The former finance minister of Malaysia, Daim Zainuddin, found himself at the centre of a corruption probe as he was charged on Monday with failing to declare his assets. The charges include luxury cars, numerous companies, and properties, further accelerating a corruption investigation that has now implicated key rivals of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has directed Daim, his wife, and two sons of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to disclose their assets as part of an ongoing investigation into allegations of vast offshore holdings by the two wealthy and influential families. This move intensifies the scrutiny of prominent figures and raises questions about the extent of undisclosed wealth in the upper level of Malaysian politics.
Daim Zainuddin, aged 86, appeared in court in a wheelchair to face charges related to his failure to disclose assets, as mandated by the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission). Prosecutors allege that his undeclared fortune includes an array of high-end cars, such as a Rolls-Royce, along with ownership stakes in 38 companies and possession of 25 properties or parcels of land. Meanwhile, the ex-minister pleaded not guilty.
The charges against the former finance minister are part of a broader corruption probe that has sent shockwaves through Malaysian politics. The investigation has also ensnared two sons of former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, underlining the far-reaching implications of the allegations.
Daim in a statement asked the people of Malaysia to ‘stand up against Anwar and his regime.’ He also claimed that ‘honesty, integrity and good governance have gone out the window’ because independent institutions are used to pursue political opponents. The statement also stated, “Anwar should know that all this is not without repercussions.” Daim initially tried to read his statement in front of the media but failed to finish it.
Daim has to face jail for five years and a maximum fine of 100,000 ringgit (US$21,100) if found guilty. But he was released on bail of 280,000 ringgit. Daim’s wife Naimah Abdul Khalid had to face a similar charge and she pleaded not guilty. She also said, “I say this to you, Anwar Ibrahim that power is brief and there is always a reckoning for those who abuse it.”
The MACC’s decision to order asset declarations from these prominent individuals suggests a concerted effort to bring transparency to Malaysia’s political landscape and tackle corruption at the highest levels. The case highlights the importance of robust anti-corruption measures and reinforces the need for transparency to maintain public trust in the Malaysian government.