KL reinstates two anti-graft officials

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission director (special operations) Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin (left).

Two Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) directors have been reinstated following a public outcry over their transfer to the Prime Minister's Department, a move that came amid the MACC's probe into allegations that state funds were deposited into the Prime Minister's bank accounts.

Chief Secretary to the Government Ali Hamsa said in a brief statement yesterday that Datuk Bahri Mohamad Zin, whose special operations division was leading MACC's investigations into SRC International, a former subsidiary of troubled state investor 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and strategic communications director Rohaizad Yaakob had explained their recent statements to him and the head of the public service department.

"Following their explanations, I have decided to cancel the transfer of the two officers to JPM (Prime Minister's Department) and return them to their original positions at MACC effective Aug 10," he said.

The transfer, announced last Friday, came under criticism, including from two ministers in Prime Minister Najib Razak's recently reshuffled Cabinet, who said it was an act of intimidation and would compromise the work of the anti-graft agency.

At least seven MACC officers had been arrested and questioned, and their homes and offices were raided by police recently.

Last Saturday, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said the police would suspend their investigations into the alleged leak of confidential documents relating to MACC's probe into Datuk Seri Najib and SRC due to public perception that the commission was being harassed by police.

Acting MACC head Mustafar Ali told reporters that investigations into SRC, named as part of a money trail that saw an alleged RM42 million (S$15 million) deposited into Mr Najib's accounts, would now "resume as normal".

A high-level multi-agency probe into The Wall Street Journal's July 3 report alleging that US$700 million (S$970 million) linked to debt-laden 1MDB had been transferred to personal accounts belonging to Mr Najib, head of its advisory board, led to sweeping changes to the Najib administration last month.

Eighty local academics on Sunday signed a joint statement expressing their concern over the investigation on 1MDB, and calling on Mr Najib to go on leave to "ensure the credibility and integrity" of the probe.

Meanwhile, the opposition Democratic Action Party has called on the government to hold an emergency meeting of Parliament this month to select a new chairman for the bipartisan Public Accounts Committee, which had been forced to halt an inquiry into 1MDB after its previous head Nur Jazlan Mohamed and three other MPs were appointed to the Cabinet.

Yesterday, Affin Bank announced it had bought land in Kuala Lumpur's new Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) financial district for RM255 million to build its new headquarters. TRX is being developed by 1MDB Real Estate, a property unit of 1MDB.


This article was first published on August 11, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.