Calls to probe MACC, commissioner intensify, group says pressers by agency will ‘resolve nothing’

It was a move that triggered an avalanche of demands. Dr Edmund Terence Gomez resigned in protest from a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) panel last month after it failed to follow up on allegations levelled against its chief commissioner, Datuk Seri Azam Baki.

It emerged that Azam owned close to two million shares in a public listed company.

Since then, a steady stream of criticism had been building up against Azam and the anti-graft agency. Among those calling for full disclosure and accountability were lawmakers, an academics movement, and a group of influential individuals known as G25.

The MACC is expected to finally break its silence tomorrow, but until that happens, the pressure on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to step in, continues to mount.

The Malaysian Academics Movement (Gerak) was deeply concerned over Gomez’s resignation from the MACC’s Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel. Gerak described Gomez as a “respected scholar”, and said press conferences by the MACC would “resolve nothing”.

“We in Gerak believe that the prime minister must do something since the MACC falls under the purview of the Prime Minister’s Office,” Gerak said in a statement.

The movement said Ismail Sabri must initiate an independent investigation into the allegations, preferably by a bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee.

It added that Azam must be sent on administrative leave until investigations were completed, and he was cleared.

“The credibility of the MACC is being questioned. It is now actually under intense public scrutiny. Press conferences by the MACC will resolve nothing.

“The Ismail Sabri administration must investigate this development in a transparent manner, since the MACC is under its watch. There must be no cover-up,” it added.

The G25, in a statement, called for the MACC to carry out internal discussions within its advisory and consultative panels, in light of the allegations.

The group said this “conspiracy of silence” added to the suspicion that there was something wrong. It urged the commission to publicly address the controversy quickly as it was important to maintain public confidence in an agency tasked with fighting bribery and corruption.

Puchong MP, Gobind Singh Deo, said Ismail Sabri cannot keep mum over the matter.

“By keeping quiet, it shows weakness on his part,” said Gobind.

“The prime minister must act and show that integrity and accountability are also important aspects in MACC.”