Malaysia’s former finance minister charged under anti-corruption act News
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Malaysia’s former finance minister charged under anti-corruption act

Malaysia’s former finance minister, Tun Abdul Daim bin Zainuddin, was charged Monday for failing to comply with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) order to declare his assets. Zainuddin, along with his wife and two children, were requested in January 2024 to testify about “high-value assets” that are under their company’s name within and outside the country.

Zainuddin, aged 85, arrived at Kuala Lumpur sessions court in a wheelchair, accompanied by his wife and son. He was charged with possessing undeclared assets that spanned a collection of high-end cars, including Rolls-Roye, in addition to his 38 companies and 25 properties and plots of land. The ex-minister pleaded guilty. If convicted, Zainuddin could potentially be sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail and face a fine of up to 100,000 ringgit (approximately $21,100 USD) under Section 36(2) of the MACC Act, 2009.

Zainuddin served as finance minister from 1984 to 1991 and 1999 to 2001. He was recently discharged from the hospital, and citing health issues, the court granted him bail at RM280,000 without confiscating his passport.

Na’imah Abdul Khalid, the spouse of Zainuddin, also faced charges at the court, accusing her of non-compliance with a notice to declare assets. She accused Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of using state power to target his political opponents.

In February 2023, MACC began an investigation of the former finance minister under the country’s laws related to abuse of power and money laundering. The investigation began due to disclosure of their assets from Pandora Papers. Zainuddin denied all the allegations and called the investigations “witch hunts” and accused Prime Minister Anwar of interfering in the investigation.

In December, the MACC confiscated the 58-story Ilham Tower, a commercial property in Kuala Lumpur believed to be owned by Zainuddin’s family, as reported by local media. The seizure reportedly occurred when Zainuddin declined to comply with the MACC’s request to disclose his and his family’s financial assets.

The MACC is engaged in investigating former high officials and close aides of former prime minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob regarding the alleged misuse of public funds during their tenure.