“We would suggest that legal action and so on be taken, as we have strong evidence for both the cases that abuse of power has taken place.”
MALAYSIAN Anti-Corruption Commission or MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan, commenting on the oversight body’s investigation of Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim. Ahmad Said said the MACC was referring the case to the Attorney-General (AG)’s office, “as there might be certain parties not satisfied with the investigation by the commission.” (Source: MACC Chief: Strong evidence of power misuse by S’gor MB, The Star, 20 Feb 2009)
Khalid has been under investigation for alleged misuse of state funds on two counts: the maintenance of his personal car, a Lexus; and the distribution of 46 cows in Bandar Tun Razak for the Aidil Adha celebrations.
“As MP (Bukit Gelugor), I demand from MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan as to the basis on which he made this very serious statement publicly. I wonder what his motive was in publicly maligning the Menteri Besar.”
DAP chairperson Karpal Singh, commenting on Ahmad Said’s statement. He said it was a very serious matter for Ahmad Said to make a public announcement before a decision had been made to prosecute. (Source: Karpal questions MACC’s ‘unholy haste’ against Khalid, The Star, 21 Feb 2009)
The MACC’s probe has been denounced by the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) as proof of the commission’s partiality.
“This could be a new approach made by the commission. Do not say that this is Barisan’s work. I was equally surprised with his (Ahmad Said’s) statement.”
Umno vice-president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, responding to allegations that the MACC’s investigations were a politically motivated move on the part of the Barisan Nasional (BN) to topple Pakatan Rakyat (PR)-governed states. Muhyiddin defended the right for PR leaders to speak out against the commission, as “they had never heard such direct statements from the Anti-Corruption Agency before.” (Source: Muhyiddin: MACC’s statement caught Barisan by surprise too, The Star, 23 Feb 2009)
PKR advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim called Ahmad Said’s declaration a “political statement”, while DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang called for the chief commissioner’s resignation.
“He had acted according to the law. As the commission’s chief, he is permitted to speak. I don’t have to explain further on this.”
MACC deputy chief Datuk Abu Kassim Mohammad, defending his superior’s actions. (Source: MACC’s power to talk, New Straits Times, 25 Feb 2009)
Abu Kassim cited Section 29(4) of the MACC Act 2009, which states that a disclosure about a report filed with the MACC can be made with the consent of the public prosecutor or “an officer of the commission of the rank of commissioner and above.”
“It does not speak about powers of prosecution nor opinions on proposed prosecutions…whether or not evidence gathered through an investigation is strong enough for prosecution is a matter for the AG to decide.”
DAP Member of Parliament for Puchong, Gobind Singh Deo. Gobind, a lawyer, read the MACC Act differently. He argued that there could be cases where the MACC chief thinks evidence is lacking, but the AG feels otherwise and chooses to prosecute. As such, the MACC should refrain from making public announcements on cases until the AG’s advice has been obtained. (Source: “MACC chief’s power of disclosure is limited”, Malaysiakini, 25 Feb 2009)
The MACC is now reviewing its policy regarding making comments on cases yet to be referred to the commission’s deputy public prosecutor. It noted that such comments “would give rise to all manner of interpretations and polemics among certain quarters to the extent of jeopardising the MACC’s credibility.”