PETALING JAYA: Whistleblower Lalitha Kunaratnam has been issued a letter of demand by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner Azam Baki over the publication of two articles on the purported share purchases by the latter.
She has been asked to issue a public apology within 14 days, delete the articles about Azam and pay RM10 million in damages for tarnishing his reputation.
Azam’s lawyers said if she failed to comply, they would go ahead with legal proceedings for defamation.
Lalitha’s articles were published by the Independent News Service, or INS, in December.
In a tweet today, she said she had received the legal notice from the top graft buster.
“Thanks,” she wrote in her tweet.
She also posted a screenshot of the letter of demand which asks her to cease and desist over two articles titled: “Business ties among MACC leadership: How deep does it go? (Part 1)” and “Business ties among MACC leadership: How deep does it go (Part 2).”
FMT has contacted Azam and is awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, economist Edmund Terence Gomez expressed shock that Lalitha, who had raised legitimate questions of national interest, had been issued a letter of demand by Azam. Calling it an act of intimidation, he urged Azam to withdraw the notice.
“What Azam should be doing is to publicly disclose all his business interests in order to protect the image and integrity of the MACC,” he said in a statement.
“If whistleblowers were threatened by those in a position of power, how can we make any progress to get citizens to expose corruption, and protect them for doing so?”
Azam had said yesterday that he would take legal action against those who were trying to tarnish his reputation.
Yesterday, the Anti-Corruption Advisory Board cleared Azam of any wrongdoing over his purchase and ownership of corporate shares in 2015. Azam had revealed that he had willingly allowed his younger brother to use his trading account.