Azalina asks if Muhyiddin vetted Azam Baki properly before appointing him as MACC chief

PETALING JAYA: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has been asked if he did his due diligence before appointing Tan Sri Azam Baki as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption (MACC) chief commissioner.

The question was raised by Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said, who also asked whether the issue of Azam acquiring shares was brought to the attention of the MACC's Complaints Committee prior to his appointment as provided for under Section 15 of the MACC Act 2009.

The Pengerang MP said that Azam was appointed by Muhyiddin, who was the prime minister at the time.

"I assume thorough due diligence was conducted by relevant authorities prior to his appointment. Was this issue highlighted then," she said in a Facebook post on Sunday (Jan 9).

Allegations recently surfaced that Azam owned a substantial number of shares in two companies between 2015 and 2016 when he was the MACC director of investigations.

On Wednesday (Jan 5), Azam said he had given permission to his younger brother, Nasir, to use his trading account to acquire the shares.

Azalina, who is also the special adviser (law and human rights) to the Prime Minister, noted that Section 15 of the MACC Act 2009 allowed for the appointment of a complaints committee to monitor the conduct of MACC’s officers.

She added that there were already a number of independent committees and oversight bodies in the MACC and questioned whether there was any need for more to be established.

According to her, one of these committees is a Special Committee on Corruption which was appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

The special committee comprises three senators and two MPs and is chaired by the Dewan Negara president.

"Procedurally, this special committee performs oversight of the MACC Advisory Board, which falls under Section 13 of the Act (MACC Act 2009). Clearly, there are two oversight bodies appointed by the King,” she said. Did the advisory board confer with the special committee prior to issuing any statement? What is the special committee’s stand on the advisory board’s opinions?" she said.

On Saturday (Jan 8), six members of the Anti-Corruption advisory board distanced themselves from chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang’s statement on Wednesday that the board was satisfied with the explanation provided by Azam over the matter.

However, three deputy chief commissioners of MACC issued a statement, standing by Azam and stated that the recent accusations and slander thrown at Azam were motivated by “revenge politics” aimed at undermining the image and credibility of the anti-graft agency.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the public should wait for the investigations, including by the Securities Commission of Malaysia, to be completed.

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