KUALA LUMPUR, June 6 — As the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is bombarded with allegations of intimidation and scare tactics being employed as part of their investigations of late, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) Women’s wing today demanded its chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki launch a probe into supposed malpractices by his officers.
“The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission must stop their methods of intimidation and torture during their investigations or taking a statement from witnesses,” read a statement issued by the wing today.
This is in response to the treatment allegedly received by a female officer of Muar MP Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman, Nurul Hidayah, who was interrogated by MACC investigators as part of their probe into the case of the former youth minister’s lost cash.
Among the mistreatment Nurul Hidayah was allegedly exposed to, according to Wanita PH, include being yelled at, being made to stand on one leg with both hands in the air for 30 minutes while being made to answer questions where officers joked that she could switch legs if she felt tired, and even had her handphone thrown towards her.
The statement today claimed Nurul Hidayah had complained that she was also called “babi” (pig) and “bodoh” (stupid), told she deserved to live as an orphan once her family disowns her, had one of the investigators threatened to slap her while holding their hand close to her face and kicking the chair she sat on, all supposedly while at the mercy of five male and one female officer.
It was alleged, in the statement undersigned PKR’s Rodziah Ismail, Parti Amanah Negara’s Raj Munni, and DAP’s Chong Eng, that Nurul Hidayah was also not allowed to meet her lawyers who were already within MACC’s headquarter’s lobby while she was being interrogated.
“Is this method of intimidation, scare tactics and torture the new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) by MACC under Perikatan Nasional to record statements by witnesses?
“Is this the new normal under the Perikatan Nasional government’s directive where those who have been summoned to MACC offices have to endure during their interrogations and witness questioning?
“Datuk Seri Azam Baki as the chief commissioner of MACC must launch an investigation into the misconduct and torture of witnesses and even suspects brought in to all MACC premises for questioning of interrogations,” they said.
Wanita PH explained that the details of Nurul Hidayah’s ordeal were recorded in a police report, of which the group then called on Attorney General Tan Sri Idrus Harun not to be intimidated and to take action upon the report made by Nurul Hidayah.
The group also pointed out how MACC themselves had many skeletons in their closets, namely concerning the deaths of Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbani Mohamad on two separate occasions while under interrogation by the graft busters.
The group also questioned why MACC and other enforcement agencies have yet to adopt recommendations and global practices such as having designated interrogation rooms equipped with video surveillance specifically to interview witnesses, which they said could encourage transparency in the agency’s methods and vindicate them from false allegations.
“The technology for this has long been readily available and is widely used around the world. Why has there been a delay in adopting this recommendation and mandating its implementation?
“The failure to do so, on the other hand, singularly demonstrates a lack of a genuine desire on their part to be open and transparent, and that there may indeed be something to hide about their interrogation methods, tactics and techniques,” they said.
Wanita PH also urged Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to step in to put an end to such scare tactics by MACC.
“There is no place for thuggish behaviour within such a powerful agency like the MACC and the Prime Minister must step in to stop the culture of bullying and terrorising suspects and witnesses.
“Remember, the MACC has plenty of skeletons in their cupboards too,” they said.
This comes after former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had accused the government of using the MACC to intimidate dissenters in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, especially those from the youth wing Armada.
The former prime minister had said the agency’s methods of interrogation see “unnecessary” pressure exerted on those whose statements were taken.