Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia protesters tell MACC chief to go



Malaysia protesters tell MACC chief to go

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A man impersonates Azam Baki, Chief Commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. AFP

Malaysia protesters tell MACC chief to go

Hundreds of Malaysians rallied in the capital on January 22, demanding the country’s powerful anti-graft chief resign over a stock trading controversy where he owned millions of shares.

Wearing masks and shouting “reject corruption”, the mostly black-clad crowd of about two hundred called for immediate action against Azam Baki, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission’s (MACC) top official.

Protests in the Southeast Asian nation have been rare since the beginning of the pandemic due to virus curbs and fears of infection.

But public anger over corruption has previously led to mass demonstrations and election upsets, with the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal contributing to the longest-governing coalition’s downfall in 2018.

Azam, a key investigator into the former regime’s looting of the 1MDB state fund, has been under scrutiny for weeks over allegations of improper proxy trading after he admitted to letting his brother use his account.

Azam has denied any wrongdoing, while Malaysia’s securities regulator said last week that he had control of his account at the time of the trades, clearing him.

But that has not appeased the public.

“We have come because we cannot allow the practice of corruption to continue,” Mohamad Zawawi Ishak, 29, said as a crowd massed in front of a city train station at about 11:00 am (0800 GMT).

“In the fight against corruption, whoever is corrupt, we have to fight.”

Sivaranjani Manickam, 41, said the government was encouraging more corruption by not punishing Azam.

“Anger is making us come out to the streets today to protest,” she said.

Police closed several major roads city-wide as dozens of officers, including some in riot gear, tailed the crowd before rally-goers dispersed peacefully less than two hours later.

A MACC veteran of over 36 years, Azam was appointed head of the anti-graft department in 2020 in the midst of efforts to claw back pilfered funds.

That same year, ex-leader Najib Razak was convicted of corruption and given a 12-year jail term. He is awaiting a final appeal at the country’s top court while facing two other ongoing 1MDB-related trials.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio