UPDATE: The MACC no longer reports to the Prime Minister’s Office, and look estranged as even their members get arrested by the police. They turn to God, and Lim Kit Siang to show what their jobs won’t let them do.
Have you guys heard of the MACC (Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission)? – They’re Malaysia’s corruption watchdogs, and have been around in one form or another since 1959, and investigate potential corruption cases within Malaysia based on tip offs.
Well… guess who the MACC is investigating next…….it’s Najib!
The Sun Daily reported that based on a tip off, apparently by Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan. In response, a special task force has been set up, comprising the Attorney General’s Chambers + Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) + the police, to investigate Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and a bunch of other people on the alleged 1MDB discrepancies!
But wait….who does the MACC report to?
OMG! PMO stands for…. The Prime Minister’s office! We’re talking about direct involvement, like the PM having the power to APPOINT 26 members to 3 MACC panels, which he did very recently as reported by Free Malaysia Today.
But is the MACC effective regardless? Well, we checked out MACC’s website, we found out that they’ve made a lot of arrests since 2011. And we mean like A LOT! Here’s the breakdown:
- 2011: 918 arrests
- 2012: 701 arrests
- 2013: 509 arrests
- 2014: 552 arrests
- 2015 (up to February): 135 arrests
Almost 3,000 ok, don’t mess with MACC. And that’s not even going back as far as 2008 when the commission was first formed. Eh, they could be doing a good job you know. So maybe there’s hope of getting somewhere with the 1MDB case, whatever it may be?
So we dug up 6 MACC cases that could give us an idea on how the 1MDB probe MIGHT or MIGHT NOT turn out…
Disclaimer (coz we don’t wanna go to jail): We are in no way implying that any of the parties mentioned are guilty of corruption or that MACC is corrupted. Kthnx.
1. The time MACC arrested someone from UMNO
Here’s one promising case, where a senior UMNO member was suspected of demanding RM200,000 from a businessman in return for a favourable tender. Here’s an excerpt of what happened.
“The businessman had approached the officer for assistance in the awarding of the tender as the latter claimed to have connections in the Education Ministry. However, the deal turned sour when the officer became greedy and demanded more. The businessman lodged a report with the MACC and an ambush was set.” – The Malaysian Insider
Super Drama Minggu Ini somemore: The businessman acted like kononnya agree to pay him money, according to The Malaysian Insider’s report. Then when the cash exchanged hands, MACC team swooped in and arrested the guy!
Latest update: This is where it gets a bit disappointing. We can’t seem to find any further details such as who the business man was, who the UMNO rep was or whether or not the UMNO member was actually jailed. A bit disappointing since one of their charters includes maintaining transparency of Government Activities. Maybe can put a list on their site so public can see?
2. The time MACC caught their own guys
On 15 September 2011, in the men’s toilet beside Deli France Restaurant in KL International Airport, 3 MACC officers alleged extorted-cum-robbed 3 Singaporean money-changers of US$300,000 (RM945,000).
Officers S. Vijayarao, Wan Elfie Shafizy Wan Ahmad, and Aziz Jaafar, had gone to the airport to investigate money laundering activities, The Star reported. When they spotted the money-changers, they instructed their bag containing thousands of ringgit in foreign currencies to be opened. Then the officers allegedly helped themselves to some of the cash before allowing the money-changers to board their flight to Singapore.
So what were the money-changers to do? They lodged a report and the 3 officers were picked up by the police after they were positively ID-ed in an identification parade. However, the officers (an Assistant Commissioner, Senior Assistant Superintendent and Assistant Superintendent) pleaded NOT guilty to 9 counts of abetting 2 other dudes (who were are STILL on the run!) in their 7 October court case, My Sinchew reported.
Then suddenly on 15 November 2011, the police announced that the evidence had gone missing from Menara 2 of the Selangor police headquarters in Shah Alam! RM11,700 and a wallet containing an MACC identification card and a credit card VANISHED into thin air, reported Free Malaysia Today!
OMG whaaat?!? We’re laughing and crying at the same time. But mostly crying.
Latest update: So 3 years later on 28 January 2015, the New Straits Times reported that the Sessions Court acquitted and discharged the MACC officers. Errr, so maybe this case isn’t very flattering on the MACC, but don’t forget, there was the time they brought in a cop!
3. The time MACC questioned the very rich cop
Wah, MACC not afraid of police ok! They brought quite a SENIOR cop in on their investigations. Remember when we wrote an article on PDRM’s new asset declaration system that would catch corrupt cops who were living ‘beyond their means’? Well this case happened one year before that…
The MACC announced on 26 December 2013 that they were investigating a senior police officer over a RM6 million money laundering case. The cop even had a Datuk according to TMI. Anyway, he was brought to their office: “He cooperated well and we recorded the statement,” said Datuk Mustafa Ali, MACC director of investigations. And then they cuffed him, didn’t they?
“No arrest was made,” Datuk Mustafa continued. Huhhh, that’s it?! Datuk Mustafa declined to comment further on the case, or whether the claim of money having been found at the officer’s house was true, or whether other cops would be called in to help investigations, TMI reported. Also the MACC didn’t release any information about him to the public. No name, no rank, no age.
Latest update: Is that all? Oh ya, the senior cop was transferred to Federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman. The end. -_-
4. The time MACC investigated Shahrizat on the NFC scandal
On 7 March 2012, Lembah Pantai MP Nurul Izzah Anwar allegedly stated that there was misuse of National Feedlot Centre (NFC) funds by Wanita UMNO chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family, according to The Malay Mail Online. And Shahrizat is Nurul’s predecessor of the Lembah Pantai constituency. How ironic!
NFC, a cattle farming project owned by Agroscience Industries and with ties to the Government, was formed to develop sustainable beef production. Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail was the Executive Chairman and even their 3 children had directorships in the company.
So because Shahrizat’s husband is no expert cattle rancher, the business started to suffer. In 2008, it incurred losses of RM7 million and in 2009, RM11 million, according to TMI. Additionally, they weren’t able to hit their target of producing enough cattle. In 2010, NFC produced 3,289 ekor – only 41.1% of their target.
Instead of investing in bull libido energy drinks (clearly we’re not expert cattle ranchers either), the family was alleged to have used company funds to buy 2 luxurious condominium units in Bangsar for RM13.8 million AND another in Singapore for RM10 million!! Ermm we’re no expert cattle ranchers (did we say that already?), but you’re supposed to farm cows in farms…not condos, right?
In fact, Reuters reported that Shahrizat and family was accused of siphoning off a grand total of RM250 million on not just the properties, but expensive overseas trips and a Mercedes as well. It was apparently serious enough that the PM had to freeze NFC’s assets and Shahrizat resigned on 8 April 2012.
Despite all this, MACC cleared Shahrizat name on 31 May 2012, stating that she was not directly involved in NFC. So for her at least, problem solved. But what about her husband?
Latest update: The last we heard of Salleh was that his appeal to strike out his court charges failed. As far as things go, they’ve not set a date for his court trial yet so we’ll just have to wait and see if Najib’s national KPI of zero corruption is fruitful or not. But then…Najib is gonna be investigated by MACC…then the MACC answers to him…then Najib answers the MACC…then the MACC answers to him…then…
5. The time MACC persistently followed a Chief Minister’s case for half a decade
Literally for 5 years the MACC pursued its probe on Malaysia’s longest serving Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud! So from the time they set up an investigation team of 30 in 2009, to the time Sarawak opposition politicians expressed disbelief at the lack proof of Taib’s alleged corruption in 2014, Malaysians had gone from using:
After scrutinising over 500 files and opening 10 investigation papers the MACC still could not find proof of the former Sarawak Chief’s abuse of power over large tracts of land and logging areas which were allegedly given to his relatives, TMI reported. Under Section 23 of the MACC Act 2009, officers of a public body who use their position for gratification (whether for themselves, relatives or associates) commits an offence. The definition of ‘relative’ in this case = spouse, immediate family members, in-laws, uncles, aunts, and cousins.
But you can hardly blame the MACC, can you? Investigating someone who refuses to cooperative surely puts difficult hurdles in the way. Taib himself said: “They don’t deserve my cooperation because they have been naughty… and they have not been honest,” according to TMI’s article.
Maybe there’s something Taib’s own relatives can do to help the MACC – their own CONFESSIONS. Well, not exactly, but yeah sort of… Global Witness, a London NGO, had released a 16-minute video clip in March 2013, titled ‘Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State’. The secretly filmed video showed Taib’s relatives and lawyers discussing questionable land deals and tax evasion, The Malay Mail Online reported. So MACC, maybe this will give you the breakthrough you need:
Latest update: Taib very recently passed up a chance to explain his billions at a book launch in London where he was invited. The book ‘Money Logging: On the Trail of the Asian Timber Mafia‘ by Lukas Straumann, is something Taib’s lawyer Mischon de Reya described this way: “This book will cause colossal and irreversible harm to our client’s reputation.” Also, the former Chief Minister tried to stop BBC from broadcasting an interview with Lukas.
6. The time MACC let two witness die in their HQ
You would think authorities would do everything in their power to protect witnesses right? Sadly for Teoh Beng Hock and Ahmad Sarbani Mohamed, there were no Vin Diesel type bodyguards to protect them and both ended up dead in MACC custody.
We’re sure you guys remember political aide Beng Hock’s very high profile case. Bowing to public anger, a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) had to be set up to investigate his death from a 14-floor fall. The RCI concluded that the 30-year-old ‘committed suicide’ due to the duress he suffered during his 9-hour interrogation, which was done without a lawyer present.
In September 2014, the Court of Appeal overturned the ‘suicide’ story and so the investigations drag on with no reprieve for the victim’s loved ones. How could the MACC have allowed such a thing to happen to their witness (despite one of the officers having DOZED OFF during the interrogation)? They promised to protect them! No really, check out what we found on their website.
We don’t know what protection methods the MACC uses, but if you felt ‘protected’ in their charge you’d STAY with them instead of trying to run AWAY from them right? Such was not the case with Selangor Customs assistant Director Ahmad Sarbaini…
Ahmad was brought in to help with bribery investigations involving 62 customs officers. He was said to have gone to the MACC office in Jalan Cochrane, KL voluntarily but then later tried to escape, The Rakyat Post reported. According to TMI, in his escape he apparently fell from the 3rd floor pantry and landed in the badminton court on the 1st floor.
Maybe MACC should buy wet floor signs for their office so people would stop falling.
So….will MACC really investigate Najib?
MACC has always been said to catch ikan bilis when it should be catching ikan jerung instead. Their comeback to this perception is very interesting. They said that ‘ikan bilis lebih berbahaya kepada negara’. Read their full report here.
But this time, they are going to be up against not a shark, but a MEGALODON yo.
Can Malaysians trust them to be honest and transparent throughout the process? Unfortunately if we use these 6 cases to foretell how the 1MDB might turn out, we can’t say we’re confident of the outcome to be honest.
Malaysia improved its Corruption Perception Index in 2014 ranking 50th, while the year before we were at 53rd place. Since our target is to improve to 30th by 2020, maybe there is hope that we can finally put the mystery of 1MDB to rest (without going bankrupt in the process, please k?)
What do you reckon?