KUALA LUMPUR: The issue of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner acquiring shares of two companies in 2015 should be referred to a parliamentary select committee for a full inquiry, says the G25.

Noting the various comments on social media as well as those by civil society organisations following Tan Sri Azam Baki’s explanation at a press conference on Wednesday, the group of eminent Malays said these suggest that the public was not convinced by the MACC advisory board’s decision to clear the latter of the purchase of the shares.

Azam disclosed that he gave permission to his younger brother, Nasir, to use his account for the purpose in 2015 and did not see it as an issue due to their ties.

He was then the MACC director of investigations.

“The questions being raised include whether as a civil servant, Azam had been declaring his assets regularly to the board of MACC, how his brother financed the purchase of the shares, and whether it is permissible under the rules that his share account be used by his brother for the purchase of shares,” G25 said in a statement yesterday.

“As the share purchase was in 2015, it is not clear why this matter was not dealt with much earlier.

“This mystery raises the question of whether the various committees created under the MACC legislation are discharging their duties faithfully to provide the internal checks and balances on the functioning of the anti-corruption agency and the personal integrity of its chief commissioner,” it added.

Pointing out that the matter was of great public interest and that much needed to be clarified, G25 called for the case to be referred to a parliamentary select committee for a full inquiry.

“The testimonies from the MACC chairman, chief commissioner and members of the advisory and other committees will help the select committee determine who else needs to be summoned to give their expert opinions on whether what has happened was legal and proper.

“Based on all the testimonies, the parliamentary committee will then be able to express its views whether that share purchase constitutes proper conduct on the part of the chief commissioner, considering his position as the head of the anti-corruption agency, one of the institutions of governance charged with the responsibility of making the government clean and respectable,” it said.

G25 also said the case will test whether the government was serious about implementing the MoU it signed with the Opposition in September last year on the reforms to strengthen the country’s system of governance.

Several other groups joined in the call for the matter to be investigated, with the Associations of Islam Defenders (Pembela) saying that if Azam was in the right, he must be a “brave gentleman” and step forward to be investigated.

Pembela president Aminuddin Yahaya said the police and a parliamentary special committee should be given access to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into cases involving Azam and other cases involving the anti-graft body.

“Pembela is of the view that he should resign or at least take leave as chief commissioner during the time investigations are carried out against him.

“He need not worry about being investigated by the authorities if he is on the right side,” Aminuddin said in a statement yesterday.

The National Association of Malaysian Muslim Students (PKPIM) called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to make a firm stand on the issue and to investigate the allegations.

Its secretary-general Ahmad Firdaus Hadzir agreed that Azam should take leave from his duties to make way for an investigation.

“The statement by Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang that he was satisfied with Azam’s explanation over the allegations does not help resolve the public’s concerns over MACC’s transparency.

“The issue of corruption involving MACC officers is not something new, in fact, it has been reported several times and this has severely affected the credibility of the MACC,” he said in a statement.