Mahathir unleashes scathing critique on Malaysia’s one-sided Anti-Corruption drive: Calls for Fairness and Equal Scrutiny

Mahathir unleashes scathing critique on Malaysia’s one-sided Anti-Corruption drive: Calls for Fairness and Equal Scrutiny

By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 30 – Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad criticised the government’s handling of corruption, pointing out selective convictions and an unfair approach to tackling the issue.

He highlighted a rise in corruption under past leadership and questioned the sincerity of the government’s anti-corruption efforts.

Mahathir emphasized the need for fairness, expressing concern about the focus on specific individuals while others with significant wealth escape scrutiny.

He said, “Corruption is always there. Even during my time, there was corruption, but it was not very widespread.

“But under former Prime Minister (Datuk Seri) Najib (Tun Razak) and the others, corruption has become a very big issue, and even now, there is corruption. ‘ he told TNS News in an exclusive interview at his office in Perdana Leadership Foundation, Putrajaya.

He criticized the government’s approach, highlighting cases like that of Datuk Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who faced 47 charges of corruption but was allowed to go free.

In contrast, he pointed out the conviction of Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, the government critic. Saddiq, who has served as the Muar Member of Parliament was convicted of criminal breach and money laundering.

Mahathir questioned the government’s priorities, saying, “Recently, seizure of the property of (Former Finance Minister) Tun Daim Zainuddin. Why is it that the government wants to know where Daim gets his money when the government doesn’t seem to want to know where many others got their money?”

He further emphasized the need for fairness in the fight against corruption, stating, “If the problem is Daim not telling the government where he got the money, then I think other people also who have a lot of money should be questioned.”

At the same time, we know that Daim pays his taxes. So the income tax department would know how much money he has and where he gets the money. Probably when he gets the money from abroad, it’s not when he takes back the money that he earns outside the country, he doesn’t pay taxes in the country.

Mahathir said the one-sided nature of the so-called campaign against corruption, showed, “So it’s not very sincere; they don’t walk the talk, so to speak.”

He criticised the perceived unfairness in singling out certain individuals while others with substantial wealth aren’t being equally questioned about the sources of their funds.

According to news reports Daim had one of his properties seized by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Ilham Tower owned by Daim was seized by MACC after the latter’s extension on disclosing financial details requested by the MACC had lapsed.

The report also said, Daim was asked to furnish MACC with his financial holdings and other assets belonging to his family but had failed to do so promptly.

The former minister had sought extensions and asked that MACC disclose the reasons for requesting an asset declaration.

Meanwhile in a statement today, MACC said Daim is being investigated under Section 23 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Act 2009, and Section 4 (1) Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA).

The anti-corruption agency said it would like to correct the facts regarding the statement issued by Daim has caused unnecessary confusion and misunderstanding over the investigation on his case.

Daim was reported on Thursday as hitting out at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and MACC amid the agency’s “purported” investigation against him and his family, which he described as a “witch-hunt”.

MACC said it has never at any point raised or issued any official statement accusing Daim of committing any offences.

In his case, the independent body said, the MACC opened an investigation paper in February 2023 based on information from the Pandora Papers.

As part of the investigation, on 7 June 2023, MACC said a Notice under Section 36(1)(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Act 694) was sent to Daim requesting that a written and sworn statement be made by him to declare all his assets whether inside or outside the country within 30 days from the date the Notice was issued.

Daim had applied for five extensions and he was granted the extensions on 6 July, 2023; 10 August, 2023; 11 September, 2023; 11 October, 2023 and the last on 14 November, 2023 to declare all his assets.

As part of the investigation process, the Public Prosecutor had issued a Notice of Seizure on Ilham Tower on Dec 18, 2023, under Section 38(1), MACC Act 2009 (Seizure of immovable property).


The article first appeared on TNS News


The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of Wilayah


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