Should Syed Mokhtar be accorded immunity in the name of public interest?

WHEN former prime minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was hauled to court on charges involving bribery, money laundering, and abuse of power, many were perplexed that there was no co-accused in the case.

If Muhyiddin had received bribes, then the person or people who gave the bribes should also be charged.

Under the law – if the charges are sustained – both the giver and receiver of any bribe should be equally guilty.

Muhyiddin was accused of receiving RM120 mil in illicit funds from Bukhary Equity Sdn Bhd. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Shah Syed Nor Albukhary and his wife Puan Sri Sharifah Zarah Kechik are the directors of the company which is 99% owned by Syed Mokhtar.

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (Pic credit: Reuters)

As directors of Bukhary Equity, shouldn’t both be standing on the dock with Muhyiddin?

It is obvious that this is either a selective prosecution of Muhyiddin or Syed Mokhtar has done a deal for immunity.

Whichever way one examines the optics of Muhyiddin’s case, it appears that Malaysia has a two-tier justice system which prosecutes political enemies and turns a blind eye to kleptocrats. It seems that there is a law for the rakyat but a different law for cronies and kleptocrats.

If the government is serious about zero tolerance of corruption, then all must be equal before the law. Going after and prosecuting politician will not end corruption if those who pay the bribes and commissions are not dealt with under the law.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was given a mandate to investigate commercial cases of corruption a couple of years ago. So, has the MACC done a deal here or is the MACC not doing its job correctly?

This the MACC must answer.

Consequently, the injustice of the Muhyiddin case is that the ones who gave the alleged bribes in the first place are free.

The new government should be making an example of kleptocrats, dismantling their rent-seeking empires and freeing distorted and restricted markets so the rakyat can compete on a level playing field with crony capitalists.

In the Bukhary Equity case, the kleptocrats are getting away. They are the ones raping and pillaging the economy in the name of Bumiputera equity. Who is being cheated here?

PM Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must create equality of opportunity in the economy. The Muhyiddin case just exposed how inequitable business really is in Malaysia.  – March 24, 2023


Australia-born Murray Hunter has been involved in Asia-Pacific business for the last 40 years as an entrepreneur, consultant, academic and researcher. He was previously an associate professor at the Universiti Malaya Perlis.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main pic credit: Remaja

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