Malaysia Anti-Corruption Forum 2022 has raised even more questions about anti-corruption campaign in Malaysia

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Forum 2022 has raised even more questions about the anti-corruption campaign in Malaysia.

Former chief justice Mohamad Raus Sharif at the third Malaysia Anti-Corruption Forum said that the appointment of a politician as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had cast doubt on its credibility.

The DAP MP for Bukit Glugor, Ramkarpal Singh has rightly criticised the former chief justice as “a man detached from reality”.

The biggest failure of the MACC was its handling of the “kleptocracy at its worst” scandal, the 1MDB scandal.

At the trial of former Prime Minister Najib Razak over abuses of power in the SRC International case in March 2020, a former MACC Chief Commissioner Dzulkifli Ahmad testified that he was “shocked” when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in 2015 recommended that the Attorney-General’s Chambers pressed charges against the then Prime Minister for alleged “dishonest misappropriation of funds” relating to SRC International.

He told the High Court the recommendation was made by then MACC special operations division director Bahri Mohammad Zin in his written note on the anti-graft body’s investigation papers submitted to the Attorney-General’s Chambers on Dec 31, 2015.

Dzulkifli was one of the deputy public prosecutors assigned by the then Attorney-General Apandi Ali to look into MACC’s investigation papers involving the 1MDB scandal.

Was Raus referring to the appointment of Dzulkifli as MACC Chief Commissioner from 1st August 2016 to 14th May 2018, or was he referring to the appointment of Latheefa Koya who served as MACC Chief Commissioner fromn 1st June 2019 to 5th March 2020?

Ramkarpal rightly said Raus’ remarks suggested that MACC had the public’s confidence before Latheefa’s appointment, pointing out that this “cannot be further from the truth”.

Latheefa had unveiled leaked audio recordings between former prime minister Najib Razak and former MACC chief Dzulkifli Ahmad in 2016, which he said gave the commission’s image a beating.

It is a surprise that Raus did not refer to this notorious episode.

Even more surprising is the keynote address by the MACC Chief Commissioner, Azam Baki at the forum that the perpetrators of the 1MDB scandal must be brought to justice for their “evil” actions – when Dzulkifli had spent 22 months as MACC Chief Commissioner virtually denying that there was a 1MDB scandal.

In his keynote address at the forum, Azam stressed that there was still work to be done before the 1MDB scandal can be put to rest.

“The work is not done yet. The people of Malaysia must demand total accountability over every sen invested in 1MDB.

“It is hoped that the people in this room will also join the call to demand that every perpetrator of this crime will pay for their evil actions,” he said.

Coincidentally, Dzulkifli announced in Penang this week that he would contest in the 15th General Election if the people wanted him.

Will Apandi join Dzukifli to contest in the 15th General Election?

Lim Kit Siang MP for Iskandar Puteri