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MACC advisory board should resign for their kerfuffle, academic says

Publish date: Sun, 23 Jan 2022, 05:53 PM

WITH pressure mounting against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki, an academic called for its advisory board members (ACAB) to quit.  

“To put it in plain words, they all messed up big time. They were supposed to act as the ‘pressure group’ in this case but failed.  

“In fact, do they even know their job scope?” HELP University Faculty of Business, Economics and Accounting and Institute Crime and Criminology senior lecturer R Paneir Selvam asked, when contacted by FocusM.

On Jan 11, the ACAB chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang claimed that his board members jumped the gun when they distanced themselves from his statement of absolving Azam from any wrongdoings.  

Calling it regrettable, Abu Zahar said he had agreed to hold a meeting on Azam’s case on Jan 11 after it became too serious. He claimed a message was sent to inform all his team members.  

“But I was taken aback after all six of the ACAB members decided to have a meeting on Jan 8 without informing me, issuing a statement to distance themselves from me,” he was reported saying.  

The six who distanced themselves from Abu Zahar were Datuk Seri Akhbar Satar, Tan Sri Ismail Omar, Datuk Seri Azman Ujang, Datuk Hamzah Kassim, Datuk David Chua Kok Tee and Datuk Mohammad Agus Yusoff.

R Paneir Selvam

Yesterday, nearly 200 people joined the Tangkap Azam Baki rally, with the police closing several parts of KL and deploying nearly 1,000 personnel to quell the gathering.  

Touching on the matter, Paneir Selvam said that the ACAB is empowered to provide recommendations on how a probe should be conducted in the event a MACC official is accused of any wrongdoing.  

“But Abu Zahar contradicted himself several times on the matter, which does not bode well for his reputation,” he stated. 

He also questioned the other six members’ timing in distancing themselves from Abu Zahar, claiming something did not add up.  

“Abu Zahar gave his first statement absolving Azam on Jan 5 but his team members took three days before distancing themselves from him. It looked like they were waiting to see how the public responded to it before reacting.  

“In my view, I think the ACAB is split into three camps. One is Edmund Terence Gomez who had resigned and called for Azam to be investigated, the other is Abu Zahar himself and the other are the six members.   

“If you study the third group, they are neither in support of Gomez nor Abu Zahar,” Paneir Selvam opined.  

Hellfire for Azam, not a squeak on Zeti

Touching on Azam’s case, Paneir Selvam urged the public to accept the Securities Commission’s (SC) statement on it.  

He added that the public should remember that the police itself had opened a separate investigation on the matter and urged everyone to wait for its outcome.  

“I want everyone to ask themselves this question. Why is Azam being targeted so much but no one is talking about former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz’s family allegedly receiving monies from the scandal-ridden 1Malaysia Development Board Bhd (1MDB)?  

“I’m not trying to defend Azam here but if you recall, he and his team were instrumental in getting the notorious ‘court cluster’ group hauled up in court,” Paneir Selvam mentioned.  

He remarked: “The MACC is actually having a tough time as they are going after very powerful personalities.  

“Just allow the police some time to investigate Azam and let’s not put undue pressure on the anti-graft agency.” – Jan 23, 2022.

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