Select Committee members dismayed by Wan Junaidi's 'defence' of Azam

·3-min read
Select Committee members dismayed by Wan Junaidi's 'defence' of Azam
Select Committee members dismayed by Wan Junaidi's 'defence' of Azam

Opposition MPs have expressed dismay with the statement by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar in response to the shareholding scandal surrounding MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki.

Members of the Special Select Committee (PSC) for Agencies under the Prime Minister's Department - Chan Foong Hing (Pakatan Harapan-Kota Kinabalu), Khoo Poay Tiong (Harapan-Kota Melaka), Azis Jamman (Warisan-Sepanggar) and William Leong (Harapan-Selayang) - issued a joint statement challenging Wan Junaidi's response on the matter.

"We would like to express our disappointment over the statement by Wan Junaidi.

"As the minister responsible for the law, we regret that Wan Junaidi seems to have downplayed the seriousness of Azam’s actions by discussing the value of the shares at the time of purchase.

"Wan Junaidi has justified the issue of shares held by Azam by saying that it is worth RM330,000 and therefore affordable," said the MPs.

"Our question is, why does Wan Junaidi seem to be protecting Azam? The issue of buying these shares is not just an issue of affordability.

"It is also a question of conflict of interest. It is also a question of integrity.

"It is also a question of the deficit of the people's trust in the MACC as an eradicator of corruption. Wan Junaidi seems to have ignored all these questions," they added.

They also pointed out that Wan Junaidi's statement that Azam himself could afford to buy the shares using his own salary did not tally with Azam's own claims that it was his brother who used his name to buy the shares.

"We note that the Special Committee on Corruption (established legally under Section 14 of the Malaysian Anti -Corruption Commission Act 2009) headed by the Speaker of the Senate Rais Yatim will take action on this Azam issue.

"Our question is, when will it be the turn of the Parliamentary Select Committee of the Prime Minister's Departments agencies led by Kuala Krai MP Abdul Latiff Abdul Rahman of PAS?"

The MPs repeated that their call for a PSC hearing for Azam was unnecessarily and unceremoniously set aside.

MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki
MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki

"How can parliamentary democracy in Malaysia work if the PSC cannot carry out its duties independently without having to seek approval from the executive?

"Why does the secretary of the Dewan Rakyat have to write a letter to Wan Junaidi to get approval? There is no need to obtain the approval of Wan Junaidi and the speaker of the House of Representatives and the secretary should set a date for the PSC hearing without further delay," the MPs said.

According to Excel Force Bhd’s 2015 annual report, Azam owned 2,156,000 warrants in the company as of March 21, 2016. At the time, Azam was the head of MACC’s investigation division.

In a press conference on Wednesday, Azam said he had told the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) that his trading account was used by his younger brother Nasir to acquire the shares in the two companies in 2015.

The board's chairperson Abu Zahar Ujang, who was also present at the press conference, had said they were satisfied with Azam’s explanation, prompting scorn from various parties.

Six other ACAB members, however, later disputed Abu Zahar's account as his own personal opinion.

The allegations were first published by a whistleblower, Lalitha Kunaratnam, who has since been served with a letter of demand from Azam.

The Securities Commission has since said it will be in touch with Azam over his admission, amid mounting calls for an independent probe of the allegations.

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