MP SPEAKS | De facto Law Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s defence of the beleaguered MACC chief Azam Baki is contrary to rule of law, good governance, transparency, public integrity and accountability.
Azam (above) has come under intense public pressure to go on leave to ensure that there is no interference in the MACC’s investigations following the arrest of three senior MACC officers for alleged abuse of power and malpractice over the loss of case items amounting to US$6 million (RM25 million) belonging to former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid.
This has triggered negative perception and public suspicion of interference at the highest levels when the MACC officers who were allegedly involved in the loss of case items were remanded 12 days ago and MACC only issued an official statement after the remand period ended.
This contrasts with the practice of MACC deliberately and quickly leaking to the media information of opposition politicians who had refused to support the government that they have been arrested or will be charged in court at a later date.
For this reason, Azam must go on leave when he is seen as the stumbling block to an independent and lawful investigation without fear or favour and free from any interference.
Matter should be handled by the police
How can MACC be trusted to investigate itself over such criminal wrongdoings?
Further, this matter should be handled by the police when theft does not come under MACC’s jurisdiction but should be handled by the police.
If this is so, then MACC has no right to investigate police corruption, which should be left to the police to investigate itself.
This US$6 million scandal has further entrenched and deepened the lack of public confidence in the integrity and credibility of MACC to conduct corruption investigations impartially, free from interference.
This is highlighted by MACC’s dismal record of repeated failures to act against alleged corruption by politicians who support the government, whilst being a willing participant to be weaponised as a tool to persecute opposition politicians.
While we await Wan Junaidi’s discussion with the prime minister on the status of Azam as MACC chief, both MACC and the police must come clean on the loss of corruption case items involving US$6 million in cash.
LIM GUAN ENG is Bagan MP and DAP secretary-general.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.