KUALA LUMPUR (May 6): The EU-Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EUMCCI) has expressed concern over calls by the Malaysian business community for a one-year delay in the implementation of Section 17A of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Act 2018.
The chamber said Malaysia’s standing as a preferred destination of choice for international companies will be reduced if corporate liability is significantly delayed.
Section 17A introduces corporate liability for graft offences, holding directors and management responsible for acts of corruption committed on behalf of the company.
The amended Act was passed in Parliament in April 2018 and is scheduled to come into force in June this year.
But local business groups have asked the Government to delay its implementation by one year on the grounds that they are already burdened by the negative impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a statement today, EUMCCI acknowledged that the COVID-19 situation has created additional challenges for the business sector, but said: “At this time more than ever, the eradication of corruption from the landscape is critical for the well-being and long-term success of Malaysia’s economy."
“Considering the Malaysian Government’s urgent action to ensure investor confidence in the Malaysian economy and market, EUMCCI recommends to address this implementation of Section 17A of the MACC Act as part of the economic recovery plan instead of making it a roadblock,” said EUMCCI chief executive officer Sven Schneider.
The chamber said a significant delay in the enforcement date will seriously undermine the conscientious activities of many responsible companies which have already taken steps to implement their anti-corruption programmes.
“Conversely, those companies which have adopted an indifferent ‘wait and see’ attitude and made no efforts at all to establish effective measures will have their approach affirmed for the long-term; for a 12-month delay can be taken as an indefinite suspension,” it said.
“Since companies have already had two years to prepare, our recommendation is to continue with enforcement as planned on 1 June 2020,” it added.
The head of EUMCCI’s transparency and Integrity Committee, Dr Mark Lovatt, said recognising the impact of the COVID-19 situation, a three-month postponement, with the new date gazetted to establish a firm deadline, would be an acceptable alternative.
“A postponement of six months, with the date gazetted, should be the maximum period of delay. Any longer would give entirely the wrong signal and be detrimental to the economic interests of Malaysia in long term at this challenging time."
Source by The Edge Markets