Let's Fight Corruption for Future Generations

  • Wed, 6 April 2022
NayPyiTaw 6 April, 2022
            Corruption is a problem experienced by most countries in the world, and its negative impact is so wide that governments all over the world are dealing with it in a variety of ways. Since the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Commission in Myanmar in 2014, it has been able to effectively investigate and take action against corruption and has received international recognition. In addition, according to the annual reports published by the commission, it was found that the state-owned finance and assets, which are obtained as a result of corruption, are investigated and were confiscated and submitted to the public fund. As the commission has gradually increased its anti-corruption activities, it has been found in the press releases issued by the commission through daily newspapers that the third commission established under the State Administrative Council is conducting investigations and actions at momentum. As a citizen, I am pleased to see that corruption, which is one of the main obstacles we are facing in achieving clean government and good governance and the development of the nation, is being swiftly fought against.

Anti-Corruption Activities
            In Myanmar, the citizen was supported with supplies because of world war II. In order to prevent the theft of these supplies and corruption, Civil Supplies Theft Prevention Committee was established on December 23, 1947. Furthermore, the Public Property Protection Committee and the Public Property Protection Police were formed to prevent taking bribe public officials. In Chapter 9 of the Penal Code enacted in 1861 (Sections 161 to 165), bribery cases were taken action. In 1948, the Prevention of Corruption Act was separately enacted, and successive governments have taken measures to combat corruption.

Anti-Corruption Law
            In order to reduce and eliminate bribery under President U Thein Sein, Presidential Order No. dated 8-1-2013 On 9/2013, the “ Action Committee against Bribery” was formed. The anti-corruption law was promulgated on August 7, 2013, by Union Hluttaw Law No. 23/2013 and came into effect on September 17, 2013, when the President issued a notice.In order to be able to prevent and take action against corruption in various forms in accordance with the changing times, amendments were made to law for  (4) times. The 1st    amendment of the Anti-corruption law was done as Pyitaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 32/2014  on 23rd July 2014 and the  (4) sections of the anti-corruption law were amended. The  2nd  amendment of the Anti-corruption law was done as Pyitaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 33/2016  on 29th July 2016 and  3 sections of the Anti-corruption law were amended. The 3rd  amendment of the Anti-corruption law was done as Pyitaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 18/2017 on 30th July 2017   and  2 sections of the anti-corruption law were amended. The 4th  amendment of the Anti-corruption law was done as Pyitaungsu Hluttaw Law No. 20/2018 on 21st June 2018 and  24 sections of the Anti-corruption law were amended.

Formation of the Commission
        On February 25, 2014,  under the presidential office’s order number 6/2014, Anti -Corruption Commission(former Bribery Elimination Commission)  was formed.  The chairman , secretary, and 13 members( a total of 15 people) were assigned for the task. It is a significant change in Myanmar's anti-corruption history. The commission has good and serious objectives. The commission was established with the six objectives such as making anti-corruption a national cause, developing clean government and good governance, improving dignity and accountability in public administration, increasing transparency in the law enforcement and administrative sectors, and promoting economic development through domestic and foreign investments. On November 23, 2017, the Second Commission was organized and chairman, secretary, and 10 members. ( a total of 12 people )were assigned the task. The third commission was established on 20-2-2021 by the State Administrative Council Order No. 77/2021 and 78/2021.The chairman, the secretary, and nine members( a total of 11 people) were assigned on 6-4-2020, under the State Administrative Council Order No. 110/2021.

Activities  of the Commission
            The commission is focusing on the three main tasks: awareness-raising, prevention and investigation . As the commission, in order to carry out anti-corruption activities in regions and states in close cooperation with the public, the branch offices were opened in Yangon, Mandalay , Taunggyi, and Mawlamyine. On December 2, 2005, as  an international corporation, Myanmar became   a state party  of the United Nations Convention  Against  Corruption (UNCAC) and it was approved as the 165th member country on December 20, 2012. On November 14, 2013, Myanmar became a member of the SEA-PAC, and on November 30, 2019,  Myanmar became the 79th country signed the agreement as a member of the International Anti-Corruption Academy. In addition, as part of cooperation with other countries, the commission signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government Inspectorate of Vietnam on 15-10-2015,  with the National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand on 1-2-2017, the State Inspection and Anti-Corruption Authority of Laos (PDR) on 15-1-2018, and the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea on 30-5-2018. In addition, International Anti-Corruption Day, which falls on December 9 every year, is also held by ACC by cooperating with the relevant government departments, and international organizations under the united nations.

Public Opinion
        During the first and second commissions, the anti-corruption commission investigated and took action against those who committed corruption in accordance with the law, but the public noted the need for greater transparency regarding the actions taken against high-ranking officials and people in political positions. According to  the Corruption Perception Index of Transparency International recognized by countries and organizations in the world, the index for Myanmar ranked 156 out of 175 countries in 2014 when the commission was established, and the commission was able to reach 130 out of 180 countries in 2019. However, in 2020 it ranked 137th out of 180 countries in the index. Personally, I think, the reason for such a decrease in level is the lack of decisive action in taking action on corruption against those are in political positions. The public also wanted corruption to be dealt with decisively.

The Implementation of the Third Commission
            In the third commission, which has only been in existence for about nine months,  a chairman, Secretary and a total of 12 members are in charge on the mechanism. It was found that the commission consists of experienced scholars and advanced experts. In the third time of the commission, it was announced in the press conferences of the State Administration Council that the commission can increasingly take action against those who abuse of the authority for private interest. From the establishment of the third commission on 20-2-2021 until today, according to the cases opened and prosecuted by the commission, the state-owned money was lost has lost a lot of money and property due to abuse of office, and violation of existing law, rules, regulations, and procedures. As regard punishment for the corruption case of abusing authority, The political post persons and government servants will take lessons and need to carry out their national duties with integrity.

Remove corruption and Promote Prosperity
            Clean government and good governance are very important for national development. It must be noted that there are corruption scandals in developed democratic countries. It is a major obstacle to the creation of a clean government and good governance. We can see that the Anti-Corruption Commission is working as a national duty to reduce corruption. Despite many criticisms, it is found that the commission is doing what it should do with integrity, righteousness, and without any bias. In order to be able to pass on a peaceful and modern development nation to the future generations, we urge the entire public to fight corruption decisively together with the Anti- corruption commission and welcome to the international Anti- corruption Day on December 9th.