Patriot refers to a news report in which Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Azam Baki was reported to have said that only the Agong could ask him to resign over the controversy relating to the acquisition of a questionable number of shares held by him in a number of listed companies, which he claimed belongs to his brother.
As a senior public servant appointed by the Agong, he should have known that to be bestowed the appointment as the MACC commissioner comes with certain responsibilities that have to be honoured. He has to show himself to be a person bearing the highest dignity and integrity, and that he is willing to undertake duties only to serve the nation loyally for King and country. Azam accepted the appointment under oath to serve the nation’s interest first.
He must set aside any personal interest that he may have and avoid implicating himself with matters that will be in conflict with his avowed responsibilities and duties.
The question of one being presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty has no more merit in this case, as Azam himself admitted that the alleged shares belong to his brother who used Azam’s personal account. Even here he has broken the law, which does not allow a third party to use one’s personal account to dabble in shares.
Therefore, to now invoke the name of the Agong to seemingly parachute himself from the controversy connotes a lack of maturity in his understanding of and reverence for the royal assent to his appointment. In no uncertain terms, it borders on rudeness and shows disrespect to the revered office of His Majesty the King.
And by this very rude disposition towards the palace, Azam has deemed his appointment untenable. Hence, the only recourse is for Azam to resign. Any further attempt to stubbornly hold on to his appointment only makes a mockery of the Agong and implicates the high office of the MACC.
Patriot would like to remind Azam Baki that his actions and media statements as well as the subsequent statement by Abu Zahar to absolve him of his wrongdoing do not meet the expectations of the public.
The public sentiment – registered in news media and going overdrive on social media – clearly shows that there is an acute distrust in MACC. Azam’s case, coming hot on the heels of the recent case of the RM25m which was in safekeeping at MACC and was reported stolen by a senior MACC official, has compounded MACC with a paralysing trust deficit.
Patriot therefore strongly believes that Ismail Sabri should have taken the right and immediate action in ensuring that Azam Baki either resigned voluntarily or went on garden leave in order to empower investigations to proceed unhindered.
The PM must be cognisant of the non-negotiable fact that an institution like this graft-busting body, MACC, is not like any other commission. As the ultimate power over our nation’s battle against corruption, it investigates irrespective of who the individual or organisation is.
But now even the MACC is implicated or alleged – and now stained by a stolen RM25m in its safekeeping followed by the commission’s captain himself having admitted that the millions of ringgit in shares held under his name were the operatives of his brother. The PM’s lack of decisive action and immediacy has added to the damage to the nation’s good name and led to the showing of disrespect towards the palace.
Patriot upholds patriotism to the letter. We believe that patriotism is the cornerstone for building a resilient, progressive and successful nation. It is the duty and prerogative of the serving prime minister to ensure that patriotism is not trampled upon by those in office.
Hence not calling for Azam’s resignation or at the very least ensuring that the implicated captain goes on legitimate leave to empower impartial investigations – that are vital to redeem the good name of the anti-corruption institution, rescue the falling public trust deficit in the MACC and safeguard the sanctity of the constitutional monarchy – is an attack on patriotism too. – Patriot
Retired Brigadier General Dato’ Mohd Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Assocition (Patriot)