by FAYYADH JAAFAR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must be impartial and convince all parties that action will be taken against anyone acting against the law regardless of their position, said Puchong MP Gobind Singh Deo.
In a Facebook post yesterday, Gobind said while the MACC could be called in to assist police investigations against its chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki, Malaysians may not place any confidence in it as the MACC had, from the beginning, voiced support for the latter.
In a joint statement on Jan 9, MACC deputy commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya, MACC deputy chief commissioner (prevention) Datuk Norazlan Mohd Razali and MACC deputy chief commissioner (management and professionalism) Datuk Junipah Wandi expressed their support for Azam’s leadership as the chief commissioner.
Gobind said they should be aware that the investigation is ongoing.
“If the investigation shows there to be a case, are all three of them ready to resign or should we accept that despite this open support, the MACC can act impartially in this case?” he said in the Facebook post.
On the deputies’ claim that the issue was political in nature, Gobind said the shares have already been identified.
He said board members have distanced themselves from their chairman’s press conference and the Securities Commission Malaysia has requested further details on the case.
“This is about transparency and accountability, not politics.”
He added that the MACC should have asked for clarifications and requested that action be taken as Section 2 of the MACC Act clearly states that the aim of MACC is to promote integrity and accountability in the public and private sectors.
Gobind urged the MACC to convince Malaysians that it will act impartially and independently in this matter.
“The three deputies’ statements further show the need for Azam to not be on duty during this investigation.
“The MACC should not have to assist the investigation while he is still the leader, with all the powers vested in him according to the MACC Act during the investigation. That is not the right situation.”
Gobind’s statement was echoed by Angkatan Muda Keadilan (AMK), PKR’s youth division, who said the MACC is not qualified to conduct any investigation against Azam and urged for the establishment of an independent panel.
AMK yesterday organised a 50-vehicle convoy to the MACC headquarters to demand Azam’s immediate resignation as the MACC chief, or at least taking a leave of absence until investigation is concluded.
Its chief Akmal Nasir said the issue is a matter of principle which cannot be ignored.
“We are now at a crossroads where the chief commissioner is disputing the question of the purchase of shares allegedly by his brother using his trading account.”
Akmal also described Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s response to the allegations against Azam as inadequate.
“We are not seeing any urgency to make changes or take action.
“The MACC Act 5 (3) mentions that the chief commissioner’s position can remain until the King, with the advice of the PM, decides otherwise. Therefore, if the PM does not want to interfere, he should transfer the power of advising or appointing the chief commissioner to the Parliament.”
Akmal further said the Parliament should have a special session to discuss the issue of national integrity and the appointment of the head of the anti-graft agency.
“We, the young people, hope that the MACC chief will take responsibility while investigations are carried out. He should take leave until he is proven innocent,” he added.
Last week, allegations of Azam owning interests and shares in several companies were spread on social media. In a press conference on Jan 5, he denied allegations of having control over many companies, including conglomerates, and described it as malicious attacks on him.
Azam said the shares were bought through the open market by his brother using his (Azam’s) trading account and that there was no wrongdoing involved.