KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 6 — Australian authorities’ prosecution of a man for bribing a Malaysian government official should be impetus for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to proceed with the case that is now over four years’ old, said Teresa Kok.
Commenting on the Sydney Morning Herald’s report last week that one Teen Boon Lye was charged on July 9 with bribery and forgery related to Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s (Mara) 2013 purchase of an apartment block there, the Seputeh MP said it would be curious if authorities continued their apparent inaction.
Kok noted that the Mara chairman at the time, Tan Sri Annuar Musa, had submitted the related documents to the MACC back in 2016 while then-rural and regional development minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in 2017 that the investigation was only pending a report from Australian investigators.
“The action taken by the Australian police on Boon Lye Teen will certainly raise eye-brows here on whether the MACC and AGC (Attorney General’s Chambers) Malaysia will take similar action on the Malaysian officials who were involved in the case,” Kok said.
She pointed out that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin previously professed his administration’s dedication towards eradicating corruption in the country.
Kok said the Muhyiddin government could demonstrate this by taking action in the case that has been public knowledge since 2015.
“It will be a shame to the Malaysian government and the people if it is not seen to be doing anything on this case.”
According to the SMH report, the charges against Teen came five years after a joint investigation by the daily and its sister publication The Age, which exposed the price of the property having been allegedly inflated by A$4.75 million (RM14,362,061) in order to pay kickbacks to a group of Malaysian officials.
Court documents cited by the report alleged that Teen “provided, or promised to provide, a benefit, namely the A$4.75 million to other persons, including Zach Zainal and Erwan Azizi... with the intention of influencing a foreign public official in Malaysia... in order to obtain or retain business, namely the sale of a student residential apartment complex”.
In 2015, the papers reported that “a group of extremely rich Malaysian officials” overpaid by A$4.75 million to buy the Dudley International House apartment in Melbourne in 2013.
The officials among them, a top Mara officer, a senior official and a former politician allegedly used government funds worth millions of ringgit to purchase an apartment block at Dudley International House offering nearly A$5 million higher than the original A$17.8 million price.
In 2017, Mara had sold off one of its assets, a 12-storey office building on 51st Queen Street in Melbourne for profit.
Mara Inc still owns three buildings in Melbourne with a combined value of around RM300 million.