KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — The 'Catch Azam Baki' movement today announced that it would be organising a peaceful street protest, citing disappointment over the apparent inaction against embattled Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner, Tan Sri Azam Baki.
In a statement, the movement, made up of civil societies and political parties, said the protest will take place at 11am on January 22 in front of the Sogo shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur.
The movement also chided Azam for trying to avoid addressing "structural issues" by refusing to cooperate with the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) for Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department on his stock purchasing activities.
It added that Azam had instead decided to file a RM10 million lawsuit against Lalitha Kunaratnam, who is a Malaysian correspondent with the Asia-based Independent News Service, for exposing the details of said activities in two reports.
“Such pressure tends to prevent the real story from coming out and raises more questions.
“In fact, Azam abused the name and position of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (YDPA) by saying that any report related to this issue is an insult to the YDPA.
“Various suggestions have been put forward to address this issue. Among them are the restructuring of the MACC, as well as placing the MACC under Parliament, changing the composition of MACC members, and the establishment of an Independent Anti-Corruption Commission.
“Even so, it would be difficult for any of this to come to fruition unless the legal process that should have started with the arrest of Azam by the authorities happens immediately.
“If not, there is a high probability that those in power will declare the case closed," the group said in a joint statement.
The group said the country is already “shrouded in corruption”, pointing to the conviction of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison and a RM210 million fine, a decision which he has appealed.
The movement’s members added that the situation in the country worsened after many states were affected by flood, leaving those affected struggling to rebuild.
It demanded that immediate action be taken against Azam and for reforms at the MACC, such as putting it under Parliament.
The group said its demands were justified as formal investigations into the matter, including a parliamentary select committee hearing, appeared to be making no progress.
Those unable to join the protest could fly a black flag and use the hashtag #TangkapAzamBaki and #RombakSPRM on social media to indicate their support, the group said.
The statement was undersigned by Sekretariat Solidariti Rakyat, Pemuda KLSCAH, Kesatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Malaya, Jaringan Kebajikan Komuniti, Liga Rakyat Demokratik, Persatuan Pengundi Muda, Persatuan Kebangsaan Pelajar Islam Malaysia (PKPIM), Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), Gabungan Pilihan Raya Bersih dan Adil (Bersih), Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM), Pergerakan Tenaga Akademik Malaysia (Gerak), Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan (Patriot), Community Action Network (CAN), Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Semenanjung Malaysia (JKOASM), Sabah Reform Initiative (SARI), Terabai Kenyalang Heritage Association of Sarawak (TKHAS), Angkatan Muda Keadilan, Dapsy Malaysia, Pemuda Amanah, Pemuda Harapan, Pejuang Muda, Pejuanita Muda, Pemuda Sosialis, and the Malaysian United Democratic Alliance (Muda).
Azam said in a press conference earlier this month that he had allowed his younger brother, Nasir Baki, to use his stock trading account to buy millions worth of shares in two public-listed companies back in 2015.
He denied any wrongdoing, saying the amount has since been transferred to Nasir’s account. However, he has not explained publicly why Nasir had to use his account to buy those shares.
On January 8, Azam said he is ready for his alleged misconduct case to be referred to the MACC’s Complaints Committee.
He had also argued that he was already being investigated by the Securities Commission (SC) and the MACC Complaints Committee.
Yesterday, it was reported that the PSC meeting to discuss the MACC chief’s involvement with stock ownership has been postponed.
Today, the SC said it found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing in Azam’s case.