Guan Eng accuses Securities Commission of covering up for MACC chief

·3-min read
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference at PKR’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya October 29, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference at PKR’s headquarters in Petaling Jaya October 29, 2021. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 19 — The Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) has tarnished its image over its apparent indecision in establishing if Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Tan Sri Azam Baki committed any wrongdoing in his recent public share ownership controversy, an Opposition leader said today.

DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said the SC gave the impression that it was covering up for Azam by stating its investigations were inconclusive, even though the law states Azam had breached Section 25(4) of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991.

“Such a dishonest and irresponsible statement from the SC has not only tarnished the reputation of the SC in regulating and enforcing compliance but also put investor confidence in our country’s capital market at risk.

“Like every developed capital market in the world, Malaysia has outlawed proxy share trading through Section 25(4) of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (Sicda). How can SC not act when Azam has openly and publicly admitted that he had allowed his brother to conduct proxy share trading?” the MP for Bagan said in a statement today.

“There have been reports that SC had not acted because Azam Baki had actually lied when he claimed that his brother had conducted proxy share trading through Azam’s account.

“If that is the case, then SC should come out clearly and unequivocally that Azam had conducted share trading transactions himself instead of a statement that is seen as covering up for Azam and clearing him of any wrongdoing.”

Azam has been accused of owning millions in shares under his name in multiple public-listed companies which he said were bought by his younger brother, Nasir Baki.

Azam said in a press conference earlier this month that he had allowed Nasir to use his stock trading account to buy millions worth of shares in two public-listed companies back in 2015.

He denied any wrongdoing, saying the amount has since been transferred to Nasir’s account.

However, he has not explained publicly why Nasir had to use his account to buy those shares.

On January 8, Azam said he is ready for his alleged misconduct case to be referred to the MACC’s Complaints Committee.

He had also argued that he was already being investigated by the SC and the MACC Complaints Committee.

Soon after, Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang, who chairs the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board absolved Azam of any wrongdoing in a press conference.

On Monday, it was reported that the PSC meeting to discuss the MACC chief’s involvement with stock ownership has been postponed.

Yesterday, the SC said it found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing in Azam’s case.

Lim chided the SC, asking if it was worth the risk to protect Azam when investor confidence continues to slide and the economy is badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns, natural disasters and inflation.

“Is covering up for one individual in Azam worth the reputation risk of SC and investor confidence in Malaysia’s capital markets?

“With SC clearing Azam, questions are also raised whether the earlier tit-for-tat investigations by MACC against the SC will also be closed or quietly forgotten. Can we then expect a similar statement from MACC clearing SC of any wrongdoing?” he added.

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