Why did law minister seemingly protect Azam Baki over stock trading fiasco? PSC members under PM’s Dept ask

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 9 — Several members of the Special Select Committee overseeing agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department today criticised the law minister for issuing a public statement they felt were aimed at absolving Tan Sri Azam Baki, who has been accused of proxy stock trading while holding public office.

The four members — Aziz Jaman (Sepanggar), Chan Foong Hin (Kota Kinabalu), Khoo Poay Tiong (Kota Melaka) and William Leong Jee Keen (Selayang) — said Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar’s explanation about Azam Baki’s shares was disappointing because it appeared to side with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief, when an investigation had yet to be made.

“Our question is, why did Wan Junaidi act as if he was protecting Azam?” the four PSC members asked in a statement.

“The issue of stock purchases is not just about affordability. It is also about conflict of interest. It is also about integrity, and the question of public trust deficit towards the MACC as the body that was entrusted to fight corruption,” they added.

“Wan Junaidi appeared to have ignored all these facts,” they added.

In a statement issued yesterday, Wan Junaidi claimed the value of the shares Azam Baki had bought in 2016 was “just” RM330,000 and the current share size he is holding at the moment had accumulated over the years.

The value was deemed to be “affordable” by someone of Azam Baki’s rank, and therefore unlikely to have been acquired through corrupt means, he concluded.

The PSC members also pointed to Azam Baki’s explanation that it was his brother that bought most of the shares that had been accumulated since 2016. They suggested the statement was in conflict with Wan Junaidi’s explanation that the shares were bought by the MACC chief commissioner himself.

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki speaks to the media during a special press conference at MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, January 5, 2022. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon© Provided by Malay Mail Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki speaks to the media during a special press conference at MACC headquarters in Putrajaya, January 5, 2022. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

The Securities Commission has said it would call Azam Baki in for questioning over possible conflict of interest after he admitted to proxy stock trading.

Anti-corruption watchdogs and opposition MPs have called for the allegations against the MACC chief commissioner to be investigated, with some saying he should be compelled to explain before the PSC.

The media had reported that the Parliamentary Special Committee overseeing anti-corruption efforts led by Tan Sri Rais Yatim would soon initiate its own investigation.

Members of the PSC under the PMD, the department overseeing the MACC, have questioned when their own chief, Kuala Krai MP from PAS Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman would hold its own hearing and summon Azam Baki for an explanation.

“When will the PSC for PMD agencies led by Tuan Abdul Latiff bin Abdul Rahman, who is also MP for Kuala Krai from PAS, take its turn?” the PSC members asked.

“Certainly, the two select committees were formed with their respective mandates and have specific roles to play,” they added.

 

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