PETALING JAYA: Two former Umno leaders have questioned the timing of investigations into former finance minister Daim Zainuddin despite his wealth being well known among the elite for many years.
Former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan both also wondered how the government would counter the perception that the investigation was politically motivated.
Khairy said it was no secret that Daim was rich, and “had been so for decades. “So the question is, why only after all these years does he need to be investigated?”
Speaking in the “Keluar Sekejap” podcast, which he co-hosts with Shahril, Khairy said: “How do you manage this perception (that the probe is not politically motivated)?”
The same question arose for the probe against businessman Mirzan Mahathir, the son of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad. “Why is it an issue now?” he said.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has said the actions against Daim and Mirzan are part of its investigation into leaks about offshore accounts contained in the Pandora Papers and Panama Papers.
Last month, Daim accused both the MACC and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim of conducting a political witch hunt. Anwar had previously defended investigations of high-profile individuals, saying it had to be done to protect the country’s image and the people.
Shahril said whatever action taken by the authorities would be perceived as a warning to political foes. No one in the government would admit that they played a role in getting Daim investigated, he said. “But how do you sell that message?”
Khairy said it was undeniable that action must be taken if there is something that needs to be answered, declared, investigated. However, the question would arise whether there is an agenda beyond what could be seen, he said.