Dear Tan Sri Borhan,
This is to inform you that I am resigning from my position as a member of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
My reason for submitting this resignation is my grave concern that you, as chairman of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, have not convened a meeting to discuss a critical issue of national interest that I had brought to your attention one month ago.
This serious matter involves two reports by the Independent News Service, entitled “Business Ties Among MACC Leadership: How Deep Does It Go?” (Parts 1 and 2), published on 26 October 2021. These reports, among other things, raise disturbing questions about the “nexus between business and law enforcement” and a “conflict of interest” situation involving MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki, including if he had declared his extensive ownership of corporate stock as required by law. Equally disturbing is these reports’ further claim that a former MACC chief commissioner was involved in a conflict-of-interest situation, suggesting a trend in this institution that must be investigated promptly.
When these reports were brought to my attention, I wrote to you on 12 November 2021 asking that you convene a meeting of our Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel to discuss this matter. You responded immediately stating that you would call for a meeting and that you would ask the MACC’s administrative staff to organise it.
Two weeks later, on 26 November, I wrote to you again, this time attaching more information that I had received about the business links of Tan Sri Azam’s family. I stressed that this information that I had received was deeply troubling as it was based on extensive research. The author of these reports had also listed her name, indicating she was available to discuss this matter with the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel. I also brought to your attention an editorial in the Independent News Service, that its website had been hacked after its reports on the MACC were published. I did not receive a response from you to this letter.
On 14 December 2021, a month after I first brought this matter to your attention, I wrote once more to you. I mentioned that I had not received your response to my second latter, on 26 November, in spite of the urgent matter at hand that we, the members of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, had to discuss. I then stated that if I did not hear from you that I would have to submit my resignation from the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel.
It is now two weeks since I sent you this letter. I have no choice but to submit my resignation, which should be seen as my protest at the delay on your part, as chairman of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel, to convene a meeting to discuss an issue that this panel is duty-bound to review. Since we, the members of this panel, have discussed during previous meetings the necessity to educate the public on the repercussions of corruption and how imperative it is for us to evaluate corruption-based issues brought to our attention by whistleblowers, as well as the need to protect them for doing so, I find this delay to convene a meeting unconscionable, even extremely irresponsible. Moreover, by not acting on these reports involving the sitting chief commissioner of the MACC, this inaction by us, advisors to this anti-corruption institution, constitutes a serious dereliction of duty to the nation.
As you are aware, I have written on this matter to Tan Sri Abu Zahar bin Dato’ Nika Ujang, chairman of the MACC’s Anti-Corruption Advisory Board. I have now written to Tan Sri Abu Zahar on three occasions, providing him with the same information that I sent you. I have proposed to Tan Sri Abu Zahar that I attend the meeting of the Advisory Board to present these reports to its members. Tan Sri Abu Zahar has not responded to my letters. It may well be that he has not received these letters, but I have been assured by another member of the board that this is not the case. I am also extremely disappointed that the Advisory Board has not met to discuss this matter, even after it was brought up in Parliament on 14 December 2021 and widely reported in the media.
I note too that Tan Sri Azam has not made a public statement about the two well-publicised reports by the Independent News Service, nor has he responded to public statements made by parliamentarians about his business interests. This deafening silence on the part the chief commissioner, although a serious allegation has been made about his conduct, further indicates why the Advisory Panel as well as the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel should meet to discuss this matter.
Since you are reluctant to act on this matter, one of evident national importance, I will be sending a copy of my letter of resignation to the newspapers. I fear that unless the media is informed of this matter and publicises the issue, there will be no attempt by the chairmen of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel and the Advisory Board to act on the allegations about Tan Sri Azam to ensure the integrity of the MACC is protected. Given the scale and scope of allegations of corruption in Malaysia, it is imperative that we ensure that the MACC is led by officers whose credibility is not in question.
I deeply regret that I have not been able to convince you and Tan Sri Zahar to act promptly and openly on this matter. I had hoped that I could have contributed to a joint effort by us, the members of the Consultation and Corruption Prevention Panel and the Advisory Board, to look into these allegations and determine how we can ensure that the integrity and credibility of the MACC is protected.
Dr Edmund Terence Gomez
- Dato’ Sri Ahmad Khusairi Yahaya, Deputy Chief Commissioner (Operations)
- Dato’ Junipah Wandi, Deputy Chief Commissioner (Management and Professionalism)
- Datuk Seri Norazlan Mohd Razali, Deputy Chief Commissioner (Prevention)
- Tan Sri Abu Zahar bin Dato’ Nika Ujang, Chairman, Anti-Corruption Advisory Board