KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 10 — Lawyer for whistleblower Lalitha Kunaratnam today criticised the police report filed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), calling it premature as investigations had yet to start when it was made.
Manjeet Singh Dhillon said that the police report “hardly inspires confidence” in any role the commission could play in the upcoming probe into its chief Tan Sri Azam Baki and questions surrounding his acquisition of shares in public-listed companies.
“The alleged police report is misplaced in the context of the PM’s call for a forthcoming probe into the MACC’s Chief Commissioner’s conduct in share dealings during his continuous tenure in the MACC, as in the Letter of Demand issued on January 6, 2022 by Messrs Zain Megat and Hamid, Advocates and Solicitors, on behalf of Azam Baki.
“Mohan Munusamy’s police report as reported in MalaysiaNow draws premature ‘know-all’ conclusions concerning his boss’s conduct even before the commencement of any probe into it,” Manjeet said in a statement yesterday.
The lawyer said his client Lalitha is an investigative journalist and subscribes to the roles, responsibilities and ethics of investigative journalism, and stands by the two articles she wrote detailing Azam’s dealings.
“Notwithstanding the Letter of Demand, Ms Lalitha stands by her articles she wrote and their contents and reiterates that the analysis therein is based on facts and information contained in, inter alia, the database of public records, regulatory reports and corporate financial filings.
“She will deal with the Letter of Demand in line with legal advice from her solicitors,” he said.
He said that Lalitha also welcomed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin’s calls for an investigation to be done, but said that it should be handled by an independent body so that there is no conflict of interest.
He added that the MACC should play no role in the incoming probe on its chief commissioner.
Azam and the MACC have been under scrutiny after two articles titled “Business ties among MACC leadership: How deep does it go? (Part 1)” and “Business ties among MACC leadership: How deep does it go (Part 2)” were released by Lalitha, who is a Malaysian correspondent with the Asia-based Independent News Service.
The report said that Azam owned a substantial amount of shares in several publicly-listed companies, and in a press conference later, he had explained to the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) that his share account had been used by his brother to buy stocks in the open market with the latter’s own financing.
Azam added that he has decided to take legal action against those who have tarnished his reputation, demanding a public apology and RM10 million from the whistleblower for alleged defamation.