What should an esteemed member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, who happens to be Chairman of a PLC, do when the company faces a crisis of confidence and his directors are lodging police reports against one another over claims of deception, outright cheating and corruption?
1. Should he step down as Chairman of the PLC in order to protect the good name of the institution?
2. Or should he step down as a member of the MACC in order to protect the good name of the institution?
"Both," the MACC man said to me after a while.
"He should expunge himself as MACC member and he should also step down as Chairman of the PLC at least until the crisis blows over. It's a moral question."
We were having coffee in Bangsar the other night. I called him out because I wanted his take on Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil, the former Auditor-General who chairs one of MACC's main committees and happens to be Chairman of crisis-laden public-listed company Protasco (Why spend RM97 m to cheat a company of RM50 m? - A Voice, 20 Nov 2014
This took place the day before Utusan Malaysia came out with this overdue article:
(translated) Poser on Hadenan's position in Protasco by Utusan Malaysia, 20/11/14
Protasco's troubles have been in the news for weeks before the bloggers picked the issue up. When that happened I knew that sooner or later, lie it or not, Hadenan's position would come under scrutiny.
Especially when the MACC itself has been struggling with its own demons lately in the form of a couple of its former esteemed members who seemed bent on attacking the institution given half a chance (read Cameron Highlands landslides not MACC fault - The Mole, 13 Nov 2014).
The promotion of an MACC officer who was doing his job when he interviewed Teoh Being Hock over a corruption case has also become a headache for the Commission.
Another Tan Sri whose term was not renewed last year is even testifying against the MACC chief himself in a case between the Commission and a suspect corruptor.
I told the MACC officer that it's high time the institution reviews the selection process for its councilors and committee members. The MACC is a powerful entity that in the hands of the unscrupulous can open doors of many opportunities. Having the wrong people on board can open the Commission to abuse or at least manipulation. Individuals who sit on board the MACC must not only be clean and credible but must be seen as such by the general public, at all times.
Perhaps the MACC should not appoint businessmen or company directors. Or those who agrees to become a Councillor must be required to give up other posts that might place him in a position of conflict of interest.
That way, it won't ever place a respected member of society like Protasco's Hadenan in such a painful dilemma.