KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 ― Malaysia will suffer if corrupt political leaders and figures continue to walk free from corruption charges, warns the head of a multinational investment bank.
Credit Suisse Malaysia’s Managing Director and the Head of Equities Stephen Hagger said the recent downgrading of the country by American credits rating agency Fitch Ratings was such an example.
“Sadly the country will pay the price for this,” he said in a statement.
Hagger was referring to Fitch’s downgrade of Malaysia’s Long Term Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to BBB plus from A minus, which began on Monday (December 7).
He cited the recent discharge not amounting to an acquittal of former Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor in his RM1 million corruption trial on Monday after the public prosecutor dropped charges.
“The case appeared clear cut, with the property developer who allegedly bribed the former minister pleading guilty and being fined by the courts.
“It is the third such case this year, with Najib’s stepson and a former Sabah chief minister both walking free, despite seemingly iron-clad evidence,” Hagger said.
Najib’s stepson Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz was released on May 14 from five counts of money-laundering over US$248 million (RM1.07 billion) allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB, after agreeing to pay several million ringgit to the government.
Similarly, Umno’s Tan Sri Musa Aman was fully acquitted on June 9 of nearly four dozen charges of corruption and money laundering related to the award of logging contracts during his tenure as Sabah’s chief minister.
“It is impossible to prove that a phone call has been made, but it is no secret that any fragile coalition government will have to keep doing backroom deals to stay in power,” he said.
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor’s discharge from a RM1 million corruption court case earlier today may have been a setback, but the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) does not appear to have given up on prosecution.
On Monday evening, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said in a statement that there are new developments in Tengku Adnan’s case, and that it will begin investigations into then and will forward the investigation papers to the Attorney General’s Chambers for its consideration once completed.