Daim says still clueless on wrongdoing allegation

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Claims he is a target of a ‘witch-hunt’.

Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin has today said he remains unaware of the specific offence under which he is being investigated, while saying he has cooperated with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Breaking his silence after Menara Ilham that is linked to him was seized, Daim said he has been a target of a “witch-hunt”.

“I deny categorically any corrupt act or wrongdoing of whatsoever nature by myself or my family. This investigation is nothing short of a political witch-hunt against us,” he said in a statement.

Bernama

“Till today I have never been informed as to what offence I am alleged to have committed despite my repeated written queries to the MACC. I can reveal that we received a letter signed by Azam Baki himself declining point-blank to tell me what the offence is. Yet, there has been an organised effort to discredit me by releasing misinformation and baseless insinuations against me.”

Last week, it was reported that MACC seized the building after Daim’s extension on disclosing financial details requested by the MACC had lapsed.

The report said that under the seizure order, the MACC will take control of the property on paper.

“I have, since the beginning of this investigation, extended the fullest cooperation to the MACC and regularly communicated with them via my lawyers. As such it is patently false for the MACC ‘sources’ to claim that I have not made a proper disclosure of the financial details demanded by MACC,” he said, referring to several news reports citing such sources.

“I reiterate that all that was asked for in writing by the MACC was disclosed and in accordance with the law,” he added.

In May, the MACC reported it had opened investigation papers into several business figures and individuals with “Tan Sri” titles including former senior ministers about the embezzlement of national funds amounting to RM2.3 billion.

It had then frozen 192 bank accounts, including 35 company accounts and 157 individual accounts related to the case.

All of them were served notices following Section 36 of the MACC Act 2009 and Section 44 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001, MACC said then.

The funds reportedly involved publicly-listed Renong Bhd and United Engineers Malaysia Bhd (UEM), two entities tied to Umno.

The 60-storey Ilham Tower is located on Jalan Binjai near the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and the Petronas Twin Towers. Among others, it hosts the Ilham Gallery and the Element Kuala Lumpur hotel.

Companies Commission of Malaysia documents showed that the building is owned by Ilham Tower Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of a private company called Ilham Baru Sdn Bhd — controlled by Daim’s wife Na’imah Abdul Khalid and his two sons, Mohammed Amin Zainuddin and Muhammed Amir Zainuddin.

Daim has called on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Azam Baki to respect the rule of law and due process.

This was in response to their remarks on an MACC probe against him.

“Anwar’s latest tirade against me on Dec 22 (saying) ‘it is an open secret. Someone had reaped so much wealth’, is a reckless and unsubstantiated insinuation that I am guilty of some unspecified offences.

“This amply shows his animus against me,” Daim said.

Daim’s statement in full is as follows:

I refer to statements issued by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki on the purported investigation against myself and my family members.

I deny categorically any corrupt act or wrongdoing of whatsoever nature by myself or my family. This investigation is nothing short of a political witch hunt against us.

Till today, I have never been informed as to what offence I am alleged to have committed despite my repeated written queries to the MACC. I can reveal that we received a letter signed by Azam Baki himself declining point-blank to tell me what the offence is. Yet, there has been an organised effort to discredit me by releasing misinformation and baseless insinuations against me.

It is public knowledge that Anwar for reasons best known to him regards me as a political threat and foe who must be discredited. It would be futile and dishonest for him to deny this. It is also an irrefutable fact that under the MACC Act 2009, the chief commissioner is dependent upon the PM for appointment or extension of tenure.

Anwar’s latest tirade against me on Dec 22, 2023, “it is an open secret. Someone had reaped so much wealth”, is a reckless and unsubstantiated insinuation that I am guilty of some unspecified offences. This amply shows his animus against me. It is also highly inappropriate and an abuse of power for a prime minister to interfere or influence an ongoing investigation by making blatant public insinuations of guilt. I have consulted my lawyers on this and will take the appropriate action in due course.

Regarding MACC chief Azam Baki, it is unacceptable, unprofessional, and suspicious that he has resorted to making various prejudicial comments against me in public whilst the investigation is still ongoing.

As head of the organisation, Azam must also be held responsible for a slew of “source” news leaks on the purported investigation. These so-called “sources” can only be coming from within the MACC as they purport to reveal details of said investigation. The purpose of the leaks is clearly to justify their high-handed actions against me and to paint myself as a corrupt person and offender. Not being told of the offences against me, I am in no position to answer them or defend myself.

I have, since the beginning of this investigation, extended the fullest cooperation to the MACC and regularly communicated with them via my lawyers. As such, it is patently false for the MACC “sources” to claim I have not made a proper disclosure of the financial details demanded by MACC. I reiterate that all that was asked for in writing by the MACC was disclosed and followed the law.

As a former senior member of the government, and out of respect for the investigative process, I have kept silent until now. However, the prime minister and MACC have not shown the same respect for the process with their continuing uncalled-for comments and statements leaving me with no choice but to respond to protect my reputation and good name.

But it is not only that which concerns me. I am deeply concerned about the fairness and integrity of our institutions. The institutions must be protected for the sake of the nation. It is in the highest public interest that the investigative and prosecution process is not tainted and subverted by bias, unfairness, or political motives. This will affect every Malaysian.

In remembering the oath of office, they both swore to uphold, Anwar and Azam must respect the rule of law and due process and act accordingly.