Datuk Seri Najib Razak should step down and allow investigations into the US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) transferred into his accounts to proceed without undue influence, the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) coalition has said.
UNCAC coalition chairman Manzoor Hasan said Najib staying in power could jeopardise the probe, even as the prime minister’s supporters insist that critics should simply wait for the investigation to be completed.
“In an ideal world, you would want to see the prime minister stay, and the investigation happen. But I think the reality is that if they don’t step down, the process of investigation can be influenced and could undermine the whole process.
“If you apply the natural, legal principles when a person is being investigated, normally that person steps down so a clean independent investigation can take place,” Manzoor told The Malaysian Insider when met at the sidelines of the ongoing 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya.When asked whether Najib should step down, he said, “Yes, I would certainly say so for the interest of fair investigations.”
Manzoor described Najib’s decision to stay in power as “strange”, but added that it was neither new nor uncommon for a world leader to do so.
“I think this is where civil society and media can play an important role and put pressure on the government to change the principles and rules that apply,” he said.
Manzoor added that the action taken against investigating officers in Malaysia went against the spirit of UNCAC – a legally binding international anti-corruption instrument adopted by the UN general assembly in October 2013.
Malaysia signed the document on December 9, 2003, and ratified it on September 24, 2008.
“If you have to implement the convention internationally and nationally, the independence of a commission, like the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), is very critical.
“If the independence is not there, the whole investigation can be undermined, as in the case of Malaysia – with the investigating officers transferred, the leadership is arrested.”
He said agencies such as MACC were merely labelled as independent, “but, in spirit, they are controlled by the same political elite which runs the country and which is also involved in grand corruption”.
The UNCAC coalition, which Manzoor chairs, is a global network of 350 civil society organisations in over 100 countries committed to promoting the ratification, implementation and monitoring of UNCAC.
Yesterday, Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim, the chairman of Malaysia’s anti-graft advisory board, said MACC was still investigating the case and that everyone should wait for the commission to complete its probe.
Tunku Abdul Aziz added that MACC was as “independent as you can get”.