Gobind to PM: Don’t sweep Azam’s case under the rug

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PM said the SC had decided there was no case against Azam, and that all parties must accept the decision.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob asking all parties to accept the Securities Commission Malaysia’s (SC) conclusion following its probe on Tan Sri Azam Baki demonstrated a total failure of leadership, Gobind Singh Deo said.

In a statement today, the Selangor DAP chairman, who is also the MP for Puchong, said that the prime minister’s statement on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief also represented the government’s complete failure in handling institutional problems that have a huge impact on the country.

“The prime minister must accept the fact that people have every right to ask questions, especially in cases where there are concerns over decisions made by the authorities. He cannot just ask people to sit back and accept such decisions.

“In this case, no reasons were at first given explaining why the inquiry was unable to conclude that section 25(4) was breached. When pressed for an answer, the SC issued a second statement. That statement alluded to independent evidence which appears to contradict what Azam Baki said in a press conference on January 10 this year,” Gobind said, referring to Section 25(4) of the Securities Central Depository Act 1991 (SICDA).

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“I want the prime minister to explain this. If he is unable to, then who is he to insist that we just accept such a decision?” he added.

National news agency Bernama reported Ismail Sabri as saying that the SC had decided there was no case against Azam, and that all parties must accept the decision.

The prime minister, when speaking to reporters after the launch of the Keluarga Malaysia Agricommodity tour programme yesterday, was reportedly asked if Azam would be required to go on leave pending the completion of the investigation against him.

In his statement today, Gobind, who is a former federal communications and multimedia minister, also urged Ismail Sabri to refer to Article 145 of the Federal Constitution and acknowledge the fact that it is the attorney general (AG) or the SC that should decide whether any action should be taken in Azam’s case, and not the prime minister.

He said that the AG must be referred to after all the necessary probes are done by the agencies concerned.

“This process must be respected. It is most unfortunate that the prime minister has taken this approach in dealing with this matter. He ought to have, but did not take this opportunity to show his government’s commitment to transparency and institutional reform,” Gobind added.

The SC said that in its inquiry into Azam, there was no breach of Section 25(4) of SICDA, in relation to his stock trading account.

In a statement yesterday, the SC said that the independent evidence gathered showed that the latter was the account holder and had control of said trading account.

The SC however, did not elaborate on what the next course of action would be or if it would be making any recommendation to any other body.

Previously, the SC explained in a statement on January 6 that all trades and securities accounts opened with the central depository must be made in the name of the beneficial owner of the account or an authorised nominee.

Azam has maintained he did no wrong even as his critics accused him of conflict of interest and abusing his position.

He has also said he plans to take legal action against the person who wrote the articles alleging conflict of interest last year, which sparked the controversy.

Azam had admitted in a press conference earlier this month that he had allowed his younger brother, Nasir Baki, to use his stock trading account to buy millions worth of shares in two public-listed companies back in 2015.

He denied any wrongdoing, saying the amount has since been transferred to Nasir’s account. However, he has not explained publicly why Nasir had to use his account to buy those shares.

On January 8, Azam said he is ready for his alleged misconduct case to be referred to the MACC’s Complaints Committee.

He had also refused to attend a meeting with the Parliament Select Committee (PSC) for Agencies Under the Prime Minister’s Department, as he was already being investigated by the SC and the MACC Complaints Committee at that time.

The scheduled PSC meeting was forced to be postponed over this. Malay Mail sighted a letter bearing the signature of Dewan Rakyat secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin, informing the PSC members of the meeting’s postponement.

Selayang MP William Leong Jee Keen, Khoo Poay Tiong (Kota Melaka), Chan Foong Hin (Kota Kinabalu) and Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (Sepanggar) said that the meeting was postponed, following Azam’s claim that the meeting was improper as he was already under investigation elsewhere and has filed a related lawsuit. – MMO