Corporate Liability Act 2018

Many may not be aware of the significant implications that will take place when Parliament on the 26 March 2018 amended the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 to include the New Section 17A on Corporate Liability Provisions. The Corporate Liability Provisions in Malaysia is similar to the Bribery Act 2010 in UK and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 in USA to make company directors/business owners/controllers/associate persons/senior officers liable for the corrupt/bribery acts by their employees, for making/accepting a facilitation payment etc.

The very timely and appropriate Corporate Liability Provisions passed by Parliament, together with other existing acts like the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLA); Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 and Whistleblower Protection Act 2010 have empowered the law enforcement agencies including the Public Prosecutor to investigate, freeze and seize properties and the power of courts to forfeit properties derived from the proceeds of ill gotten gains.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Comission (MACC) is being tasked  with the commission of combating corruption, abuse of power and malpractices. To date it has taken positive and effective steps such as to name and shame corrupt offenders by publishing the names and the corrupt offences committed by them in its website as a stern warning and deterrent to others not to commit such despicable acts.

The Corporate Liability Provisions via the MACC (Amendment) Act 2018 applies to Malaysian citizens or permanent residents who commit corrupt activities in and outside Malaysia; and a company/partnership which carries out business in Malaysia or elsewhere.

The New Section 17A Amendment to the MACC Act 2018, stipulates that an individual can be fined and imprisoned for a period not exceeding 10 years, or both imprisonment and fine, if found guilty. Whereby for a commercial organization who commits an offence under this section shall on conviction be liable to a fine of not less than 10 times the sum or value of the gratification which is the subject matter of the offence, or 1 million ringgit, whichever is the higher.

To avoid the possibly risk being charged and penalized, a company should have proven successfully implementing adequate procedures as required by the Law to prevent persons associated with the company from involving in bribery acts.