Since May 9th, Malaysia has been moving at warp-speed and it has become hard to keep track of the news. Looking at it from a big picture perspective, a lot of the developments have been regarding issues of integrity, or more accurately the lack of it – with the recent investigations of crimes relating to corruption and money laundering.
Although the Pakatan Harapan government is still young, many are watching closely to see how they are going to tackle these issues of integrity which have become so closely associated with our country on the international stage.
The truth of the matter is that there are relevant laws already in place, such as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (Amendment) Bill 2018 which holds organizations accountable for corruption. With this bill, not only is the offending employee liable, but the director, controller, officer, partner or member of management could also be liable to a maximum fine of 10 times the sum of gratification or RM1mil, whichever is higher, a maximum jail term of 20 years, or both.
Another law that ensures businesses can be held accountable is the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing (AML/CTF) Framework which the Malaysian government and Bank Negara introduced to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
Both these laws puts the onus on the organization whereby it has to prove its innocence, rather than being a case of ‘innocent until proven guilty’.
While these existing laws are critical in Malaysia’s efforts to minimize corruption and money laundering, organizations themselves should be taking preventive steps to avoid having to defend themselves in court with regard to these two laws.
Background Screening – a Form of Due Diligence
One of those preventive steps is background screening, which is a key component of both the MACC Bill and the AML/CTF Framework.
For the most part, corruption and money laundering is very much a social construct, driven by human greed. It is all about getting to the root of the problem, and that root of the problem is people. Thus, the human element of these problematic practices need to be overcome.
By selecting and vetting the right people, that have integrity, a clean record and are accountable, to take on critical, high-level and important roles in Malaysian organisations, the likelihood of corruption and money laundering can be greatly reduced.
By vetting everyone through background screening – potential employees, partners, vendors, and even customers – we can filter out those that have committed past offenses of corruption or money laundering, in order to start anew.
More importantly for organizations, by conducting background screening you would be taking preventive measures to uphold integrity among your staff and management team, thereby saving you from possible internal fraud and corruption, and having to prove your innocence in court!
We hope and encourage more Malaysian organizations to take proactive steps for a cleaner, more honest and a more progressive Malaysia.