Time To Resign

Azam Baki regards himself as innocent of wrong doing and able to justify his actions in every respect. Following the resignation of the most respected member of his commission’s Advisory Board in protest, that Advisory Board has issued a declaration of support for his position.

He will have his day in court (having sued a detractor) and his opportunity to be grilled about why he even had a share trading account, let alone millions of ringgit worth of shares, compared to his businessman brother who apparently did not and had to borrow his.

However, there comes a time (and for him it is now) when resignation becomes the only honourable thing to do, whether one believes oneself to be right or not. It is about perception and Azam Baki holds one of the most sensitive jobs in the country which deserves to be held by someone who is trusted by all. Instead, he is hanging on for all he’s worth and lowering the reputation of his office and his country by putting his own position first.

Six members of the Advisory Board, which was not entitled to ‘clear’ him in the first place, have now resigned. The police have announced they are investigating. Put simply, for very many people in Malaysia Azam Baki’s excuses for his bulging share account fail some basic smell tests. Worse, in making his threadbare excuse Azam, Najib-like, has thereby implicated himself in another form of wrong-doing which is the misuse of his account.

All the country has now been educated, thanks to the rules having flown around the social media, that the rules of the Stock Exchange forbid the use of one person’s share trading account by someone who is not the registered owner of that account. The top law man in the anti-corruption agency ought surely to have known this rule or kept a proper accountant to manage his affairs. Yet this is Azam’s best excuse: that his brother was illegally using his account, meaning the millions worth of shares being traded under his name were not his own.

Hmmmm. It is the same sort of excuse that Najib gave when he claimed the stolen 1MDB money in his account was in fact a kind ‘donation’ by a foreign power to help him win and election. The court of public opinion registered their view of that excuse and likewise this one. Reacting in the same way that Najib also did, Azam has gone on the warpath against detractors, wielding the powers entrusted by his office to try to save himself. He has secured a bogus exoneration and used it to sue an activist who pointed out his shortcomings.

And, like the corruption ridden BN regime, now sadly back in office, Azam is working against a background of dubious reputational issues which the entire country has been watching with growing dismay over several months involving thefts and misdemeanours by MACC staff from his close ranks and under his watch.

Azam should understand that the institution of resignation is a good one. It offers a form of dignity that an eventual punishment does not and immediately brings public sympathy through the recognition that one has put the country and its institutions before oneself. Whatever mess he has got into, innocently or not, he will thereby distance his organisation and its work from that odour and all would thank him.

His present attitude only underlines his perceived unsuitability for the position that he holds whether eventually found innocent or not.

Time To Resign

The Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) will open an investigation after receiving a police report made against MACC chief Azam Baki following his admission that his account was used by his brother to buy stakes in several companies.

According to a report by Harian Metro, Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin said it was understood that Azam (above) was currently being investigated under the Securities Commission Malaysia Act 1993.

“We have just received a report and if the offence is committed under the Securities Commission Malaysia Act, they will investigate.

When the excuse admits wrong-doing you have a problem

Kit Siang draws parallels between Azam and Najib, fears kleptocracy relapse

Iskandar Puteri MP Lim Kit Siang has drawn parallels between ex-prime minister Najib Abdul Razak and MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki.

He pinpointed Najib’s conduct with regard to the 1MDB scandal and Azam’s handling of his share ownership controversy, expressing concern that the country will relapse into kleptocracy.

He noted that Najib, in a “coming out speech” at a Makkal Sakthi Malaysia event yesterday, positioned himself as an honest man who did not want to promise the unachievable in the 14th general election and paid the price for it.

“Not a word on the 1MDB scandal, which was described by the US Attorney-General at the time, Jeff Sessions, at a global forum on asset recovery in December 2017 as ‘kleptocracy at its worst’ with the US Department of Justice working to provide justice to the victims of the 1MDB scandal.

“I find it surreal that while Najib is lamenting his plight for being honest, a US judge was setting a February date for the 1MDB corruption trial of a former Goldman Sachs banker, Roger Ng,” Lim said in a statement.

Lim said the denial syndrome was likewise seen in Azam’s response.

“Azam Baki, who vowed yesterday to fight allegations of misconduct, that he is ‘still working and not on leave’, when for over two months, neither the MACC nor Prime Minister Ismail Sabri, did anything over serious conflict-of-interest allegations against Azam.

“Just like Azam, Najib claimed that he could ‘sleep soundly at night’ and talk about ‘morals and ethics’ without mentioning the 1MDB scandal at all!

“This is what the country is confronted with, and will be the single biggest issue in the 15th general election – is Malaysia to relapse to a kleptocracy, the object of international scorn and ridicule, which the historic decision of the 14th General Election on May 9, 2018, had provided an opportunity to save Malaysia,” Lim said.

Azam’s ownership of millions of shares in two public listed firms in 2015 had raised questions on whether it was commensurate with his income as a public servant and conflict of interest concerns.

Azam claimed the shares were bought in his name by his brother and they have since been transferred to the latter.

However, the explanation attracted the attention of the Securities Commission for possible misuse of trading accounts.

“The events of the last few days were a rehearsal of what to expect in the 15th General Election which the top Umno leadership wants to be held immediately,” Lim said.

Lim said the nation had seen a decline in the last 50 years, losing out to Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Vietnam.

“Are we to decline further and see Indonesia and Philippines overtaking us in the coming decades?

“We must buck up, stop our decline, and strive to be a world-class great nation. We must not relapse to be a kleptocracy, ending up as a kakistocracy and a failed state.

“This is what the 15th general election is all about – whether to relapse as a kleptocracy or take the initial steps to become a world-class great nation,” he said.  MKINI