New faces at Malaysia's govt depts clock in amid concerns over Najib power play

Mustafar Ali (left), director-general of the Immigration Department, and Dzulkifli Ahmad, chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Mustafar Ali (left), director-general of the Immigration Department, and Dzulkifli Ahmad, chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.PHOTOS: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

KUALA LUMPUR - Two new chiefs at key government departments were closely followed by Malaysians on Monday (Aug 1) as they clocked in at their new offices, amid concerns over power play in the Najib administration.

At the Immigration Department, Mustafar Ali is the new director-general of the graft-ridden agency, promising to clean up the place.

He was widely cited in the media as having been transferred out of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). This came even though he was in line to replace his former chief, who had asked for early retirement after clashes with the government involving a probe into troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

At the MACC itself, Dzulkifli Ahmad started his day as chief commissioner amid unkind whispers that since he is from the Attorney-General's Office, he is a loyalist of Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali who cleared Prime Minister Najib Razak over the 1MDB scandal in January.

Datuk Seri Mustafar took over from the previous director-general who was transferred out after just five months on the job.

Police recently detained 28 Immigration officers for allegedly being involved in a human trafficking syndicate accused of bringing in and out foreign workers without proper passport controls. Fiften other officers were sacked.

Mr Seri Mustafar Ali, formerly the deputy chief commissioner (prevention), at MACC told the New Straits Times newspaper on Sunday that he is determined to make sure that his new staff is guided only by the rule of law.

"If you carry out a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) Analysis, you must also look at what needs to be done at the department. We must also adopt a firm, no-nonsense attitude," he said.

At the MACC, Datuk Dzulkifli shook hands with the staff after clocking in at 8am, saying he has a heavy task ahead.

The public over the years has waxed and waned over the effectiveness of the work of the anti-graft agency, as some of its previous investigations were seen to be motivated by its political masters.

Said Mr Dzulkifli, as quoted by The Star paper: "It is a big responsibility but I vow to uphold the principals of the commission - combating corruption responsibly, sternly and fairly."