By Edmund Terence Gomez

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--I have just been informed that the whistle-blower who wrote to me about the allegations involving the business interests of the MACC’s Chief Commissioner, Tan Sri Azam Baki, is being sued.

Azam’s lawyers are demanding that the whistle-blower apologise for a report she has written on this matter, issue a public apology, and pay damages amounting to RM10 million. The whistle-blower received this Letter of Demand (LOD) today.  

I am shocked, even appalled, that this whistle-blower, who raised legitimate questions of national interest, is now being sued by Azam. What Azam should be doing is publicly disclosing all his business interests in order to protect the image and integrity of the MACC.  

By sending this letter of demand to the whistle-blower, what is now occurring is nothing more than serious intimidation by Azam.  If whistle-blowers are threatened in this way by those in a position of power, long a trend we have seen in Malaysia, how can we make any progress to get citizens to expose corruption and protect them for doing so.

I call on Azam to withdraw this Letter of Demand immediately and cease his attempt to victimise the whistle-blower.

I also call on the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader to jointly act to begin an immediate review of the functioning of the MACC. The Prime Minister must also act immediately to create an independent panel to review the allegations of Azam’s business interests.