Appointment of retired Brigadier General Mohamad Arshad Raji as honorary MACC advisor?

The President of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan, retired Brigadier General Mohamad Arshad Raji has rightly questioned why the authorities have yet to take action on reports that Majilis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) had purchased a block of apartments in Melbourne, Australia at an inflated price.

Mohamad Arshad said: “Four days have passed (since the news report), and not a squeak is heard from those in authority.

“Why the eerie silence on this alleged scandal? Where is the accountability?”

Australian daily The Sydney Morning Herald last Saturday reported that the original owner of the apartment block UniLodge, Australian businessman Lionel Harber, has confirmed the valuation of his property in 2012 as nearly half what Mara Inc had paid.

Harber was reportedly “taken aback” when he learned that within weeks of selling the building for A$23.5 million (RM77.6 million) to an agent connected to an offshore company, it was resold to Mara Inc for A$41.8 million (RM138 million).

Mohamed Arshad said that “good sense and ethics” demand that the minister concerned address the claims made in the report immediately.

“Malaysians demand a thorough investigation and ultimately a clear explanation to what has transpired,” he said.

He said if an offence has been committed, those who are guilty must be severely punished.

MACC has already launched a probe into Mara Inc's Australian property purchases, after the scandal erupted in 2015.

Last November, Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the graft probe was almost complete.

Mohamad Arshad said:

“Public money must be spent carefully for the good of the people and as such, any purchase at an inflated price is wrong.

“We are reminded of the shocking report in 1982 by the auditor-general regarding the inflated purchase price of a packet of Maggi instant noodle at RM4, whereas the market price then was only 30 sen.

“This nonsense of government departments and civil servants’ purchases at inflated prices must stop now,” he said.

I have no doubt that if Mohamad Arshad is appointed as one of the MACC’s honorary advisors, he would demand MACC accountability for the MARA scandal and for the heads of those responsible for the MARA scandal in Australia, whether current or former Cabinet Ministers, to fall.

In fact, I have no doubt that Mohamad Arshad would pass the three tests of credibility for hononary MACC advisor with flying colours, viz: to demand a review as to whether Tan Sri Dzulkifli Ahmad should step down as MACC Chief Commissioner so that MACC’s credibility and effectiveness as an agency to combat corruption would not be adversely affected; to advise the MACC to launch a full-scale investigation into the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal; and thirdly, to advise the MACC to launch an international campaign to clear and cleanse Malaysia of the infamy, ignominy and iniquity of been regarded world-wide as a “global kleptocracy” as the result of the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB money-laundering scandal.

Recently, the MACC has been silent on a multitude of issues when it should not be silent, but loud and even loquacious on other matters although undergoing premature investigations.

The MACC should respond to the query by the lawyer of former Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Mohd Khatri Abdulla on the legality of how the MACC and the government could appoint honorary advisors for the MACC Chief Commissioner, when the MACC Act 2009 does not have any provision for appointing honorary advisers to the chief commissioner.

Mohd Khatr pointed out that the Act's Section 13 already sanctions the appointment of an Advisory Board for Corruption Prevention which has its members appointed by the Yang Di Pertuan Agong.

He asked: "There is no provision under the Act for honorary advisers to the chief commissioner. There is provision under Section 13 for the board of advisers but not specifically for chief commissioner Dzulkifli.

"Where is the valid legal power for the formation of such a body to specifically advise Dzulkifli as the chief commissioner and what is the purpose of forming it?"

The authorities including the Prime Minister cannot continue their thunderous silence, including whether the Judicial and Legal Service Commission had recommended that Dzulkifli be sacked as MACC Chief Commissioner.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah