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Yesterday 06 April 2011, another man who was one of those custom officers identified for massive graft investigations was found dead at the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Council) premises in Jalan Cochrane Kuala Lumpur. While waiting for more development for my analysis of this unfortunate death, I have the following suggestions for MACC to quickly implement:

* Grill all existing windows in their building except on the ground floor
* Install CCTV in all areas especially in the waiting room
* Install a TV/ music/magazines/nice sofa and coffee/tea in the waiting room
* Place a staff at all times in the waiting room
* Security check all suspects/witnesses entering the building for weapon e.g knife ( who knows the person might want to stab himself and blame on MACC!)
* Make available a resident counsellor or Psychologist, Ustaz/ priest/ NGO volunteer
* All new MACC premises should be single-story or rent only the ground floor/ first floor of a building
* Receptionists preferably trained nice ladies should be stationed at the entrance to give that welcoming corporate look.
* Revamp the surrounding so that “people of interest” would not feel threatened from the outset.
* Improve TRANSPARENCY

Some of the suggestions above are made with tongue in cheek. Looking at the uproar following this death, I can see that some people are ready to go for MACC’s jugular. Now this man who died in such a tragic manner is not a political person, he is a Malay (implicitly a Muslim) and he is a civil servant. The graft values are in the million and not just 2K. He was not interrogated (yet?) into the early hours of the morning.These are the glaring differences between him and Teoh Beng Hock. Teoh as everyone in Malaysia knows was the DAP political aide who died at the MACC premises in Shah Alam in July 2009 allegedly by jumping out of the building.

I am surprised (may be not really) that the likes of the President of the Bar Council and opposition party leaders have straight away jumped to the conclusion and accuse MACC as causing this death. The public should see these people as opportunists ready to blame the authorities which to them represent the policies of the government of the day. The Bar Council of course wants to be seen as the champion for justice.

I agree an inquest should be held as per provision of the relevant law but to convene another Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) is rather far-fetched at this stage. It is supposed to ostensibly ensure justice but other legal mechanisms can just ensure that as well. The problem is the public seem to think everyone in the government machinery cannot act in a just manner. The perception is the government has no integrity and not capable of meting out justice. It is both sad and frightening.

Really MACC in this case have to work hard to restore the confidence of the rakyat (citizens) on its investigations and procedures. You cannot be seen as selective in your focus and you cannot be seen as being petty and politically bias. The government of the day should support this organisation by making sure its leadership is professional and well trained. The government must be seen to ensure MACC’s independence. Only then will the Malaysian public respect the institution and support its works in a manner helpful in bringing the corrupt to justice.

For what it may mean is that, this death will actually show people that there is more in the depressed human mind than just facing graft investigation. This death may persuade people to look at the anguish and the shame and the subconscious guilt that has come to the fore, blurring judgement and taking the final exit.

You may also like to look at the psychology of suicide besides occurring in depressed people. Sometimes there is so much at stake that a person becomes brave enough to take his own life, end it all so that there is nothing else to go for. But in this situation what appears as a large-scale “systematic corruption” which is highly inimical to the country’s economy , the authorities must not stop their investigations like they did in Teoh Beng Hock’s case.

Ahmad Sarbani Mohamad

One custom officer died and took with him the secrets and other information that might be crucial and are badly needed by MACC for their investigations, now use our logical reasoning, why should MACC want him dead?

And listen, according to the news report, the agitated forwarding agents and colleagues at Port Klang said Ahmad Sarbani Mohamad , the dead man, was the cleanest custom officer. Now people, go figure.

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