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Corporate Criminal Liability and Section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act

Chee Keong Low & Tak Yip Low

(2020) 32 SAcLJ 563

Considerable attention was drawn to the scourge of corruption as details of the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) saga surfaced, enhancing awareness of the significant resource misallocation that greatly hampers the efficiency of businesses, the costs of which are ultimately borne by the society. Partly in response, s 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Act 694) was enacted to introduce the concept of corporate criminal liability with the imposition of liability on commercial organisations and their associated persons for the failure to prevent bribery. By focusing on why it is important to do the “right thing”, this article examines the scope and constitutionality of s 17A, highlights how companies may implement adequate measures to comply before concluding with an identification of some of its deficiencies as well as a proposal to introduce a deferred prosecution agreement regime to augment the existing framework which legislative objectives are grounded upon the prevention of bribery.