MACC's Anti-Corruption Advisory Board has no authority to investigate the conduct of the commission nor its officers, former board chairperson Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim said.
Therefore, he called on the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into the millions of company shares ownership of MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki.
"When I was chairperson, I was aware of the fact that I was put in a purely advisory capacity. Things were done on a need-to-know basis, so issues outside our scope were really out of our reach," Tunku Aziz (above) was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight (TMI).
The role of the advisory board is to advise the commission on any aspect of the corruption problem in Malaysia and on policies and strategies of the commission in its efforts to eradicate corruption, as stipulated under the MACC Act 2009.
It is also entrusted, among others, to scrutinise and endorse proposals from the commission towards the efficient and effective running of the commission.
"That is why, apart from what is happening now, or what I call the ‘Azam Affair’, the prime minister must set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry into MACC’s national state, the extent of corruption and effectiveness as presently constituted and organised," Tunku Aziz said.
"In other words, there is a need for a thorough review of the agency’s present structure.
"The board’s decision to conduct its own investigation, despite not being empowered to do so, shows that it is in dire need of an oversight committee," he said.
Tunku Aziz said: "That any company without a board of directors or any organisation without an executive oversight committee, that is why you have this attitude. They can do as they like because there is no one looking after them.
"No organisation anywhere in the world has ever been known to police itself. But because of a lack of oversight, you get this situation.
"If we are serious about fighting corruption, we need to set up an executive board to which MACC is answerable. A board must be set up that has the power to direct the policy and operational aspects of the agency. Otherwise, we are just playing at fighting corruption."
Institutions compromised since Dr M's regime
The executive board should comprise citizens with outstanding credentials, including people who have no interest in protecting their own positions, but instead look into all potential corruption issues, Tunku Aziz added.
"The whole thing is a joke. You call these people commissioners, but they are just government officers. The commissioners should be in a board of commissioners, which should be a governing body, but it has never existed. (It is now) the tail wagging the dog, instead of the dog wagging the tail.
"These institutions are compromised as they have been used politically since the Dr Mahathir Mohamad's regime. Once you make senior civil servants beholden to their masters, their integrity is compromised."
Azam continues to face pressure to explain his ownership of millions of shares in two public-listed companies in 2015 and 2016.
On Jan 5, MACC's Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairperson Abu Zahar Ujang convened a special press conference to explain the issue.
Abu Zahar said the shares were purchased in Azam's name by his younger brother and declared that Azam had done nothing wrong. He added that Azam had since transferred the shares to the brother.
However, the press conference opened a can of worms, with the opposition accusing Abu Zahar of acting beyond his authority.