Muhyiddin says only appointed Azam Baki to MACC due to chief secretary’s endorsement, accuses critics of trying to implicate him in fiasco

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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Former prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claimed today there were certain quarters attempting to implicate him in the ongoing controversy surrounding Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Tan Sri Azam Baki and the latter’s appointment as the enforcement agency’s head.

According to Muhyiddin, Azam’s appointment had been done in the right manner even though it took place during his administration.

“It is not me who appointed him but was certified by the committee led by the then chief secretary to the government who had proposed his name,” Muhyiddin was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.

The chief secretary then was Tan Sri Mohd Zuki Ali, who is still currently serving that post.

This comes after Pengerang MP Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said questioned whether Muhyiddin had done necessary background checks before appointing Azam as MACC chief commissioner in March 2020.

Separately, a former principal private secretary to Muhyiddin affirmed that Azam’s appointment was made in accordance with existing regulations and due process stipulated in the public service under the provisions of Section 5 of the MACC Act.

“Under this section, the MACC chief commissioner is appointed by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister.

“The prime minister, in the appointment of any other senior government official, usually receives a recommendation from the chief secretary to the government or any other party provided for under the law.

“This recommendation is made to the prime minister in the form of a proposal paper for the appointment of officers in which there is a report on the qualifications of officers and the justification for appointment,” Datuk Marzuki Mohamad was quoted as saying by Sinar Harian.

Explaining further, Marzuki said there exist certain processes in the civil service that determine the eligibility of an officer to be appointed to any position.

“This includes security and integrity screening processes made by various agencies from time to time.

“For officers who are serving, they are subject to various rules and conditions including asset declarations,” he said.

Azam has been under public scrutiny in recent weeks over his acquisition of millions of shares in two public-listed companies back in 2015.

The MACC chief commissioner has maintained that he had done nothing wrong, that the shares bought since then were by his brother.

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

News about Azam’s holding of shares in several companies were brought to light by a freelance investigative journalist in December last year, and had received keen public interest.

Anti-corruption watchdogs have called for an independent body to investigate the allegations against Azam, such as a Parliamentary Select Committee.

Three senior MACC officers issued a joint statement proclaiming their full support for Azam and decrying the criticisms against him as politically motivated “attacks” tarnishing the commission as a public institution.

The statement was signed by Datuk Seri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya, Datuk Seri Norazlan Mohd Razali and Datuk Junipah Wahid who are the deputy chief commissioners in charge of operations, prevention and management and professionalism respectively.

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