Azam Baki’s claim that he is not answerable to public is wrong, say MPs
Khoo Poay Tiong (right) and Chan Foong Hin
6 Jan 2022
By Wartawan Nabalu News
KOTA KINABALU: Two members of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSC) on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department have expressed great shock at Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki’s remark that he is not unanswerable to anyone especially the public.
In a joint statement today, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong and Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin said that this is regarding the recent revelation about Azam having owned shares in two companies back in 2015. At the time, he was the head of MACC’s investigation division.
“In our capacities as Members of Parliament duly elected by the people and Members of the PSC on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department, we wish to state that we disagree with and take great exception with Azam’s statement purporting to oust the legislature’s jurisdiction in calling for an investigation into this scandal which would certainly affect the trust of the people in the MACC as follows: -
1. A civil servant of his status would not be able to afford to buy the shares. His salary certainly do not commensurate with the value of the shares – he has to explain the source of the money used to purchase the shares;
2. Whether Azam had satisfied the criteria on asset declaration based on the government circular requiring civil servants to declare their assets; and
3. Potential conflict of interest as he will not be able to effectively conduct any investigation on companies that he is a shareholder in.”
Azam noted that it was his brother that bought the shares as the shares were transferred to the brother.
“Why didn't Azam’s brother just buy the shares using his own account in the first place? Why is there a need for the brother to buy the shares using Azam's trading account first? The general public do not buy Azam’s explanation as it stands. All these needs answering by Azam.
“Azam is reminded that the MACC is a creation of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (MACC Act), a statute passed by Parliament.
“He may claim that he is not answerable to anyone else, but we Members of Parliament as lawmakers have the powers to legislate accordingly. We can amend the act to tighten provisions and deal with any legal loopholes, if any, for the benefit of the people,” they said.
They also stressed that it is essential that the MACC Commissioner comes clean to the public, and what better way than to answer to the PSC.
The transcript of the investigation will be made available to the public, and the public can then decide whether Azam himself is fit for the job as the No. 1 corruption buster.
They stated that whilst the MACC Corruption Prevention Advisory Board exists to conduct its own investigation, it is not meant as a tool to clear MACC members of corruption.
“We are of the view that the board’s own investigation does not oust the jurisdiction of the PSC to conduct its own investigation and to make recommendations to Parliament to amend the laws accordingly, if necessary.
“In the absence of a comprehensive explanation and transparency by the MACC Commissioner to the public, it will certainly erode the public’s trust in MACC as the institution for combating corruption in the country. MACC’s credibility as an independent body that can effectively combat corruption will certainly be in doubt.
“As such, we repeat our call that the PSC on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department should urgently and without any further delay call for a meeting to investigate the matter and Azam be called in as soon as possible to give evidence to the PSC so as to limit the damage to MACC,” they added.