MR. AZRIL ABD AZIZ
DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF MALAYSIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON ITEM 86: THE RULE OF LAW AT THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL LEVELS
AT THE SIXTH COMMITTEE OF THE 75TH SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY
NEW YORK, 22 OCTOBER 2020
At the outset, my delegation wishes to align itself with the statements made by the representatives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Cambodia on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Association of the Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). We thank the Secretary-General for his report on strengthening and coordinating United Nations rule of law activities as contained in document A/75/284.
2. This year’s theme, entitled “Measures to prevent and combat corruption”, is an important subject which Malaysia regards deeply.
3. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have made an explicit link between corruption and peaceful, just and inclusive institutions. Corruption not only corrodes the rule of law, it also undermines overall human development. Goal 16 of the SDGs on peace, justice and strong institutions has specifically targeted reduction of bribery as one of the vital prerequisites of not only achieving the protection of the rule of law, but also the achievement of all 17 goals of the SDGs.
4. Taking into account the seriousness of the problems and the threats posed by corruption, Malaysia shares the concern of the global community on the impact that corruption can bring to the stability of societies and institutions, preservation of ethical values, upholding of democracy, justice and the rule of law. As a State Party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) since 24 September 2008, Malaysia is guided by the recommended measures in the UNCAC in preventing and combating corruption from the grassroots upwards.
Malaysia’s National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023
5. In line with Article 5 of UNCAC, which calls for a development and implementation or maintenance of effective anti-corruption policies, Malaysia launched the National Anti-Corruption Plan 2019-2023 (NACP) on 29 January 2019. The NACP is a comprehensive policy framework, geared towards improving transparency and embedding integrity and accountability principles in all related systems and procedures governing both the public and corporate sectors in Malaysia. To this end, three (3) vital missions have been identified namely to uphold the rule of law, improve Government efficiency, transparency and accountability based on good governance, and create a clean business environment. Acknowledging that coordinated efforts is crucial to ensure holistic preventative measures for corruption, Malaysia has ensured the involvement of various key stakeholders as lead agencies to implement the initiatives under the NACP.
Independent anti-corruption bodies
6. Malaysia recognises the importance of establishing an independent body to ensure effective discharge of functions as envisaged under Article 6 of UNCAC. In this regard, Malaysia took a proactive step in 2009 to establish the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), an independent anti-corruption body, to replace the then Anti-Corruption Agency. By virtue of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 [Act 694], the MACC is empowered to take measures such as to detect and investigate any suspected offence of corruption, to examine the practices, systems and procedures of public bodies, to advise heads of public bodies of any changes in practices, systems or procedures, to educate the public and to enlist and foster public support against corruption.
7. As a check and balance mechanism, five (5) independent oversight committees and panels, comprising former government officials, politicians from the ruling and non-ruling parties, professionals from the business and corporate sectors, academicians, lawyers and distinguished members of the public, have been established to monitor and scrutinise the overall activities of the MACC, to ensure that they are in line with the provisions of the law.
8. In an effort towards proper management of public affairs, safeguarding integrity, and fostering anti-corruption culture in the public administration system, an initiative was undertaken by Malaysia in 2013 to establish an Integrity Unit in all public agencies at the federal and state level with the aim to curb issues concerning integrity among civil servants. With this initiative in place, public agencies will have to directly shoulder the corruption prevention responsibility within their organisation.
9. The National Centre for Governance, Integrity and Anti-Corruption (GIACC) established in 2018 continues to coordinate and implement tasks related to governance, integrity and anti-corruption with all ministries and departments as well as being the Secretariat to the Special Cabinet Committee on Anti-Corruption.
10. Malaysia’s anti-corruption reforms have borne results. Malaysia improved its ranking from 61 in 2018 to 51 in 2019 on the Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index. Malaysia also moved from 15 to 12 in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Ranking and ranked 4th out of 12 Asian economies in 2018, up from 7th place in 2016, by the Asian Corporate Governance Association.
Independence and integrity of the judiciary
11. Integrity of the judicial institution is of utmost importance, and any opportunities for corruption in this regard must be prevented, in line with Article 11 of UNCAC. Consistent with this view, the Federal Constitution, which is the supreme law of Malaysia, provides for judicial independence from the control and interference of the executive as well as the legislature. Malaysia wishes to underscore that the Judicial Appointment Commission (JAC) has been established under the Judicial Appointments Commission Act 2009 [Act 695] to ensure that the process for the nomination, appointment and promotion of superior court judges are more transparent and comprehensive.
Regional and international cooperation in the prevention of corruption
12. Malaysia acknowledges that the prevention and eradication of corruption is a responsibility of all States and that the widest measure of cooperation and assistance should be accorded to combat the transnational nature of corruption. To this end, and consistent with Articles 46, 51, 56 and 59 of UNCAC, Malaysia’s legal framework provides for the mechanism of request for assistance in criminal matters to and from States via the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 2002 [Act 621]. Amongst the good practices implemented by Malaysia regarding mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests are flexibility provided in the law to fulfil any request for MLA in the manner requested by the Requesting States, detailed guidance to the Requesting State to facilitate the provision of MLA, and continuous consultations with the Requesting State on the MLA request.
13. Acknowledging also that collective security depends on effective cooperation, Malaysia attaches great importance to promoting inclusive dialogue and sharing of national practices at various platforms. On this, Malaysia actively participates in forums and collaborates with the international and regional organisations, such as the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (IAACA), the International Anti-Corruption Academy (IACA), the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Anti-Corruption & Transparency Working Group (APEC-ACTWG), the South-East Asia Parties Against Corruption (SEA-PAC), the International Group of Experts against Corruption (INTERPOL-IGEC), the Asia-Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) and the Economic Crime Agencies Network (ECAN).
14. We will need to have the wisdom to avoid the pitfalls of corruption. We will need the tenacity and the endurance to sustain our fight against corruption. We will need to be steadfast and work together to face all the challenges. Only then, will we be able to complete this journey and find ourselves in a world free of corruption.
15. Malaysia wishes to reaffirm its commitment to consistently subscribe to the principle of rule of law at the national and international levels. We remain committed to play a leading role in the global efforts to prevent and fight against corruption.