PKR information chief Datuk Seri Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin has called for Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang to step down from his current position as the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) chairman.
He said this follows today’s statement by the six ACAB panel members who said that Abu Zahar’s statement of absolving Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki of any criminal conduct was his personal comments.
The six ACAB panel members said that they did not come to the same conclusion as Abu Zahar at any meeting prior to or after the special press conference held on Wednesday.
Shamsul questioned Abu Zahar’s move of not following the entire ACAB’s recommendations, adding that the conflicting statements by both sides have resulted in confusion.
“Clearly, Abu Zahar absolving Azam in regard to the purchase of shares through his (Azam) trading account (in 2015) was not agreed by other ACAB panels and it was his (Abu Zahar) personal opinion.
“The country’s image is at stake. International ratings will plummet when the head of an anti-corruption commission and the chairman of the commission’s advisory board are leaning towards misconduct involving conflicts of interest and possibly violating several national Acts and laws.
“With the denial statement of the six ACAB members, it is clear that they have distanced themselves from Abu Zahar.
“If Abu Zahar can’t provide an explanation, then it is better for him to resign as the chairman of the ACAB. Abu Zahar needs to speak the truth, take responsibility, and put the country before his personal interests,” Shamsul said in a statement today.
The Pakatan Harapan’s Hang Tuah Jaya Member of Parliament at the same time urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to propose to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to investigate the scandal.
Shamsul said this was important to prevent the country from being viewed negatively by the international community.
“Without an independent and convincing investigation, foreign and local investors will be afraid to invest in this country where the law appears to only protect certain groups.”
Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil also said Abu Zahar no longer has the moral authority to remain as the ACAB chairperson after his botched attempt to clear Azam Baki.
“The statement by the six ACAB members who distanced themselves from Abu Zahar ‘clearing’ Azam Baki is very shocking.
“This raises the question if Abu Zahar made a unilateral decision to clear the MACC chief,” Fahmi said.
The PKR lawmaker urged Abu Zahar to come clean.
“Abu Zahar has no choice but to provide a full explanation or resign immediately. It is clear that he no longer has the moral authority to be the ACAB chairperson.
“The statement by the six ACAB members is a major blow to Abu Zahar’s credibility and is a form of a ‘no-confidence vote’ towards him,” Fahmi added.
Meanwhile, Bersih 2.0 chairman Thomas Fann said it is clear Abu Zahar has misrepresented the recommendations of the board.
This, he said, was with regard to board members asking that the matter be referred to the special parliamentary committee, an independent panel, or the MACC Complaints Panel for investigation.
“That would have been the right course of action.
“He must therefore explain himself, failing which, he should resign,” he told The Malaysian Insight.
Centre to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) executive director Cynthia Gabriel said that it was up to Abu Zahar to explain the move by the six members.
“We demand Abu Zahar explain immediately. The six members’ statement makes him look like he is possibly covering up for Azam and we need now for an independent probe to arrive at the truth.”