MACC investigation against Daim cannot be challenged by judicial review – SFC

KUALA LUMPUR – The High Court here was told today that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) ongoing investigation against Tun Daim Zainuddin (picture) and his family cannot be challenged by judicial review.

Senior Federal Counsel (SFC) Shamsul Bolhassan submitted that if the court allowed the judicial review application, it would open the floodgate to challenge every other exercise of such function, leading to chaos and public disorder.

“Investigative powers cannot be challenged and if the judicial review is to be allowed, it will hamper the investigative process. For every investigation, a judicial review would be filed, hence the investigation would not be completed.

“We submit that investigative powers cannot be reviewed by this court,” he said before judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh.

Shamsul said this was an objection raised by the Attorney General (AG) against Daim and his family’s application for leave to initiate a judicial review against the MACC’s probe.

Daim, 85, his wife Toh Puan Nai’mah Abdul Khalid, 66, and their four children, Asnida, 62, Md Wira Dani, 45, Muhammed Amir Zainuddin, 28, and Muhammed Amin Zainuddin, 25, along with Ilham Tower Sdn Bhd as the applicants, filed the application on Jan 10 and named the MACC and the Public Prosecutor as the first and second respondents.

Shamsul also submitted that the power of the MACC to issue freezing orders is one of the mechanisms for investigation provided in Part VI of Section 44(1) of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (Act 613).

“Law enforcement agencies are vested with the power to issue an order to freeze a person’s property upon the fulfilment of some conditions,” he said.

According to Shamsul, the issuance of a freezing order is only made when an enforcement agency has commenced an investigation against the person and there is reasonable ground to suspect either that the person commits or is about to commit a terrorism financing offence, or that the property is the proceeds from an unlawful activity.

Meanwhile, counsel Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, representing the applicants, submitted that until today, Daim and his family have not been made aware as to the factual allegations against them.

“The MACC only took Daim’s statement one and a half years after the release of the Pandora Papers. It was only in June 2023, close to two years after the Pandora Papers were released, that the MACC started ‘ramping up’ its actions against Daim and freezing his family’s assets,” he said.

Thomas further said the MACC had unlawfully kept his clients’ accounts frozen since June 7, 2023; raided and seized the 60-storey Ilham Tower on Dec 18, 2023, raided Daim’s previous residence and froze 11 vehicles on Jan 3.

He also said the former finance minister would be prejudiced if he was charged and tried in court.

“My client (Daim) is now 85 years old and to expect him to remember things from 26 years ago is unfair,” he added. Judge Wan Ahmad Farid fixed March 4 for a decision.

In the application, they claimed that on Dec 30, 2023, the MACC issued a statement that an investigation against Daim had been opened based on information obtained from the Pandora Papers.

Daim said the Pandora Papers are confidential files that leaked in 2021, revealing the names of owners of offshore companies, assets and bank accounts outside Malaysia’s jurisdiction, and that these files do not indicate any wrongdoing by him and his family.

Therefore, among other things, they are seeking a court order for the MACC and its officers to cancel all investigations initiated against them from February 2023 till now, and also to cancel all notices issued by the MACC. – BERNAMA / pic TMR FILE