Workshop on Liability of Legal Persons in Malaysia Paves the Way for Strengthening Business Integrity

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Putrajaya (Malaysia), 26 June 2023 – An effective corporate liability regime for corruption offenses is crucial for promoting accountability, transparency, and integrity within the private sector. Five years ago, Malaysia reformed its corporate liability regime for corruption offences by introducing Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act. The new offence entered into force on 1 June 2020 and has followed the United Kingdom’s “failure to prevent” model of liability of legal persons (LLP) that experts and governments have hailed as an advanced approach to holding companies liable for serious criminal acts.

To study the regulatory and institutional framework and capacity to investigate, prosecute and adjudicate corruption cases against legal persons in Malaysia, UNODC undertook a research project that proposes key recommendations to enhance Malaysia's criminal justice system's capacity and effectiveness in investigating, prosecuting, and adjudicating corruption cases against legal persons. This draft report and related recommendations were presented at the Workshop on Liability of Legal Persons in Malaysia, jointly organized by MACC and UNODC.

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This three-day hybrid event took place from 20 – 22 June 2023, and brought together 130 stakeholders from various entities, including MACC, Attorney General's Chambers, Judiciary, foreign Anti-Corruption Authorities, international experts, academia, NGOs, and business associations. They actively participated in discussions centred around the draft report that analyses the current regulatory and institutional framework. This report presents tailored recommendations for practitioners and policymakers by examining the challenges faced in effectively prosecuting legal persons for corruption in Malaysia.

In attendance at the workshop was a renowned guest speaker with experience on the subject matter, the esteemed Supreme Court Judge, Prof. Dr. Surya Jaya from Indonesia. He provided valuable insights into the different laws concerning Corporate Criminal Liability in Indonesia, along with a case study on a publicly listed construction company in Indonesia that was found guilty on various graft charges. The participants greatly benefited from the presentations delivered by external speakers from prominent organizations, including the Serious Fraud Office of the United Kingdom, the United States Department of Justice, and the Anti-Corruption Division of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

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The objective of the dialogue session was to present the LLP study to other stakeholders and share views on the challenges in enforcing corporate liability in Malaysia. The workshop included a roundtable dialogue session with non-governmental stakeholders, including representatives from business, civil society, and academia, and the event served as an initial step towards establishing and strengthening a corporate liability regime for corruption offenses in the country. The prevention of corrupt practices, enhancement of public trust, and facilitation of international cooperation play a role in fostering a conducive environment for economic growth and prosperity in Malaysia.

The funding for these activities was provided by Siemens.

Other Useful Links:

  • A summary of a regional roundtable to combat Corruption in Sports held in Malaysia in May 2023 can be found here.
  • A description of an Offshore Financial Investigation Training held in Malaysia in February 2023 can be found here.
  • A summary of activities conducted by the UNODC Anti-Corruption programme in Southeast Asia can be found here.