As MACC is facing worst crisis of confidence in 55 year history of anti-corruption agency, Ismail Sabri should extend special Parliament to two days with the second day specially devoted to restoring public confidence in government’s anti-corruption programme
The Prime Minister, Ismail Sabri, has called for a special Dewan Rakyat meeting on January 20 focussing on the floods disaster in various areas in Malaysia.
It is an eternal shame to the Malaysian Parliament that the government was not prepared to have a special debate on the floods disaster when the floods were at or near their worst at a time when Parliament was still in session, but now there is going to be a special one-day Parliament on the floods disaster on January 2001.
At present, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is facing its worst crisis of confidence in the 55-year history of the country’s anti-corruption agency (which started in 1967 as the Anti-Corruption Agency under its first director Harun Hashim).
Ismail Sabri should extend the Special Parliament to two days, with the second day on January 21 specially devoted to restoring public confidence in the government’s anti-corruption programme.
Only then can the Malaysian Parliament and the Prime Minister be said to be on top of the Big Issues confronting the nation.
A former MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board Chairman has endorsed my statement yesterday that the Board had acted ultra vires in clearing the MACC Chief Commissioner Azam Baki of conflict-of-interest allegation when the Board has no power to do so under Section 13 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009.
The former MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board Chairman said:
"When I was chairperson, I was aware of the fact that I was put in a purely advisory capacity. Things were done on a need-to-know basis, so issues outside our scope were really out of our reach.”
He said the role of the advisory board is to advise the commission on any aspect of the corruption problem in Malaysia and on policies and strategies of the commission in its efforts to eradicate corruption, as stipulated under the MACC Act 2009.
It is also entrusted, among others, to scrutinise and endorse proposals from the commission towards the efficient and effective running of the commission.
It is hilarious to say the least that the MACC’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Board had cleared the MACC Chief Commissioner of the conflict-of-interest allegation when it is not empowered under the law to do so.
Furthermore, the MACC’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Board had cleared Azam in a manner which any ordinary Malaysian would find amazing – without any proper investigation or calling up the relevant people to testify but solely on the statement of the Chief Commissioner!
The former MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board Chairman was most scathing when he said:
"The whole thing is a joke. You call these people commissioners, but they are just government officers. The commissioners should be in a board of commissioners, which should be a governing body, but it has never existed. (It is now) the tail wagging the dog, instead of the dog wagging the tail.”
There is a double confidence crisis – a confidence crisis over the MACC Chief Commissioner, Azam Baki, and another confidence crisis over the usefulness and value of the five so-called “independent” committees that monitor the MACC on its integrity and performance.
This double crisis of confidence in the government anti-corruption programme should be addressed and resolved in the second day of the Special Parliament, preferably on January 21, 2022.
I am surprised that PAS has come to the defence of Azam Baki, saying that the latter’s “tell-all” press conference on the conflict-of-interest allegation should put matters to rest.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department is the PAS MP for Kuala Krai, Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Rahman.
Is it as a result of the directive from his party PAS which is the reason why the Parliamentary Special Select Committee on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department has not met or summoned Azam Baki to appear before the SSC to clear himself of the conflict-of-interest allegation?