The government is working hard to increase public trust towards enforcement agencies, reduce fraud and waste in government procurement, and combat corruption. One of the initiative under Fighting Corruption NKRA is Complete Prosecution of corruption cases within a year.
A study showed that corruption cases that completed trial within a year will translates into high probability of conviction rate compared to the average time identified at the end of 2009 of eight and a half years for trial and appeal. This is due to some reason such as the witness’s fading memory on the fact of the case, go missing or turn hostile and even the witnesses passed away before the trial.
To catalyse and compliment the initiative, the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) had been amended to speed up trials and 14 special Corruption Sessions Courts had been established throughout Malaysia which had fully operated on 16 February 2011. Senior judges and Deputy Public Persecutors (DPP) are assigned to handle corruption cases and with the specialization of the court of corruption cases, the judges are focus on bringing guilty offenders to conviction as they did not have to handle a multitude of different cases.
The main objectives of the establishment of special corruption courts and the amendment of CPC is to clear the backlog and to speed up the trial for corruption cases. The amendments of CPC was passed in Dewan Rakyat on 22 April 2010 and in Dewan Negara on 6 May 2010 and gazetted on 10 June 2010. The amendments includes the introduction to the Pre-trial Conference, which aims to smoothen the trial. At this platform, the accused can discuss issues and reach an agreement on plea bargaining with the public prosecutor before the commencement of trial. Case management must be held within 60 days from the date the accused is charged, while trial must commence within 90 days from the date the accused is charged.
In 2010, the percentage of trials targeted to be completed within a year is 30% and the actual achievement is 36.3%. The target for 2011 has been stretched to 70%, with the establishment of the special corruption courts which will expedite the trial process.
Malaysia still has a long way to go in its effort to improve the perception on corruption and a lot more to be done if measures such as Transparency International CPI score are beginning to register a positive change. However, initiative implementation progress at the Ministries and agencies are acknowledged, as a lot had been achieved under the GTP, and it is still early to see the sign of changes. By implementing Fighting Corruption NKRA initiatives, the government have shown the serious effort and dedication towards eliminating corruption and graft in the nation.