PANICKY MUHYIDDIN FEELS THE HEAT – ‘IT WASN’T ME, IT WAS THE CHIEF SECRETARY WHO PICKED AZAM’ – EVEN AS HIS EX-TOP AIDE SAYS IT WAS THE AGONG WHO APPOINTED AZAM AS MACC CHIEF – ‘SO THE QUESTION DOES NOT ARISE ON WHETHER THE 8TH PRIME MINISTER HAD CONDUCTED A BACKGROUND CHECK’

It wasn’t me – Chief Secretary proposed Azam, says Muhyiddin

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has denied he made the choice of Azam Baki to head the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

He said it was the Chief Secretary to the government (Mohd Zuki Ali) who had proposed Azam to the post. “I didn’t pick (Azam), it was the Chief Secretary to the government who thought he was qualified,” Astro Awani quoted him as saying.

Azam is being investigated into whether he broke any laws over his ownership of shares in public-listed companies and for allowing his share trading account to be used by his brother.

Muhyiddin said Azam’s appointment was done according to procedure.

Earlier today, Muhyiddin’s former principal private secretary, Marzuki Mohamad, said Azam’s appointment was made by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong on the advice of the prime minister.

Marzuki said the prime minister would first receive recommendations from the Chief Secretary to the government or other relevant parties, as provided by law.

Yesterday, Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said had asked whether Muhyiddin had vetted Azam properly before appointing him to head MACC.

Azalina, who is special adviser (law and human rights) to the prime minister, said Azam had been appointed by Muhyiddin when he was prime minister. She said she assumed that a thorough due diligence check was conducted by the relevant authorities prior to Azam’s appointment. FMT

No issue whether Muhyiddin had screened Azam, says ex-PM’s senior aide

A former senior officer to Muhyiddin Yassin today said that the question on whether the ex-premier had conducted a background check on then deputy MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki before advising for his promotion does not arise.

Taking to Facebook, Marzuki Mohamad , who served as Muhyiddin’s principal private secretary, said this was due to Azam’s appointment by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong having followed procedures set out under the civil service.

“Azam was an MACC deputy chief commissioner before he was appointed as MACC chief commissioner.

“I believe that as a high-ranking government officer who is still in service, he is bound by all conditions and processes before and after his appointment,”  Marzuki said

“So the question does not arise on whether the 8th prime minister had conducted a background check before an appointment was made.

“The appointment process is done properly, based on set rules and procedures,” he said, adding that any issues arising after the appointment should be dealt with according to the law.

Marzuki said this in response to Pengerang MP Azalina Othman Said, who yesterday questioned whether Muhyiddin had checked Azam’s background before advising his appointment.

Azalina’s reported comments came amid intense scrutiny on Azam’s shareholding scandal after he admitted that his younger brother Nasir had used his trading account to acquire over two million shares and warrants in two companies in 2015 and 2016.

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Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) chairperson Abu Zahar Ujang had cleared Azam of all wrongdoings, but other ACAB members later claimed the view was a personal opinion.

In defending Muhyiddin, Marzuki said the Yang di-Pertuan Agong appointed the MACC chief commissioner upon the advice of the prime minister, who in turn received advice from the state chief secretary or any other parties provided for under the law.

“This advice is presented to the prime minister in the form of a proposal for the appointment that contains a report on the officer’s qualifications and justification for the appointment.

“There are certain processes in the civil service that determine whether an officer is qualified for appointment in certain positions,” he said, adding it includes periodic security screenings.

Marzuki said officers still in service are also subjected to various rules and conditions that include asset declaration and are subject to strict procedures.

The Securities Commission had said it would reach out to Azam over his admission, while all three MACC deputy commissioners had claimed the attacks were “politically motivated” against the commission. MKINI

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