We, the undersigned civil society groups, note that the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) for Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department will hold a meeting on 19 January 2022 to inquire into the controversial issue of shares ownership involving the Chief Commissioner, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Tan Sri Azam Baki.
- It is understood that the PSSC has summoned Tan Sri Azam Baki himself to the hearing on 19 January. We request the PSSC to announce the terms of reference of the inquiry that will be conducted. These terms of reference should clearly outline the purpose of the inquiry and the scope of the inquiry to be conducted.
The scope of the inquiry should include seeking clarification on the following:-
(a) The extent of Tan Sri Azam Baki’s shareholding in the companies that are implicated in the current allegations against him during the relevant period of time, and to what extent and purpose he held those shares beneficially on behalf of others;
(b) Whether Tan Sri Azam Baki’s shareholding in the respective companies, in his own name or combined with the shareholding of the ultimate beneficial owner and any other nominees, amounted to at least 5% of the shares / voting shares in either of the companies, and whether the combined shareholding may have otherwise triggered the reporting obligations, limitations and offences relating to substantial shareholding under the Companies Act 2016 had the beneficial ownership been duly and timely declared;
(c) The source of funds for the purchase of the shares in question, and whether he received any proceeds of sale, dividends or other profits from his ownership of those shares;
(d) Whether as a shareholder of the companies during the relevant time, he participated either directly or through proxies in shareholder resolutions or decisions that affected the companies’ business, administration or operations;
(e) Whether the shares purchased by Tan Sri Azam Baki have been declared under the Public Officers Regulations Act (Conduct and Discipline) 1993;
(f) Whether as a consequence of the above, an investigation is being conducted by the Public Services Commission or other duly empowered public authority or regulatory body into whether Tan Sri Azam Baki has violated Service Circular No. 3 (2002) “Ownership and Declaration of Assets by Public Officers”, which makes it illegal to purchase more than 5% of paid-up capital or RM100,000 worth of shares in a particular company, and what is the timeframe and purview of such an investigation;
(g) Whether the beneficial ownership status of the shares has been declared to the appropriate regulatory authority and consequently whether there are grounds to investigate if an offence has been committed under Section 25(4), 25(5), 25A(2) and/or 49 of the Securities Industry (Central Depositories) Act 1991 (SICDA) read together with Rules 25.02B, 25.02C and 25.03 of the Rules of Bursa Malaysia Depository Sdn Bhd;
(h) Whether and to what extent the companies and stockbrokers involved were expressly or implicitly aware of any beneficial ownership status of the shares in question, by virtue of their respective powers or obligations under the Companies Act (such as Section 56), SICDA or the rules of Bursa Malaysia Depository;
(i) Whether as a consequence of the above, an investigation is being conducted by the Securities Commission, Bursa Malaysia, Bursa Malaysia Depository and/or other regulatory authorities; and
(j) Whether or not based on the facts and matters laid before the PSSC, there are reasonable grounds to believe that an investigation may also be required under the provisions of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act or other laws that fall within the investigative purview of the MACC against any person or entity, and if so, what are the actions that are being taken by the MACC;
(k) Whether and if so what actions and reforms of the MACC structure and operations are required to defend the integrity and credibility of the MACC.
- In addition, the PSSC should call all parties involved in this issue, including Lalitha Kunaratnam who made the report, former MACC leaders during this case, the relevant regulatory authorities investigating or having purview over the matters concerned to provide information and clarification, and to test the veracity of allegations and counter allegations in this case. It is not enough if only Tan Sri Azam Baki alone is called to give an explanation to the PSSC.
- We also urge that the hearing sessions be conducted openly and broadcast live on official channels of Parliament and the Government so that the people’s confidence in the institution of Parliament to act as an effective check and balance over the Executive remains intact.
- We call for the report of the PSSC on this inquiry to be tabled and debated in the Parliament once it is completed.
Parliament through its committees should continue to proactively respond to national issues, especially when it involves allegations of corruption involving public institutions such as the MACC now, so that the values of efficiency, accountability and transparency continue to be preserved.
This statement is initiated by the Seed Community for a Professional Parliament, a network of individuals active in civil society organisations, think tanks and academia working towards a professional Parliament that facilitates healthy policy competition between parties.
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- The Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH)
- Institute for Political Reform and Democracy (REFORM)
- Persatuan Pengundi Muda (UNDI18)
- Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS)
- WISDOM Foundation
- Bait Al-Amanah