PETALING JAYA: An anti-graft watchdog has questioned the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) silence after Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim appeared to threaten two unnamed political leaders with criminal investigation if they did not return money allegedly stolen from the public purse.
“Are they (MACC) waiting for the prime minister to give instructions? Are they not supposed to be independent?” asked Pushpan Murugiah, CEO of the Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4).
Pushpan said Anwar’s statement suggested that enforcement agencies were under executive control and were open to be used as instruments of intimidation.
MACC’s silence “reaffirms public perception that our agencies, especially MACC, are not independent,” he said.
At a Jelajah Madani rally in Machang, Kelantan, on Monday, Anwar reportedly warned the former leaders to “return money and assets stolen from the rakyat”, failing which he would “ask the authorities to go to their homes and offices and check their accounts”.
Yesterday, a Bersatu Youth member lodged a police report over the matter.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Corruption Watch (MCW) president Jais Abdul Karim warned that Anwar’s statement may have a lasting effect on how the public perceived the authorities and their actions.
“This perception could lead to a loss of public confidence in the institutions responsible for upholding justice,” he said.
Jais called on all leaders to exercise caution in their words and actions to preserve public trust.
“Using the platform of a political rally to issue such threats may undermine public trust in the integrity of the authorities and the government,” he said.
“It is essential for leaders to communicate in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rule of law, due process, and the rights of individuals.”