More upheaval at anti-graft agency

Two senior officers at Malaysian watchdog moved out due to 'disciplinary problems'

A man walking past a 1MDB billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A man walking past a 1MDB billboard at the funds flagship Tun Razak Exchange development in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. PHOTO: REUTERS

Malaysia's anti-graft agency underwent more upheaval yesterday, with two of its senior officers apparently transferred out as concerns mounted over interference with its probe into troubled 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Special operations director Bahri Mohd Zin and strategic communications director Rohaizad Yaakob of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) were moved to the Prime Minister's Department (PMD), local media reports said.

The New Straits Times, citing a source, said the two men have been transferred due to "disciplinary problems" and will start at the PMD on Monday. It is unclear what positions they will be filling.

MACC deputy chief Mohd Shukri Abdul was quoted by news website Malaysiakini as saying: "Take me, but return the two MACC men."

The Straits Times could not reach either Datuk Bahri or Datuk Rohaizad for comment.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office said he was "not aware" of the matter.

The latest development comes after police raided MACC's offices and hauled up its officers for questioning as part of a probe into alleged leaks by officials investigating debt-laden 1MDB.

The leaks had led to damaging exposes against 1MDB and its chief adviser, Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Mr Bahri had previously suggested there was a "hidden hand" behind police action, while Mr Rohaizad had on Thursday received a group of opposition leaders who turned up to show their support.

During this period, MACC chief Abu Kassim has been on medical leave because of a back problem, reports said yesterday . Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has denied that the police were targeting any agencies. He told reporters yesterday that "no further action" will be taken against MACC officers who have been questioned.

The fallout of the probe into 1MDB's alleged mismanagement has already resulted in the replacement of the Attorney-General and the sacking of deputy premier Muhyiddin Yassin in a Cabinet reshuffle.

But a combative Tan Sri Muhyiddin yesterday reiterated he would not step down as Umno's deputy president or stay mum about 1MDB's problems.

"I'm not a 'yes' man. I will fail in my responsibility if I don't speak the truth," he said in a speech to delegates in his Pagoh constituency in Johor, where he has been the Member of Parliament since 1978.

He also revealed that Datuk Seri Najib had told him it was Middle Eastern donors who wanted to deposit the US$700 million (S$970 million) into the latter's personal accounts. The large transfer was exposed in a Wall Street Journal article last month.

"I asked him where the contribution came from, and he said, 'From the Middle East, but cannot tell the name.'" Mr Muhyiddin was quoted as saying.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 08, 2015, with the headline 'More upheaval at anti-graft agency'. Subscribe