public confidence eroded, politicians took advantage of the incident and made it a political agenda for their own political mileage. The issue was never allowed to rest even after the inquest and the recently concluded Royal Commission of Inquiry. The transformation process of ACA to MACC were perceived a failure
While all this happened, the year 2010 showcased a change in leadership of MACC. Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed took over the helm of MACC as its new Chief Commissioner. The new leadership of MACC then immediately made an environmental scanning which showed that image and credibility of MACC badly ruined, public confidence towards MACC were low, the public could not feel the effectiveness of the transformation of MACC, political parties took advantage and politicized the transformation of MACC, and last but not least, the morale and enthusiasm of MACC officers hit rock bottom. MACC was left on their own to deal with perceptions and fighting corruption was derailed.
The farsighted leadership immediately formulated and introduced the MACC aspiration. The aspiration focused on specific initiatives to reverse the negative perception and reposition the public confidence on the MACC and the fight against corruption. Internally, it focused to enhance the morale and confidence within the organization. The aspiration thus focused on three main elements of independency, transparency and professionalism.
Hence, MACC took a bold step to create several new posts: (i) Deputy Chief Commissioner of Management and Professionalism in addition to the other two namely Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations) and Deputy Chief Commissioner (Preventions). The establishment of a special division called the Excellence and Professionalism is to maintain and enhance professionalism in and within the human capital of the MACC; (ii) the Corporate Communication Unit is to disseminate information and liaise with internal and external key communicators especially the media; (iii) the Special Operations Division to focus on high profile and public interest cases; and (iv) the Transformation Unit to study, evaluate and formulate comprehensive strategic plan pertaining to organization, structure, processes, human resource and work culture within MACC.
The MACC’s transformational leadership outlined specific vision to realize the aspiration through formulations of big wins focusing on high profile and public interest cases, enhance public confidence, and the shift from output to outcome base performance that could be seen, felt and which will derive intended impact in the fight against corruption. Thus, the transformation strategic planning outlined comprehensive focus points on four matters namely effective investigation management, effective prevention and community education, sustaining public confidence, and capacity and capability building.
The leadership did not immediately implement all the strategic plans that were formulated by the Transformation Unit but instead formed an Executive Committee on Transformation (JET) to peruse and advice the management on the implementation of the strategic plans. The Committee is lead by the Chief Commissioner himself with members comprising the three Deputy Chief Commissioners, members from the Oversight Committees and panels, and two experts in law i.e. a former appellate court judge who is also the chairperson of the Complaints Committee and a former federal court judge, who was a panel member of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the suicide of the political aide.
The MACC leadership practices transparency and wanted to precisely ensure the effectiveness on the implementation of all strategic plans on transformation. The inclusions of experts in various fields are to advice, implement and ensure the success in implementation of the strategic plans on transformation. A number of the transformations that have been outlined and even immediately implemented includes the Video Interviewing Room for recording of statement from accused person, potential accused person or witnesses with potential hostility.
The Chief Commissioner hence had advised the Directors of all state branches to be prepared for changes. They were advised to equip themselves with knowledge and understandings on financial investigations, private sector investigations and proactive investigations. All functions were to be carried out with the objectives of outcome base. All actions must have high impact and felt by the public. Investigations were not only being focused on all corruption but must also give emphasize on high profile and public interest cases. Investigations must be conducted and completed swiftly, accurately and professionally.
The responsibilities in identifying the required changes and monitoring the effects of the transformation were delegated to the respective Service Lines in order to achieve the desired results.
Institutional changes especially in a matured organization are traditionally medium to long-term in terms of achieving full results of its efforts. However, in a short span of just over a year, several initiatives have been initiated, implemented or are in the process of implementation as per highlighted below.
• RCI RECOMMENDATIONS
95% of the recommendations suggested in the RCI Report on the suicide case of the political aide to an Opposition Party have been implemented. At present, PMO Operations with the assistance of officers from various departments are conducting the compliance audit in all states to monitor the implementation of the following key recommendations.
1. Interviewing Standards
An important element in the RCI report was the recommendation of the PEACE technique of interviewing witness/suspects. PEACE is an acronym representing:
Planning and Preparation
Engage and Explain
Account Clarification and Challenge
In view of this, the MACC initiated the training of all investigating officers in the PEACE technique. In 2012, 104 MACC investigating officers were exposed and trained in the PEACE methodology conducted at the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA) by the National Policing Improvement Agency of United Kingdom. A total of six sessions have been scheduled for 2013 which will cater for 210 officers and another four sessions catering for 140 officers in 2014.
In addition, 120 selected officers from the PEACE training programme will undergo the training on the REID interview technique by trainers from John E Reid Associates of the United States of America. The REID technique consists of factual analysis, interviewing, and interrogation methods formulated by John. E. Reid and is comparable to the techniques used by the FBI. In 2012, two REID training sessions were concluded, training a total of 62 officers. The remaining will undergo the training over two sessions scheduled in March 2013.
2. Search & Seizure Procedures
Stringent standard operating procedures have been imposed regarding search and seizure in situations with or without written authorisation.
3. Qualification and Training of MACC Officers
Entry qualification into the MACC requires an applicant to possess a diploma or degree. In addition, new recruits from 2013 will undergo a 12 months basic training in contrast to 3 months previously.
4. Malaysia Anti-Corruption Academy (MACA)
Courses conducted at MACA have also been improved to incorporate the changes recommended in the RCI report. The course contents have been revamped to be more comprehensive and to cover a wider range of topics.
5. Video Interview Rooms (VIR)
VIR’s have been constructed where the interview process is recorded both in audio and visual to ensure transparency and to dispel allegations of misuse of powers by MACC officers in interview sessions. These VIR’s are located at the ground floors of MACC offices.
6. Treatment of Invited Persons
Specific instructions with firm procedures have been issued on the handling/supervision and monitoring of visitors to the MACC.
7. Security Features at MACC offices
All MACC offices have been equipped with CCTV’s and a proposal has been submitted to the Ministry of Finance for the installation of another 640 units. Grills (certain levels on a need basis) have been installed at all MACC offices for security and safety purposes.
The key objectives of the Legal Service Line are to identify weaknesses in effectiveness of prosecutions and steps taken to address and improve success rate of prosecutions and convictions.
The Legal Service Line together with Deputy Public Prosecutors, ex-prosecutors and experienced MACC officers, has examined in detail to identify gaps in processes, SOP or the law in the manner in which certain cases are managed. This immense effort is to study the strategy to improve the rate of conviction of corruption cases in Malaysia. As a result of this, the Legal Gap Analysis was conducted and recommendations pertaining legal aspects were made including the proposal to enhance SOPs and amendments in the provision of the law on corruption. The applicability of Plea Bargains, Corporate Liability and Public Misconduct was also examined.
Significant events include:
a. A dialogue session between MACC/Deputy Public Prosecutors (DPPs) with Yang Amat Arif Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Md Raus Bin Sharif, President of the Court of Appeal, on the concerns on the special court on corruption, related corruption conviction statistics and the challenges faced by prosecutors.
b. Workshops and dialogue sessions conducted by Judge Frank Montalvo, US Federal Court judge who specialises in corruption cases, were held in April 2012. He was accompanied by Peter Ainsworth, Senior Prosecutor of the US Department of Justice.
In addition, a briefing on plea bargain was conducted by Ken Kohl from the US Department of Justice for DPP’s and MACC investigators in June 2012.
• TEAM-BASED INVESTIGATION
Team-based investigation is a methodology which is essential in producing efficient and effective investigations. Outlining of new SOPs and assembly of operational toolkits are currently in its pilot stage of implementation. The Team-based investigation approach not only shortens the completion time of an investigation but also enables effective pooling of various expertise needed in dealing with complex investigations to yield positive outcomes in every investigation.
The setting up of the Investigations Operations Room or commonly to be known as BGOS (Bilik Gerakan Operasi Siasatan) is a high point produce to complement the Team-Based Investigation approach. BGOS is a milestone initiative that is equipped with advanced technology equipments, networking facility and a complete one-stop office facility. BGOS is designed to cater for large team-based operations in which team members, comprising of members with a variety of highly skilled expertise, are able to function more efficiently and effectively in a more focused manner. This Service Line has also developed structured training modules to support the implementation of this methodology.
• PRIVATE SECTOR INVESTIGATION
A collaborative approach has been initiated through strategic alliances with agencies such as Bank Negara Malaysia, the Inland Revenue Board, the Companies Commission of Malaysia, CyberSecurity Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia and the Securities Commission Malaysia to enhance investigations concerning the private sector.
The collaborative alliance approach consisting of multi-disciplinary vocations, has laid foundation for a more solid, transparent and efficient sharing of information; expertise; knowledge and skills. The approach will also enable the MACC to probe on other offences related to corruption.
In moving towards the desired outcome, MACC officers will undergo in-depth training via a structured training module that is designed and developed together with the assistance from the agencies. The training will enable MACC investigators in enhancing knowledge of industries and on private sector investigation in the implementation of this methodology.
• PRO-ACTIVE INVESTIGATION
Pro-active investigation under the Intelligence division has progressed towards zoning and centralising certain functions and directives on intelligence at the headquarters. This is now under its pilot stage of testing.
Professor Dr Michel Girodo, an expert in undercover training provided to reputable enforcement agencies in Canada, United States of America and Europe, was engaged to conduct the specialised training of several officers in undercover operations and integrity testing. An updated SOP on undercover operations is currently under review and in its finalisation stage of drafting.
In moving forward, a Intel-Info Centre (IC) has been set-up to facilitate intelligence work in obtaining pertinent information. The terminals at IC are linked online with external agencies for swift and accurate data retrieval processes.
• COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT
Designing and managing an effective, efficient and purposeful system that will manage complaints received by the MACC will enhance both operations and the credibility of the Commission. The Complaint Management System (CMS) is one of the significant outcomes designed to effectively manage the complaints received from various sources.
CMS has the capability of notifying the complainant (periodically) on the status of the registered complaint, decided by the Information Evaluation Committee, via email, short messaging system (SMS) and on the CMS web portal.
Security access controls in all existing record storage rooms were enhanced with the introduction of biometric access systems to protect the confidentiality and secrecy of records and documents in these rooms. These measures are vital in terms of MACC’s ability in protecting the confidentiality of the information and in enabling the MACC to provide its commitment in serving Malaysians.
• TASK FORCE FOR FORENSIC ACCOUNTING
Statistical data and detailed assessments have indicated a wide gap in terms of the capacity, capability, expertise and skills required in the investigation concerning forensic accounting. Instead of depending on the organic growth in the department, which can be time-consuming, the Service Line recommended for the sourcing and recruitment of external expertise to raise the competency level in a shorter timeframe. This measure is required with the intention of grooming existing officers in the department.
Prior to the setup of JET, a Forensic Accounting expert was recruited which subsequently led to the formation five-man team managing investigations covering aspects on Forensic Accounting. Since then, the number of staff has doubled and is on the rise. This further proves that the valued contributions requiring finance-based investigations have established its importance in investigating corruption cases requiring forensic accounting methodologies.