MACC True Colors – Clear Shahrizat and Re-Open Azmin Ali’s File

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PETALING JAYA: PKR today said that the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission’s (MACC) decision to clear former minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and to re-open a file on party vice-president Azmin Ali revealed the graft agency’s ” true colours”.

Rafizi Ramli, the party’s strategic director, said in a statement today that although Malaysians already anticipated that Shahrizat would be given the “all-clear”, the speed in which the anti-graft body re-opened a file against Azmin reflected MACC’s bias.

The joint statement was also issued by party women’s wing chief, Zuraida Kamaruddin.
He said that the biasness was obvious when MACC dilly-dallied in pursuing the NFC issue but was quick to take up Azmin, even when the latter had no strong evidence of corruption in it.

“MACC’s task is not to be Barisan National’s pawn and to open files investigating top opposition leaders as general election approaches. It is MACC’s duty to answer the questions in cases of breach of trust such as the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp),” he said.

Rafizi is one of the main persons who highlighted the project which is overseen by Shahrizat’s husband, Mohamed Salleh Abbas, and their three children.

MACC operations review panel cleared Shahrizat of any involvement in awarding the project to the company which was headed by her husband.
The panel also said that Shahrizat, the former Women, Family and Community Development Minister, did not play a role in awarding her husband’s company the RM250-million soft loan to facilitate the NFCorp project.

The panel, however, said that it has re-opened Azmin’s case in the light of new evidence disclosed by blogger, Raja Petra Kamarudin, which included confidential information.

New light was shed upon Azmin’s alleged corruption case in 1995-1997, following Raja Petra’s revelations early this week.
A probe was conducted by the then Anti-Corruption Agency in 1997 over the matter.

Its former director-general Shafee Yahaya said the probe had found Azmin to be in “deep debt” but maintained that it did not uncover “strong elements of corruption”.
He instead recommended then deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim to take disciplinary action against Azmin. The latter served as Anwar’s private secretary at that time.

‘Act of corruption’

Rafizi today maintained that the 1997 probe revealed no elements of corruption and did not require Azmin to be prosecuted.

“These facts are clearly stated in his book ‘The Shafee Yahaya Story’ in pages 306, 326 and 356,” he said.

Turning to NFCorp, he maintained that the government’s decision to award the project to a company which had no capacity to handle such a project was a corrupt act.
“This is based on the general rule of procurement and tender of any agency; the act to award a tender to an incapable company is an act of corruption,” he said.

He added that then High Impact Project chairman Najib Tun Razak should be investigated for acts of corruption for awarding the project to Shahrizat’s family.
Rafizi said that there is also the personal ties between Sharizat and Najib which has to be taken into consideration.

“We are sure that MACC did not even call Najib to testify even when he was the main witness to understand why NFC was given the tender,” he said.
A puzzled Rafizi asked why both he and Zuraida were not called when they were the ones who made many allegations regarding the issue.