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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Tun Mahathir : the country currently “has no attorney-general”, and that several names being considered to be AG and MACC Chief

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New people being considered for A-G, MACC chief

NSTP
New Straits Times13 May 2018






KUALA LUMPUR: Two key roles, that of the attorney-general (A-G) as well as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner look set to feature new faces soon.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad yesterday said the country currently “has no attorney-general”, and that several names were being considered for the post.

Dr Mahathir noted that certain restrictions had been placed on a number of people who might have been involved in wrongdoings under the previous administration.

“At the moment we have no A-G. We’re considering names but we have to study the suitability of the candidates,” he said after chairing a meeting of the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council.

Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali, the current A-G, did not wish to comment when contacted over Dr Mahathir’s remarks.

“It’s better if I do not comment. Thank you,” he said.

Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed, the previous Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner, could be set for a return to the post.

Abu Kassim is touted to be among the candidates tipped for the post, specifically to renew a probe into matters related to 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Abu Kassim, who has been with the graft-buster for 34 years, did not retire from the commission, but was placed at a small unit in Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).

It is understood that Abu Kassim could make a return to the commission, seeing that he is still an MACC officer and was among the first people to take charge of the 1MDB and SRC International issues, back in 2016.

A source in MACC said Abu Kassim’s return was possible as he remains a government servant and is still heading an integrity unit at UiTM.

Abu Kassim’s mandatory retirement date is Dec 6, 2020.

“Many thought that Abu Kassim was no longer a government servant. Many do not know that he is now at an integrity unit in UiTM, where his expertise was said to be needed.

“We all know what happened. An officer of his stature (Turus II) should not by right be in the unit, given that his expertise and integrity in fighting corruption is needed not just by MACC but also by the country.

“Ever since the 1MDB case first arose, he was among the first people to head the investigation. “But his actions clearly raised the ire of several people and
he was ‘retired’ from the public eye.

“He still has two years to serve until full retirement,” said a source.

The source said, with the formation of a new government, Abu Kassim could return to the role.

The source added that Abu Kassim needs to assume the responsibility of completing his probe into 1MDB and SRC. The source also clarified that MACC had never concluded its investigation into 1MDB and SRC and that its status was listed as “pending”.

“MACC had been investigating the matter ever since it came to light but due to several factors, it has been pending, with those heading the investigations retired or shifted elsewhere.

“As such, Abu Kassim’s return to MACC is necessary in order to continue with the probe,” said the source.

“The anti-graft efforts by Abu Kassim are not only recognised here, but also abroad to the extent that he was even ranked fourth in a list of the ‘100 most influential individuals in business ethics’, beating even Bill Gates and Prince Charles.

“Picture then how a senior government officer of this stature could be placed in such a small unit.”

On June 2016, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Ali Hamsa issued a statement, announcing that Abu Kassim’s tenure as MACC chief commissioner would not be continued in line with Subsection 5(3) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Act 694).

MACC subsequently announced that Abu Kassim had received an offer from the International Anti Corruption Academy to become a guest expert at the world’s first Anti-Corruption University, apart from carrying out his duties as a lecturer, researcher and consultant at UiTM.

In the 1MDB probe, Abu Kassim had verified that MACC was working with the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation. Speculation over his role within MACC began to mount after the agency handed over the investigation papers on the case to the A-G’s Office. © New Straits Times Press

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