Legal Framework Governing Bribery & Corruption In Malaysia

Published date28 October 2022
Subject MatterLitigation, Mediation & Arbitration, Criminal Law, White Collar Crime, Anti-Corruption & Fraud, Civil Law
Law FirmKevin Wu & Associates
AuthorMs Nurin Husnina

Gordon-Smith J in his judgement1 has intimated that bribery and corruption of officialdom is like a cancer which may grow and destroy the whole body. Like Caesar's wife, officials (including Judges) must be above suspicion and lack of confidence in this respect strikes at the whole foundation of good Government.2

It is therefore beyond doubt that corruption could permanently impair or even worse, wreck the society predominantly a developing country like Malaysia. It is indeed a serious and infectious disease that needs to be curbed at all costs as it has always been living with us and the humankind has been continuously fighting against this immoral and unethical crime.

What is the interpretation of Bribery & Corruption?

The primary legislation which governs the bribery and corruption in Malaysia is the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 ('MACC Act') which was enacted to provide for the establishment of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, to make further and better provisions for the prevention of corruption and for matters necessary thereto and connected therewith. The MACC Act is a substitution of Anti-Corruption Act 1997 that has been repealed. It is designated to promote integrity and accountability of public and private sector administration and to educate public authorities, public officials, and members of the public about corruption and its detrimental effects.3 The words corruption and bribery are used interchangeably in the MACC Act. However, there exists no apparent elucidation of those words in the said Act. We shall therefore refer to the case laws for the interpretation of bribery and corruption.

With reference to the case of PP v Datuk Haji Harun bin Haji Idris (No. 2)4, Raja Azlan Shah FJ discussed the word 'corrupt' and referred to Lim Kheng Kooi v R which states that "corrupt" means doing an act knowing that the act done is wrong, doing so with evil intention5. Further, in Sandison v Malayan Times Ltd & Ors6, corruption and corrupt practices connote bribery, the perversion of integrity by bribery or favour as the Oxford Dictionary has it. According to Black's Law Dictionary, in general corruption can be regarded as a form of fraud, deceit or dishonesty which relates to activity undertaken by an individual or organization entrusted with a position of authority to acquire unlawful benefit. In Malay language, the term 'rasuah' derives from the Arabic word 'al-risywah' and is been regarded as a criminal act under the Islamic...

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