By INS Contributors

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--Azalina Othman,the Special Advisor on Law and Human Rights to Malaysian Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, questioned if former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin had done a thorough due diligence before appointing Azam Baki as the chief commissioner of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

"Azam was appointed by Muhyiddin when he was prime minister. I assume that thorough due diligence was conducted by the relevant authorities prior to his appointment.

"Was this issue (of share ownership) not highlighted then?," she asked in a statement.

Azalina also said there were several independent committees and oversight bodies in MACC and questioned if there was any need for more to be set up.

One of these committees is a Special Committee on Corruption which was appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Malaysian King). The members of the committee comprised three senators and two MPs and was chaired by the Senate speaker.

"Procedurally, this special committee performs oversight of the MACC Advisory Board, which falls under Section 13 of the Act (MACC Act 2009). Clearly, there are two oversight bodies appointed by the King," she said.

"Did the advisory board confer with the special committee prior to issuing any statement? What is the special committee’s stand on the advisory board’s opinions?" she asked.

Muhyiddin himself was a controversial prime minister, coming to power through unelected means following the sudden resignation of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in February 2020.

His short administration from March 2020 to August 2021 was heavily criticised over poor handling of the COVID19 situation in the country, including failing to provide adequate relief to segments of the public placed under economic and financial pressure.

Muhyiddin's grip on power had been precarious as his administration commanded a very slim majority in the country's parliament and had been accused of using the pandemic as an excuse to close the country's parliament for most of 2021.