KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim today accused Transparency International (TI) of being biased, after the global anti-graft watchdog’s claim that Malaysia is facing a major corruption crisis.
The Anti-Corruption Advisory Board chairman claimed that TI chief José Ugaz had jumped the gun with a statement against the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal plaguing Datuk Seri Najib Razak, arguing that an investigation is still ongoing.
“I think that this statement is ill-advised, it was an ill-informed statement. It’s just an opinion which is based on unconfirmed reports,” Tunku Aziz said on the sidelines of the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya.
“It’s a one-sided statement, he should have taken the trouble to give a balanced view by asking people who are informed about this,” he added.
A video of the interview with Tunku Aziz was made available by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on its official blog.
“I understand the case involves a huge amount but a proper and thorough investigation needs to be done before action can be taken. Why can’t they wait until the investigation is completed?” he asked, as quoted by MACC.
“If Najib is guilty and if the law says he should be hanged, then go ahead and do that, but I want to emphasise here that we are governed by the rule of law in this country. That is the basis of our legal system and civilisation.” Speaking at IACC yesterday, Ugaz said Malaysia will not progress in its fight against corruption if questions surrounding the RM2.6 billion that was deposited into Najib’s accounts remain unresolved.
On July 3, a political storm erupted over a Wall Street Journal article on debt-laden state fund 1MDB stating that almost US$700 million (now estimated at RM2.9 billion) from 1MDB had been deposited in Najib’s personal bank account,.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing, saying that he has not received money from 1MDB or any state agency for his personal gain.
MACC has also said the funds were a political donation from a Middle Eastern nation, but without revealing the identity or source of the donors.
The commission today declined to say whether Najib has already been called in to explain the donation that was deposited into his bank account or provide other details of the probe, only confirming that the probe was still ongoing.