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Azam cannot override Parliament, say PSC members

Free Malaysia Today logo Free Malaysia Today 18/1/2022 Nicholas Chung
MACC chief Azam Baki has cited three reasons why Wednesday’s PSC hearing should be postponed. © Provided by Free Malaysia Today MACC chief Azam Baki has cited three reasons why Wednesday’s PSC hearing should be postponed.

PETALING JAYA: Four members of a parliamentary select committee (PSC) that was to grill Azam Baki tomorrow say the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief cannot override Parliament and must show up when summoned by the PSC.

At a press conference, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong also urged the chairman of the PSC on Agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department, Abdul Latiff Rahman of PAS, to review his decision to cancel the meeting tomorrow.

He said the meeting should go ahead even if Azam did not show up as there were other matters the PSC needed to discuss, including who else to summon for questioning.

“Who is Azam Baki? Can he override Parliament? We should insist that he comes for the hearing first. If he refuses, then we can take action. We should proceed with our meeting.

“The reasons given by Azam (that the hearing cannot be held) were just excuses. If we summon him, he should come for the meeting and give his views. Come first.

“This should not be happening with an MACC chief. It sets a bad precedent. In the future, others summoned by a PSC or even the Public Accounts Committee could use the same excuses to stay away,” said the DAP MP.

Khoo said Azam gave three reasons on why he could not show up for the meeting – his civil suit against a whistleblower involving the issue, that there was no private member’s bill tabled for him to be summoned to Parliament, and that other agencies were investigating the matter.

He rebutted the MACC chief, saying PSCs had probed many cases that involved ongoing defamation suits and court cases but could still summon individuals involved.

He said the Standing Orders clearly stated that the PSC could call up anyone up without tabling any bill and that it was not restricted from probing issues that were under investigation by enforcement agencies.

Another PSC member, Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin, said the committee was not trying to find fault with Azam or the MACC but was just carrying out its responsibility of monitoring agencies under the Prime Minister’s Department.

“I ask our chairman to review his decision to cancel the meeting because the power to call for the meeting is in his hands. I ask that we meet tomorrow,” he said.

Also at the press conference was Selayang MP William Leong. The MPs said they were also speaking on behalf of Sepanggar MP Azis Jamman, who was unable to be present.

The PSC had been scheduled to meet tomorrow to discuss Azam’s share dealings but Parliament secretary Nizam Mydin Bacha Mydin said it was postponed to a date to be decided later because of issues that needed to be referred to Parliament’s legal adviser’s office.

Latiff had said Azam raised concerns that the hearing might be ultra vires the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.

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