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Why is Azhar Harun protecting the rich and powerful?

Press Statement
12th October 2021

Nothing to hide? Then allow for Parliament debate 

Maybe he looks into a crystal ball for answers. Whatever it is, Parliament Speaker, Azhar Azizan Harun’s conclusion that the Pandora Papers aren’t about the illicit outflow of money is baffling. 

And even if “they are a revelation about the shareholdings in offshore companies”, as Azhar says, why wouldn’t he allow for a debate? Isn’t it a matter of public interest?

Especially now, when funds from tax evasion if any, would come in handy to mitigate the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic? When the money could be channeled to help the poor? 

I agree that it’s not illegal to have an offshore account but it’s certainly fraudulent to avoid taxes and have hidden assets. Without independent investigations we would never know what some of the prominent Malaysians named in the leaked documents were up to.

It’s especially damaging when a sitting cabinet minister, Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, who holds the finance portfolio is also named.

For starters I would like a due diligence on the source of funds, which have enabled Tengku Zafrul and former cabinet ministers, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Daim Zainuddin to have offshore accounts and properties overseas. 

You and I both know how easy it is to hide money offshore through shell companies set-up in countries with high-levels of secrecy. We will never be able to find out who really owns the company because it exists only in name with no actual office space or staff. 

Isn’t Azhar privy to this information? So why would he believe the so-called negligible numbers he sees as assets belonging to these prominent, wealthy Malaysians? 

Shouldn’t there be a proper investigation or a Royal Commission of Inquiry before Azhar arrives at his bizarre conclusion? Mr Speaker, this is really not cute.

Azhar’s reputation has progressively been in tatters. He has lost all respect because he has been quick to dismiss legitimate requests like that made by Opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. He is seen to have sided with the government.

But Azhar now has a chance to do the right thing by allowing the debate on the Pandora Papers in Parliament so that Malaysians know the truth; so that we can get some answers.

Everyone who is named has an obligation to the rakyat; to tell them the truth; to show documents and tax papers. 

And if they have nothing to fear, they would do it without hiding behind the Parliament Speaker.

Charles Santiago 
MP for Klang

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