The Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4 Center) is extremely concerned by the decision of the Attorney General’s Chambers to seek a discharge not amounting to an acquittal for former federal territories minister Tengku Adnan Mansor over his RM1m corruption case.
In this case, Tengku Adnan was charged with receiving RM1m from businessman Tan Eng Boon to approve an application by Nucleus Properties Sdn Bhd (now known as Paragon City Development Sdn Bhd) to increase the industrial plot ratio of a piece of land on Jalan Semarak.
According to the deputy public prosecutor, Julia Ibrahim, instructions were given by the Attorney General’s Chambers to seek the discharge not amounting to an acquittal due to “new developments” involving a witness in the case that warranted further investigation.
The Attorney General’s Chambers will await the outcome of the investigation before deciding future action on the charge. However, no deadline has been given for the investigation as the Attorney General’s Chambers does not “know how long the investigation may take”.
This decision raises several urgent questions that the Attorney General’s Chambers must answer to the public:
- What are these “new developments” that must be investigated further?
- Why should these “new developments” justify the request for a discharge not amounting to an acquittal?
- Why did the Attorney General’s Chambers choose to withdraw the case instead of allowing the court an opportunity to make a decision?
- Why has no deadline been given for the investigation?
- Why is the Attorney General’s Chambers vague about whether this case will be pursued after the investigation is concluded?
C4 Center would like to remind the Attorney General’s Chambers that this is a corruption case involving a highly scandalised public official. There is no place for opaqueness or vague statements that cast doubt on the Attorney General’s Chambers’s pursuit of the corruption charge.
How can this entire case simply be withdrawn due to “new developments”, when Tan Eng Boon himself has pleaded guilty to abetting Tengku Adnan to solicit a bribe of RM1m?
Though part of the executive, the Attorney General’s Chambers must always show independence and fearlessness in the pursuit of justice, even if it may be against a member of the government of the day.
The Malaysian public demands answers. We have already seen several high profile corruption cases simply fizzling out in the past year, notably Najib Razak’s stepson Riza Aziz being granted a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on five counts of money laundering over US$248m and former Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s abrupt acquittal on 46 corruption charges.
This must not be allowed to happen again.
It is imperative for the administration of justice and public confidence that the Attorney General’s Chambers be relentless in its pursuit of corruption charges against public officials.
Malaysia’s marked improvement in last year’s Transparency International Corruption Perception Index will suffer greatly if our anti-corruption efforts continue to regress, especially if the public does not receive clear answers for why a discharge not amounting to an acquittal was sought in this corruption charge against Tengku Adnan.
C4 Center urges Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to focus on much-needed reforms to save Malaysia from sliding down this slippery slope – one we have spent much of the past three years trying to climb.