Don’t dally on MACC chief’s garden leave, says Shahrir

Don’t dally on MACC chief’s garden leave, says Shahrir
Should MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki go on garden leave or not? The prime minister must decide quickly, says Shahrir Samad. (Bernama pic)

Don’t dally on MACC chief’s garden leave, says Shahrir

PETALING JAYA: The prime minister should waste no time in deciding whether Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki should go on garden leave or not, says former Johor Bahru MP Shahrir Samad.

The Umno veteran said any delay in deciding on this matter would not only affect MACC’s credibility and integrity but would also impact the government’s image.

“In terms of good governance, it raises a question as to why there is a period between the time the issue began and the time for a decision (by the prime minister) on whether the MACC chief commissioner should be on garden leave or not,” he said in a Facebook post.

The issue came to light after the arrest of three senior MACC officers over the loss of case items amounting to US$6 million (RM25 million) belonging to former Malaysian External Intelligence Organisation director-general Hasanah Abdul Hamid.

Shahrir said the case was not a small matter because it involved public confidence in the MACC.

“This is no small matter … it should not be delayed,” he said.

Shahrir also said MACC officers who were allegedly involved in the loss of case items were remanded 10 days ago and MACC only issued an official statement after the remand period ended.

He added that the case should not be allowed to trigger a negative perception of the government and the MACC.

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It is believed Shahrir issued a statement following an answer given by law minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

In his winding-up speech on the King’s address, Wan Junaidi defended MACC’s actions to investigate its own officers involved in the case, although the decision had sparked a dispute.

Theft does not come under MACC’s jurisdiction but is handled by the police.

Wan Junaidi also reportedly dodged calls for the MACC chief commissioner to be put on garden leave until the agency’s probe was finished, saying he did not have the authority to make anyone go on leave temporarily.

However, he said he would raise the matter with the prime minister to ensure the government acted fairly.

On Monday, MACC confirmed that three of its officers had been remanded from Sept 14-19 to assist in investigations into allegations of abuse of power and malpractice, with the anti-graft agency saying that a thorough investigation was underway.

Bukit Aman, however, issued a statement saying no police report had been made on the matter. One of the three officers has since been arrested by police for firearms and drug offences.

The Pakatan Harapan presidential council has also suggested that Azam should be on temporary leave while investigations against his three senior officers are carried out.

“It’s a matter of integrity and good governance. Where did all the money go? Follow the money,” Shahrir said, adding that he hoped the case would be investigated transparently.

Don’t dally on MACC chief’s garden leave, says Shahrir


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