Some in Agencies Committee agree to hearing postponement

·2-min read
Some in Agencies Committee agree to hearing postponement
Some in Agencies Committee agree to hearing postponement

Some of the nine members of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) on Agencies in the Prime Minister's Department had proposed the postponement of their hearing today where MACC chief Azam Baki was set to testify.

This was revealed in a press release by Agencies Committee chairperson Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman (PAS-Kuala Krai) in a statement last night.

Latiff (above) explained that Azam had written to the Dewan Rakyat secretary and the contents of the letter required legal advice.

"The legal adviser required time to study the matter because it is complicated and an answer cannot be arrived by Wednesday (today).

"Therefore, there are suggestions by some committee members to postpone (the hearing) and I agreed with this proposal," said Latiff.

In view that all four opposition members of the Agencies Committee have objected to the postponement, it could only mean those who were in favour of the postponement were among the government MPs.

Latiff did not provide a time frame for the legal adviser to get back to the Agencies Committee or the Dewan Rakyat secretary.

Azam Baki
Azam Baki

The four opposition members - Azis Jamman (Warisan-Sepanggar), Chan Foong Hin (Harapan-Kota Kinabalu), Khoo Poay Tiong (Harapan-Kota Melaka) and William Leong (Harapan-Selayang) - argued that the Agencies Committee could have continued meeting today by withdrawing the subpoena to discuss other related matters such as the terms of reference and the list of witnesses.

Critics such as Johor Bahru MP Akmal Nasrullah Mohd Nasir said it was wrong to postpone the Agencies Committee meeting because it could have proceeded and discussed issues raised by Azam. This, argued Akmal, was part of the committee and Parliament's mandate to keep tabs on the executive.

The Agencies Committee has been under pressure to investigate Azam's large equity stake in 2016 when he was the investigations director of the MACC, which might be against government rules.

Azam has admitted to the matter, but his explanation was that he had no pecuniary interest and instead the warrants in the company - Excel Force MSC Sdn Bhd - was acquired by his brother, Nasir.

This story has created doubts on whether this was allowed under trading laws but the Securities Commission said its investigations cannot conclude that Azam was in the wrong.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, who oversees the MACC, has not commented on the controversy since it became widely reported in late December.

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