Man held over $8,000 bribe to DO officer

PETALING JAYA - The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has detained a man suspected of giving a RM20,000 (S$8,000) bribe to an officer in the Cameron Highlands district office (DO).

MACC deputy commissioner (operations) Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull said the arrest was the result of its investigations on illegal land clearing on the highlands.

He said the commission had received many reports on illegal land clearing within the area, including claims of staff at Cameron Highlands' land office being offered bribes to escape action by enforcement officers.

"The results of our investigation have been handed over to the deputy public prosecutor for further action," he said in a statement yesterday.

Mohd Shukri said MACC was also inspecting the work procedures and system that were used in enforcing and managing land matters in Cameron Highlands.

He said this was to identify weaknesses and effectiveness of enforcement action in dealing with land encroachment there.

"Our suggestions and recommendations will be presented to the Pahang state exco meeting as soon as possible," he said.

Mohd Shukri said the commission welcomed the Pahang state government's resolve in addressing illegal land clearing problems in Cameron Highlands.

He urged the local authorities to carry out frequent and strict enforcement to put a halt to the activities.

"Failure to carry out strict and responsible enforcement can lead to a bigger disaster and loss of lives," he said.

When contacted, Cameron High-lands district officer Datuk Ahmad Daud said he welcomed MACC's move to investigate if there was corruption in his office.

He said there was no evidence to date that his officers had been involved in corruption.

"My officer was not the one who was detained. He rejected the bribe and made a complaint to MACC," he said.

Ahmad said he also agreed with Mohd Shukri's call for more frequent and strict enforcement, adding that the ongoing demolition of illegal structures within the Sungai Bertam river reserve showed the resolve of the local authorities. "We will continue our enforcement activities. I have already said we have a strategy which we cannot reveal to the public."