MACC Chief Commissioner “sings a different tune”

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PETALING JAYA: A previous appeal by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) encouraging exposure of suspected corrupt practices in the public service appears to be selective in nature.

Just two years ago, its chief commissioner, Tan Sri Azam Baki, reiterated his previous assurances to protect informants of suspected corruption cases under the 2010 Whistleblower Protection Act.

Ensuring their safety under the law, he encouraged whistleblowers to come forward and pass information to the MACC to help fight corruption, saying the commission has granted protection to 290 people under the law. since 2016.

Azam also said that the MACC has experienced setbacks in prosecuting corruption cases because “many people are still afraid to report corrupt activities taking place around them, fearing the repercussions that could ensue.”

However, last Wednesday, after damningly confessing that he allowed his younger brother to use his scholarship account, Azam is now singing a different tune.

He said he would take legal action against those who defamed him and tarnished his professional reputation.

Investigative journalist and anti-corruption activist Lalitha Kunaratnam, who exposed Azam’s alleged wrongdoing in a two-part article posted on a news portal, received letter of formal notice from chief commissioner’s lawyers , who not only asked him for an apology, but also 10 million ringgit in compensation.

As Azam sinks into further scrutiny, with many parties calling for a full investigation into the allegation, his colleagues at Putrajaya MACC headquarters have supported him.

Yesterday, three deputy commissioners of the MACC claimed that the attack on their boss had a “political motive” behind it.

In a statement, Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya (operations), Datuk Seri Norazlan Mohd Razali (prevention) and Datuk Junipah Wandi (administration), who spoke on behalf of the commission’s membership, expressed support for Azam’s leadership.

They said they remain united in defending Azam and MACC in preventing corruption in the country.

They claimed that the allegations and attacks against Azam are politically motivated and aimed at crushing the credibility of the commission.

The trio also urged all parties to end the “chaos” and allow the law to run its course in a fair and transparent manner.

Azam was recently criticized for admitting to allowing his brother to use his stock trading account.

On Saturday, six members of the MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board released a statement dissociating themselves from the independent panel’s position, which was announced by its chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang at a press conference last Wednesday.

The six members said they categorically wished to state that at a meeting to discuss and hear the allegations against Azam, they did not agree with Abu Zahar’s opinion on the matter. They also said that Abu Zahar’s comments at a press conference were entirely his personal perspective.

An undisclosed number of police reports were filed against Azam on Saturday, calling for an investigation to be opened against him for offenses related to the use of his central depository account by his younger brother.

Federal Police CID Director Datuk Seri Abdul Jalil Hassan said on Saturday that the police reports had been forwarded to the Securities Commission for further action.


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