JOHOR BARU: Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zakarshi urges Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to carry out a thorough investigation on the allegations made by Prof Dr Edmund Terence Gomez against a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) top official.
The Umno supreme council member added that the action of Gomez’s sudden resignation from the anti-graft body’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel raised concerns against MACC’s integrity.
"There are three main concerns. First, is the MACC capable of being an agency that can fight corruption fairly, transparently and effectively?
"Secondly, what is the issue that is the cause of the resignation, namely 'business' and 'conflict of interest' involving top MACC officers is true and well-founded," he asked here on Tuesday (Dec 28).
Mohd Puad also raised a question of whether the MACC was too "immune" to be touched.
He said if all parties remain silent and do not dare to discuss what was alleged by Gomez, then who else but the Prime Minister should intervene.
Mohd Puad also asked what happened to the case involving three senior MACC officers who allegedly abused power and malpractice over the loss of cash belonging to former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation director-general Datuk Hasanah Abdul Hamid.
On Monday (Dec 27), Gomez resigned from the MACC Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel in a letter to the panel's chairperson Tan Sri Borhan Dolah in protest over the panel's inaction with regards to allegations regarding an MACC top official.
The official allegedly has a business interest with a publicly-listed company.
In the letter, Gomez had said he had raised the issue with Borhan on Nov 12 and had asked him to call a meeting of the panel on the allegations.
"I wrote to you on Nov 12, asking that you convene a meeting of our Panel. You responded immediately stating that you would call a meeting and that you would ask the MACC's administrative staff to organise it," said Gomez.
"Two weeks later, I wrote to you again on Nov 26, this time attaching more information I had received on the business links of Azam's family. I stressed that this information was deeply troubling as it was based on extensive research," said Gomez.
Gomez then said that he had raised the issue again with Borhan on Dec 14, as he had not received a response to his second letter.
He then added that he is submitting his resignation as he had said that he would be tendering his resignation from the MACC panel if he did not hear from Borhan.
Gomez had been appointed to the MACC panel from June 1, 2020 and would have ended his term on May 31,2022.
However, according to a news portal, Borhan denied that there were any mention allegations against a top MACC official in the two emails he received from Gomez. He said, in the emails, Gomez merely urged to call a meeting to discuss on ways to improve the MACC's image.
Rasuah Busters chief secretariat Nurhayati Nordin, in a statement on Tuesday, said that Gomez's resignation showed that the public will no longer compromise on any unethical conduct by institutions given the responsibility of ensuring the justice and democratic systems in this country remain effective.
"Conflict of interests are no small matter that we can turn a blind eye to, and be part of the normal way of life in the 'vicious cycle'. Conflicts of interests that are not resolved can lead to the degradation of procedure, affair management and surely the misuse of positions that is brought about by personal interest.
"To ensure that the MACC or any other body can function as intended, this influence must be avoided," she said.
She added that Rasuah Busters are urging the MACC to come forward and state their stance publicly to placate doubts from the people.
"Admitting to mistakes and taking responsibility for it is a form of integrity. The uncertainty must be addressed and what has been damaged, fixed," she said.