Prof Edmund right to quit, says academic, as calls for MACC chief to be probed mount
A fellow academic has praised Professor Dr Edmund Terence Gomez for resigning from a Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) panel after its chairman did not act on a “critical issue of national interest” involving the agency’s chief commissioner Tan Sri Azam Baki.
Honorary associate professor (criminology) at the School of Social Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Datuk Dr P. Sundramoorthy, who was part of MACC’s operations review panel in 2015, said those who were appointed to such panels must serve without fear or favour.
“I don’t know him (Gomez) personally, but I know of his work, and he did the right thing by resigning,” said Sundramoorthy.
“When you serve in any special committee in the government or its agencies, you must serve without fear or favour.
“There must be accountability on the part of those in the committee. There must be a sense of responsibility and transparency.”
In his resignation letter that was made public, Gomez said he had highlighted to panel chairman Datuk Seri Borhan Dolah, on Nov 12, that Azam allegedly owned close to two million shares in a public listed company, and held interests in businesses linked to his (Azam’s) family. Gomez had also requested for Borhan to hold a meeting as it was a “critical issue of national interest”.
No meeting was held, and Gomez resigned from the panel in protest.
“When you serve on such a committee, you have a moral obligation to society. It must not be compromised in any way, shape, or form. One must serve with moral fortitude,” Sundramoorthy added.
Sundramoorthy said he understood Gomez’s frustrations as his panel had looked into the SRC International saga, involving then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“The attorney-general, at that time, said there was no case against Najib. On our very last day, a handful of us insisted that the panel issue a carefully worded statement, that there was a case against Najib.
“We were never reappointed.”
Sundramoorthy said the ball is now in the panel’s court, to investigate the claims, once and for all.
“The negative part about Gomez leaving, is that he is a vocal person, and this is a great loss to the panel. I hope the others in the panel are not going to remain quiet.
“He raised a critical issue, and the authorities cannot be silent about it.”
Sundramoorthy said it was time for Azam and the others implicated, to clear their names, to uphold the integrity of the commission.
“From Day One itself, when this issue was raised, MACC should have addressed this matter internally. If that had happened, it would not have led to Gomez’s departure.
“Obviously, Gomez has facts on his side, otherwise he won’t go public. I’m not saying Azam should step down, but he should step aside for the time being, and an independent body should be formed to get to the bottom of this.
“I wonder what the other learned and eminent people in the panel feel about this (Gomez’s allegations and resignation). They should start pondering and questioning why the matter was not addressed earlier,” Sundramoorthy added.
Meanwhile, Parti Pejuang Tanahair, has called for Azam to be put on administrative leave pending an investigation.
In a statement, Pejuang said that a thorough investigation was the only way forward to restore public confidence in the MACC – an institution that was established specifically to “rid the country of corruption”.