Malaysia Proposes to Hold Beneficial Owners Liable for Corruption Offences

The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahatir Mohamed, said yesterday that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (the Act) will be amended to empower the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to identify the beneficial owners of businesses that are investigated for offences under the Act and to hold them accountable for such offences. However, the Prime Minister did not set a time frame for these amendments to be introduced.
 
The Malaysian Government has already amended the Act in 2018 to make commercial organisations, as well as their directors, controllers, management, officers and partners, liable for corruption offences under the Act. It has previously been announced that these amendments will come into force in 2020.
 
The latest announcement by the Prime Minister is an interesting development. The proposed amendments, when introduced, will be a significant step forward in the Government’s efforts to fight the scourge of corruption as they will make persons who commit graft through nominees accountable for their criminal conduct.