61 foreigners arrested for graft in Malaysia

61 foreigners arrested for graft in Malaysia

MALACCA - Foreigners were among 157 individuals arrested this year for offering bribes to enforcement officers during various operations mounted by government departments and agencies.

Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) investigation director Datuk Mustafar Ali said foreigners made up 39 per cent, or 61 of 157 people arrested under Section 17 (b) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 this year.

The section covers bribes offered by members of the public to government officials, and carries a maximum 20-year jail term and a RM10,000 fine or five times the value of the gratification.

"Most crimes committed by foreigners took place during operations mounted by government department and agencies. These 61 foreigners had bribed enforcement officers, such as those from the police, Immigration Department, Road Transport Department and Public Land Transport Commission (SPAD).

"Some of them tried to give money when stopped without valid travelling documents, while others were speeding motorists who later tried to offer bribes to escape from being issued summonses," said Mustafar at the opening of the Malacca MACC headquarters by MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed yesterday.

Mustafar said the amount of bribes offered by foreigners ranged from as low as RM5 to allow suspects to enter construction sites, to as high as RM700,000 to approve payments of undelivered medical supplies.

Of 61 foreigners arrested, Indonesians topped the list with 25, followed by Singaporeans (11), Myanmars (8), Bangladeshis (7), Vietnamese (4), Pakistanis (3), Indians (2), and Japanese (1).

On the overall statistics of corruption, he said MACC arrested 481 people for multiple offences between January and November this year.

Of this amount, 68 per cent, or 326 people, comprised members of the public, including those from the corporate sector.

The remaining 32 per cent, or 155 people, were civil servants.

"Of the 481 people arrested so far this year, 157 of them had committed bribes under Section 17 (b) of the MACC Act."

In the 2013 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) for the least corrupt countries, Indonesia is ranked 114th out of 177 countries, while Singapore is at 5th spot. Myanmar is at 157th spot.

In the same CPI, Malaysia is ranked 53rd. It was ranked 54 last year. The same CPI showed Malaysia as the third least corrupt nation in ASEAN this year after Singapore and Brunei.

"This is a worrying trend, as citizens of these countries only showed their lack of integrity when they enter our country.

"This attitude was not shown in their own countries, as they think our enforcers can be easily bribed."

Mustafar thanked enforcement officers for keeping their integrity by reporting bribery attempts, as it enabled MACC to take action. He said such instances show the effectiveness of the government's integrity plan to instil an anti-corruption culture among its enforcers.

Present at the opening was MACC deputy chief commissioner (Operations) Datuk Shukri Abdull, MACC deputy chief commissioner (Prevention) Datuk Sutinah Sutan and MACC Malacca director Salim Ahmad.

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