Ismail Sabri has a last chance to salvage his premiership from becoming a kakistocracy.
On Wednesday, he must get his Cabinet to decide to terminate the appointment of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner, Azam Baki, if Azam is not prepared to appear before the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSCC) on Agencies in the Prime Minister’s Department to clear his conflict-of-interest allegations.
He should also ask the Cabinet to decide to convene a Special Parliament on 21st January to restore public confidence in the government’s anti-corruption programme and to receive, debate and decide on the report of the PSCC on Agencies in the Prime Minister’s Department on Azam-gate.
The Cabinet should decide on two days of Special Parliament – on January 20 on the floods disaster and on January 21 on the Azam-gate, two major issues which started the New Year of 2022 with the question whether Malaysia has degenerated into a kakistocracy.
The Cabinet should take a further decision that henceforth, the appointment of MACC Chief Commissioner will be considered and evaluated by the bi-partisan PSCC on Agencies in the Prime Minister’s Department in accordance with the Cabinet decisions of August 13, 2018 and July 31, 2019.
Malaysia suffered two infamies – becoming “kleptocracy at its worst” in the world as a result of the 1MDB scandal and a convicted criminal for corruption opening an international conference. Let us not suffer a third infamy where the MACC chief loses all public confidence in his integrity and probity.
It is sad and tragic that instead of strengthening the national integrity system in Malaysia, the MACC Chief Commissioner has plunged the country into the worst crisis of confidence in the anti-corruption agency in the nation’s history, contributed in no small measure by the MACC Anti-Corruption Advisory Board (ACAB) members not realising their statutory powers and responsibilities, the ACAB Chairman unilaterally speaking on behalf of the other six ACAB members when he was merely expressing his personal opinion and the ill-advised joint statement by the three MACC deputy commissioners declaring their support for Azam and dismissing the conflict-of-interest allegations as “politics of revenge” to discredit MACC’s image and credibility.
The question is whether the Prime Minister and the Cabinet can salvage their integrity and credibility on Wednesday to demonstrate that they have not degenerated to become a kakistocracy.