FORMER prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has emphasised that individuals bearing the title “Tun” should be investigated and have their properties seized if they are unable to explain the source of their wealth.
As the nation follows the rule of law, he said all citizens must abide by it and even a first-time offender should accept the full force of the rule of law.
“Tuns should not only be investigated [but] be remanded until they reveal the source of their money. If they don’t it must be because they are hiding,” the 98-year-old politician opined in a post on X on Wednesday (Dec 27).
“Corruption must be eradicated at all costs. If the attorney-general (AG) is of the opinion that the accusations are due to politics, it is the right of the AG not to continue prosecution. Passports should be returned. This is the right of the AG. The courts must not question the decision of the AG.”
The former Pejuang chairman was responding to reports of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) seizure of the 60-storey Menara Ilham owned by the family of former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Menara Ilham, built at an estimated cost of US$580 mil (RM2.7 bil), is located in the prime commercial and high-rise residential area around the KLCC.
According to a notice dated Dec 18 by the MACC, the anti-graft agency seized the tower after it found an offence under the MACC Act 2009.
In response to Menara Ilham’s seizure, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had urged the public to give the MACC time to conduct its investigations.
“Let (the authorities) investigate. It is an open secret. Someone had reaped so much wealth. Let there be a probe,” he was reported as saying after Friday prayers at the Masjid Jamek Kota Damansara mosque on Friday (Dec 22).
Anwar further noted that MACC’s probe proved that the anti-graft body was independent and would investigate anyone regardless of their status.
He said there is no ulterior motive behind the seizure, and that people cannot assume that there is some sort of ulterior motive at play each time the authorities probe renowned figures.
Anwar also pointed out that MACC had a duty to probe people regardless of whether they were “Tuns” or “Tan Sris”, or risk criticism that they only “went after the small fry, instead of the head honchos”.
Singapore-based Channel News Asia (CNA) quoted financial executives close to Daim as saying that the seizure was effected on Thursday (Dec 21) after Daim refused to submit to MACC’s petition to declare his and his family’s financial holdings.
CNA claimed that Daim had told MACC officials that he had nothing to do with the Renong-UEM deal, and in early December, the former finance minister was told by MACC that he would no longer receive any extension.
In May this year, MACC said it was gathering information involving the alleged misappropriation of RM2.3 bil by a former minister and a businessman.
Sources said the probe was a continuation of the disclosure of confidential documents by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, also known as the Pandora Papers, over transactions carried out at offshore financial centres.
The Pandora Papers refer to millions of leaked documents made public in 2021, which allegedly revealed offshore accounts of present and past leaders worldwide, including presidents, prime ministers, billionaires, and prominent business people. – Dec 27, 2023
Main pic credit: AFP via Getty Images