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Big or small fish - evidence is crucial, says MACC

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cannot choose whether to net a “big or small fish” as this is determined by the evidence procured, its management and professionalism deputy chief commissioner Mohd Jamidan Abdullah said today.

“I would like to say that in MACC, we can't choose (to catch) a big fish or small fish.

"We need to have some evidence (in order to decide) whether we have a case or not. If not, how are we going to charge?" Jamidan said.

"The people just cannot say that we never investigate the big fish," he added.

He was responding to criticism that the MACC has failed to train its guns on top officials.

Jamidan said MACC needs the support and cooperation of the public in its work, and urged the people to provide any information they had concerning corruption.

"When we talk about the investigations, we have done a fair investigation," he said after attending a closing ceremony of the MACC's certified integrity officer (CeIO) programme.

No comment on three 'big fish'

However, Jamidan declined to comment when told that critics wished to see MACC take action against the “big fish”, such as Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's stepson Riza Aziz, businessman Jho Low and the 'Malaysian Official 1'.

The three are listed in the United States Department of Justice's lawsuit to forfeit assets allegedly purchased using money stolen from 1MDB.

On Aug 15, the MACC arrested three government and government-linked company officials, two with the honorific 'Datuk Seri' title and another with the 'Datuk' title, for alleged corruption.

They are being investigated under Section 17(a) and Section 23 of the MACC Act for soliciting bribes.

The Datuk Seri, aged 54 and a senior officer with the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL), is also being investigated under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001.

He is believed to own 31 luxury condominium units worth more than RM15.5 million.

The other two are from the Malacca Public Works Department and the Kelantan office of Tenaga Nasional Bhd. The commission seized various assets, including luxury cars, from the trio.

On Aug 25, the managing director of a government-linked bank was arrested in Kuala Lumpur, for suspicion of abuse of power and corruption.

Meanwhile, the New Straits Times reported today that MACC said it would summon 30 more DBKL officers for questioning following last week's arrest of the Datuk Seri.

On a separate matter, Jamidan said he did not think government servants need to publicly declare their assets, and cited their “basic rights”.

However, he said, government officers should declare their assets every five years to the relevant committees.

Federal Territories Miniser Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor has said that DBKL and the ministry have integrity units that advise all officers on asset declarations.

The minister, who is also known as Ku Nan, said the mayor, too, has to declare his assets.

The event today was also attended by Telekom Malaysia Bhd (TM) chairperson Sulaiman Mahbob and Perodua president and CEO Aminar Rashid Salleh.