FINALLY, ISMAIL SABRI SQUEAKS UP – GIVE AUTHORITIES SPACE TO PROBE AZAM BAKI’S CASE – WHILE MINISTER IN PM’S DEPT INSISTS ‘PROBE ON MACC CHIEF DONE ACCORDING TO LAW’ – BUT WAS MACC PANEL’S PROBE & CLEARING OF AZAM ALSO ‘ACCORDING TO THE LAW’

PM: Give authorities space to probe Azam Baki’s case

All quarters should give space to the authorities to thoroughly investigate allegations on share purchase involving MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki, said Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The prime minister said investigations were being conducted by various parties, including the Securities Commission (SC) and MACC itself, proving that the government was not keeping quiet on the matter as alleged.

“I am always informed and keep tabs on issues related to MACC. Action has been taken and the impression given that the government is keeping quiet is wrong. MACC is an independent commission with its own procedure to handle such matters.

“Let’s wait for the investigation to be completed. We cannot jump to conclusion that Azam is guilty. We have to be fair to all and only take action after the investigation is completed,” he told a press conference after presenting cash aid and fruit baskets to 206 families affected by floods in Kota Marudu today.

Also present were Sabah Chief Minister Hajiji Noor and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) Maximus Ongkili, who is Kota Marudu MP.

Ismail Sabri said this when commenting on a statement yesterday by the Pakatan Harapan presidential council asking for Azam and Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairperson Abu Zahar Ujang to be immediately investigated by an independent body and to be temporarily relieved of their duties until the investigation is completed.

The prime minister gave an assurance that he would not compromise with people involved in wrongdoings but wanted all quarters to be fair and consistent on such matters.

“We must have confidence in our system. Let MACC and the Securities Commission investigate first. Previously, there was a Penang chief minister who was investigated, (but) no one suggested that he take leave. We have to be consistent and should not practice double standards,” he said.

Ismail Sabri said the government would ensure that there was no interference in the work of MACC as it is an independent body. – Bernama

Probe on Azam Baki done according to law, says Wan Junaidi

INVESTIGATIONS into Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki are in accordance with the law, Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said.

The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Parliament and Law) said a decision can only be made once the probe concludes.

Wan Junaidi added that both the Securities Commission (SC) and police are looking into the case, and the views of the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board will be taken into consideration.

“I am aware many are demanding for action to be taken against Azam. However, I would like to remind everyone that this matter is still under investigation and we are only able to make a decision on the matter upon completion of investigations by the SC and the police,” he said in a statement today.

The statement comes as six board members disassociated themselves from their chairman’s move to clear Azam of any wrongdoing in the issue of corporate shares ownership.

The members, in a statement, said they did not share the views of chairman Abu Zahar Ujang on the matter.

“We categorically wish to state that the board members at that meeting or at any time thereafter did not express such opinion as Abu Zahar attributed to,” they said earlier today.

The members were referring to Abu Zahar’s recent remarks, that the board found Azam had done no wrong after hearing his explanation that the shares belonged to his brother who had used his trading account.

The shares were later transferred to the brother, and, as such, there was no conflict of interest, he added.

The members said the comments made at a press conference on Wednesday were entirely Abu Zahar’s personal view.

This issue was raised in Parliament on December 14 by Sungai Buloh MP R. Sivarasa, who questioned whether Azam had declared the alleged 2.15 million shares owned in Excel Force MSC Bhd in 2015, as well as 1.93 million shares in Gets Global Bhd the same year and 1.02 million shares the following year.

Azam had also said he had informed his superiors in 2015 about the purchase of the shares by his brother and there were no concerns raised.

Wan Junaidi said that Azam had first purchased a million shares in a publicly listed company in 2016 for RM330,000 or between 30 sen and 33 sen per share. The current size of his shareholding was accumulated over the years.

“Based on the initial price, it is not an expensive share to acquire. I believe it is affordable to many of us. And for those who are active stock market traders, it is also normal to gradually increase your shareholding over time, especially when you see the potential,” he said.

He added that there is no law or regulations that prohibit government servants from acquiring shares in public listed companies.

Under Public Officers Regulations Act (Conduct and Discipline) 1993, government servants are only prohibited from trading in futures markets, locally and abroad while those who own shares in public listed companies are required to declare them as assets.

As for demands to place MACC under Parliament, Wan Junaidi said the matter has to be looked into carefully as it is not simple.

He added that for MACC to be effective, it needs to operate independently and the commission’s independence is ensured under the MACC Act 2009 (Act 694), which should not be compromised in any way.  TMI

BERNAMA / THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT

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