Wednesday, May 18, 2022

You called for SC probe on Azam, why question its decision, Bersatu tells PH

It warns against disparaging the government and its institutions for the sake of 'narrow political agendas'.

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Bersatu today criticised Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders for questioning the results of the Securities Commission (SC) investigation into claims of conflict of interest involving Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Azam Baki, saying those intent on continuing to manipulate the case should abide by the SC’s decision.

The party’s deputy president Ahmad Faizal Azumu said PH itself had called from the start for Azam to be investigated by the SC.

“But when the SC made its decision, the SC itself was questioned in turn.

“It appears that PH has declared war on public office holders who are dedicated and committed to carrying out their responsibilities for the sake of narrow political agendas by disparaging the government and its institutions such as MACC and the SC,” he said in a statement.

Azam had been due for questioning by the Parliamentary Select Committee on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department, a committee comprising MPs from Pakatan Harapan, Perikatan Nasional, Barisan Nasional as well as GPS and Warisan.

He was under investigation over claims of conflict of interest in the purchase of company shares following a series of blog articles by an activist linked to local NGO C4 Center.

He later issued a demand letter to the writer of the articles, Lalitha Kunaratnam, with the MACC lodging a police report against her describing her claims as false and unsubstantiated by evidence.

He had also been under fire from top PH leaders who called for him to go on leave and for MACC’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Abu Zahar Ujang to be investigated after the latter cleared Azam of allegations of conflict of interest.

But the SC yesterday said that Azam was in the clear, adding that the MACC chief had not breached any laws.

“The SC has concluded its inquiry and based on the evidence gathered, the SC is not able to conclusively establish that a breach under Section 25(4) of Sicda has occurred,” the market regulator said in a statement, referring to the Securities Central Depository Act 1991.

It also said in an email to Azam that it had closed its inquiry file on him.

“Based on our inquiry and the documents obtained from relevant parties, we find that we cannot conclusively find/show that a breach of securities law under s.25(4) Sicda 1991 has occurred,” it said.

Twenty-one MPs from the opposition had earlier today congratulated the SC for acting swiftly in announcing an investigation into the matter.

They nonetheless called for the MACC advisory panel and other oversight mechanisms to conduct further investigations of their own.

They also urged Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob to “restore credibility” to MACC by “ordering Azam to go on leave while a truly independent investigation is done”.

Faizal said all parties should stop touting issues involving civil servants for the sake of “hidden agendas” as a full investigation had been held and a final decision made.

He said to do otherwise would be insincere as well as unpatriotic.

“It would undermine the spirit of the civil service, thus compromising the future of the country for the sake of a purely political agenda,” he added.

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