Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Rais Yatim speaks during a press conference at Parliament January 14, 2022. — Picture by Choo Choy May
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — It is up to the Public Service Commission to decide if Tan Sri Azam Baki should take a leave of absence from work as the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) pending ongoing investigations into his alleged proxy stock trading, Tan Sri Rais Yatim said today.
Rais, president of Dewan Negara and also chairman of the Special Committee on Corruption (SCC), said the convention is for government servants under investigation to either go on leave or be suspended from their duties.
“This is the practice, when officers are interrogated, they are usually suspended,” he told a press conference at Parliament this morning.
According to Rais, the stock trading controversy surrounding Azam may just be a “misconduct” rather than a “criminal act”.
Even so, he believes it is best that Azam takes a “short break while investigations are underway”.
“However, I would like to mention that there are also those with higher ranks who did not go on leave while investigations against them were ongoing.
“It is up to the SPA to take action and decide,” he added, referring to the Public Service Commission by its Malay abbreviation.
Rais said the SCC had met twice over Azam’s share deal and recommended an investigation since the matter has become a source of contention and is being discussed publicly on social media last month.
He said the SCC recommended that the authorities, such as the Securities Commission, the police, SPA and the Public Service Department (JPJ) initiate investigations.
He said the investigations would be able to establish the facts on the volume, time, value of the shares traded through Azam’s stock trading account.
He added that the government had issued circulars in 1993 and 2002 forbidding civil servants from buying shares worth more than RM100,000.
“We will wait for the report to be made by SPA, JPA, PDRM or SC. But the question of the declaration of property must be floated as evidence,” Rais said.
He also said the SCC will present its report to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob as soon as possible.
Earlier this week, Rais said now would be a good time to revisit the proposal to make the MACC answerable to Parliament. The MACC currently is under the oversight of the Prime Minister’s Department.
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.