Monday 22 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 21): Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must be careful not to misuse his vast powers as the prime minister and finance minister, a backbencher said on Tuesday, saying he was worried about possible selective prosecution by the governmment against political rivals.

“Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely," said Hassan Abdul Karim (PKR-Pasir Gudang). "I do not have mala fide or ill intention, but I just want to remind [Anwar] that power tends to corrupt.”

Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat, Hassan said he was concerned upon learning that Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) information chief  Datuk Wan Saiful Wan Jan had been charged with two counts of bribery in the Sessions Court earlier in the day.

“A few days ago, my friend from Pagoh (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) was investigated by MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission), before that a former finance minister under the fourth prime minister was also investigated in relation to the Pandora Papers,” he said, noting that International Trade and Industries Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz had also been summoned by MACC.

“We can summon all these prominent figures, ministers and deputy ministers, because we have the power, we are the executive," the lawmaker said, noting that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had stressed on the need for good governance in his royal address in the Dewan Rakyat last week. The King, in his address, had endorsed the current government’s “commitment and determination to aggressively combat corruption by focusing on the areas of procurement, enforcement and large-scale corruption”.

“I worry that if there is no reminder [to Anwar], selective prosecution may happen, [resulting in] political parties that are opposed to us becoming victims," said Hassan. "[But] if there is a basis [to these prosecutions], then there is nothing wrong.”  

Hassan also mentioned that no Malaysian prime minister had concurrently assumed the position of finance minister prior to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“I am a good friend of my party president YB Tambun (Anwar). He has integrity and is committed to fighting corruption. But I have to remind him because he does not only hold the position of prime minister but also holds the finance minister portfolio,” he said.

“I do not want a repeat of the 1MDB incident during which the prime minister also held the position of finance minister," he said, adding that Malaysia must avoid becoming a failed state like Sri Lanka.

Edited ByS Kanagaraju
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