Is the giving of mandarin oranges considered bribery? MACC clears the air

Berita Harian

Have you given any mandarin oranges to your business associates this Chinese New Year?

If you have, or are planning on doing so, have you wondered if you could be accused of trying to bribe them?

Malaysia has rules in place which prohibit officials from accepting gifts during festive seasons.

According to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) website, public officers are “prohibited from accepting any gift in any form such as hampers, mandarin oranges, ang pow packets and other forms of gifts from any person that is associated with the official duties of the officer“.

On Wednesday (Feb 14), Says.com reported that MACC director Datuk Mohd Fauzi Mohamad warned against the giving and accepting of gifts during festive periods “with the intentions to get something in return“.

“That’s bribery,” he was quoted as saying.

At the same time, he also clarified that it would be unfair to classify the giving of mandarin oranges as acts of bribery.

“It is tough to prove a person’s intentions. Furthermore, if the intentions are just to share the festivity, it is unfair to label it as a bribe,” Says.com quoted him as saying.

So while it is better not to give any public officers gifts, it seems one can still share festive cheer with their associates, as long as they can prove that there is no intention or expectation of receiving something else in return.