Did Muhyiddin do due diligence prior to appointing Azam, asks Azalina

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PETALING JAYA: Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said has questioned whether former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin had done a thorough due diligence before appointing Azam Baki as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in March 2020.

“Azam was appointed by Muhyiddin when he was prime minister. I assume that thorough due diligence was conducted by the relevant authorities prior to his appointment.

“Was this issue (of corporate share ownership) not highlighted then?” she asked in a Facebook post.

Azam is being investigated whether he broke any laws over his ownership of shares in a publicly listed company and for allowing his share trading account to be used by his brother.

Azalina, who is also an Umno Supreme Council member and special adviser (law and human rights) to the prime minister, further questioned whether Azam’s issue was brought to the attention of the Complaints Committee before or during his appointment.

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

One of these committees is a Special Committee on Corruption which was appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. The members of the committe comprised three senators and two MPs and is chaired by the Dewan Negara speaker.

“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?”

Yesterday, six members of the advisory board distanced themselves from chairman Abu Zahar Ujang’s statement on Wednesday that Azam had been cleared of any wrongdoing on the corporate share ownership issue.

Today, three deputy chief commissioners of MACC issued a statement expressing their support for Azam and said the recent accusations and slander thrown at him were motivated by “revenge politics” aimed at undermining the image and credibility of the anti-graft agency.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the public should wait for the investigations, including by the Securities Commission (SC), to be completed.

Azam’s ownership of one million shares in a public-listed company came to light in mid-December, which led to criticism of MACC’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Board when it exonerated Azam, saying the purchase of shares by his brother was not a conflict of interest.

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