MACC chief commissioner Azam Baki and Attorney-General Idrus Harun’s contracts were extended because they have been carrying out their duties satisfactorily, said Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
‘He (Azam) was appointed by (then) prime minister (from) Pagoh (Muhyiddin Yassin).
“Even though there were issues raised at first, I saw that after I gave the MACC and attorney-general more leeway to carry out their duties, as far as I see, they have been doing so satisfactorily,” Anwar said at a press conference in Putrajaya today.
He added that with this leeway, action had been taken without fear or favour, leading to a minister’s office being searched and action being taken against officers.
“There has never been such a thing in history, searching ministers’ offices based on what officials did. Subsequently, action was taken while investigations were carried out.”
This is believed to be in reference to the MACC probe on the Human Resources Ministry.
“So, in that capacity, we extended his service,” Anwar said.
Azam reached his mandatory retirement age last Friday. However, his contract has been extended by one year.
The extension has drawn flak from a wide section of people, including Selangor Muda, which pointed out that it was ironic as PH leaders had joined the #TangkapAzamBaki rally in January last year when controversy arose around Azam’s ownership of millions of ringgit in shares.
Former MACC advisory board member Edmund Terence Gomez has also said the extension had “damaged” Anwar’s credibility.
“How can his (Azam’s) contract be extended when his reputation is in question? This extension comes under a prime minister who talks about eradicating corruption,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
“It’s a serious damage to Anwar’s (credibility) and he has to explain why he allowed the extension.”
Gomez resigned from an MACC advisory panel in December 2021 following reports of Azam’s alleged extensive ownership of corporate stock despite a RM100,000 cap on equity holdings for civil servants.
The MACC chief had said he gave his brother permission to buy shares using his account in 2015 and his superiors were informed of the matter.
While the Securities Commission and an MACC advisory panel cleared Azam of wrongdoing, several watchdog groups and PH leaders called for an investigation into the matter.
Earlier in March, Idrus – who was also appointed by Muhyiddin – also had his contract extended by six months.
Among the contentions against Azam was the MACC’s probe of SRC International trial judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali over an alleged conflict of interest and misconduct.
This put the agency at odds with the judiciary, which claimed that the probe on the judge was not done according to the procedure.
The probe also put a target on Idrus’ back, with the Malaysian Bar last week passing a resolution of no confidence in the attorney-general for his “abject failure” to defend the judiciary and uphold the rule of law in regard to the Nazlan probe. – Malaysiakini