I had asked in Parliament why the MACC had announced in June that it would not be carrying out investigations into the misappropriation of funds and abuse of power in the 1MDB scandal.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in-charge of integrity, Paul Low, replied on Nov 1 that “investigations weren’t carried out because of existing investigations being done by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Bank Negara and the police”.
There could not be a more shameless and irresponsible reply from the minister and the government.
The PAC – which barely scratched the surface of the 1MDB scandal – has no prosecutorial powers. Bank Negara Malaysia, on the other hand, was investigating 1MDB purely from the Financial Services Act and certainly did not deal with the parties who had profited from the scandal.
At the same time, while the police may have been investigating the criminal elements in 1MDB, the MACC has powers, laws and jurisdictions which are completely different from the police to tackle corruption cases.
That was the whole point of the Parliament passing the MACC Act in the first place, so that there is a dedicated and independent commission to tackle the scourge of corruption and not let the burden be shouldered by the police.
What type of “independent commission” worth its salt is the MACC if it leaves investigations, especially a scandal of such scale, to other agencies?
In January this year, MACC chief commissioner Dzulkifly Ahmad warned corrupt politicians to “be careful”. He said he wasn’t afraid of protected individuals and would launch investigations without fear or favour. “Just you wait,” Dzulkifly warned.
Why are the MACC and Dzulkifly, after all the showboating, so afraid of investigating the country’s biggest and most blatant corruption scandal?
Malaysians have been waiting long for MACC to launch its investigations into 1MDB, especially after similar investigations have already begun in the United States, Switzerland and Singapore.
Just this weekend, even 1MDB-linked Prince Turki of Saudi Arabia (photo) was hauled up as part of an anti-corruption sweep in his own kingdom.
In Malaysia, multiple reports have been lodged with the MACC on the 1MDB scandal. These included reports filed in December 2014 by then Umno Batu Kawan division deputy chief Khairuddin Abu Hassan and more recently, by a Pakatan Harapan Youth-linked NGO in July this year. Hence, it is a serious breach of the MACC’s duty for failing to look into these complaints of corruption.
These submitted reports were to be evaluated before the commission’s information evaluation committee to determine whether there were elements of corruption or not.
If elements of corruption are found, it is imperative that an MACC investigation is opened before being referred to the AG for legal prosecution.
Was the above process conveniently ignored in MACC’s special treatment for 1MDB?
It is preposterous for an independent commission like the MACC to pass on its investigation to other agencies. Each authority has a different mandate to investigate, so it is entirely cowardly for the MACC to turn a blind eye and let other agencies look into it.
Until the MACC finally grows a spine and properly considers reports against 1MDB, the commissioner’s boastful warnings will remain in Malaysians’ eyes as baseless rhetoric.
TONY PUA is the MP for Petaling Jaya Utara.