Has Anwar begun his own version of Ops Lalang?

The strategy could easily backfire

Murray Hunter

Since the Anwar administration came to power, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has been extremely busy since the chief commissioner Azam Baki made a visit to Anwar’s office with a bunch of files, soon after Anwar was sworn in as PM.

The MACC probe into the Jana Wibawa case has gone ahead with full steam. There are already a number of charges been laid against some of the top Bersatu leadership, including Wan Saiful Wan Jan, Bersatu treasurer-general Salleh Bajuri, and Segambut deputy chief Adam Radlam Adam Muhammad. In addition, the MACC has frozen several Bersatu bank accounts.

Bersatu president and former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has reported to the MACC headquarters in Putra Jaya, and will also be charged tomorrow, over the Wan Wibana and Covid-19 stimulus packages.

Bersatu supreme council member Azmin Ali said that the probe against Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin is an attempt to cripple the party before the state elections. The arrest of Muhyiddin was timed on the day before a Bersatu party assembly.

There have been many accusations the MACC has been weaponized against the opposition with selective investigations into opposition parties and politicians.

Double standards

This is in stark contrast to the Selangor Maritime Gateway scandal, where a number of accusations have been made against PKR Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari. Abdul Razak Bin Ismail on his Facebook page claims reports over the Hutan Simpan Bukit Lagong scandal in Gombak, made more than six months ago, have been totally ignored by the MACC.

The MACC is not an independent body. Insiders within the MACC disclosed their dissatisfaction over what they perceive as selective attention to cases on the Perikatan Nasional side of politics.

The MACC is directly under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), and as a consequence is not independent from the executive branch of government. Any decision to prosecute anyone must be approved by the attorney general. The MACC cannot make any independent decisions to prosecute. So, the arrests of the Bersatu leadership are coming from within the executive.

All the publicity around the investigations over the Wan Wibana cases are occurring at a time that will potentially influence the outcome of the coming state elections.