PUTRAJAYA, Jan 10 — Toh Puan Na’imah Khalid believes there is a smear campaign against her husband and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to create the perception that he is corrupt just because of his wealth.
She said this perception does not make sense and could make anyone successful in business a target of false allegations.
“And such accusations do not easily go away once out in the public domain,” she told reporters outside the national headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) here this morning.
Na’imah and her two sons with Daim had been summoned by the MACC to assist in its investigations of the 85-year-old suspected of corruption and money laundering today.
“In our free and democratic country, it is not an offence to be successful in business and industry and become wealthy as a result. In fact, it is good for the nation as it builds the economy and provides jobs.
“But my husband is persecuted for that success. His success is now made an excuse to slander his reputation and paint him as a corrupt person.
“It’s public knowledge that Daim was a very successful businessman prior to joining the government in 1984. He was already widely-referred in the media as a tycoon and a multi-millionaire before taking public office 40 years ago,” Nai’mah said.
She said the legal principle of innocence until proven guilty in a court of law should be respected.
She alleged that the campaign against Daim began after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s remarks questioning the source of her husband’s wealth.
“Is the prime minister suggesting that hardworking and capable Malay businessmen cannot become wealthy without resorting to improper or illegal means?
“This will only serve to perpetuate false stereotypes about the capabilities of the Malays,” Nai’mah said.
The MACC confirmed on December 23 that it is investigating Daim over allegations of corruption and money laundering, after it seized his 58-storey ILHAM Tower, a commercial property in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, on December 18 last year.
Daim has since described the MACC investigation against him as a “political witch hunt” and denied that he or his family have been involved in any corrupt activity.
In response, the MACC issued a statement on December 30 saying that it started investigating Daim in February 2023 based on information from the Pandora Papers — which are the findings by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in October 2021 based on its analysis of millions of leaked confidential documents on thousands of offshore companies, including those linked to politicians and public officials in 91 countries and territories.
The MACC invoked Section 36(1)(a) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 to serve a notice to Daim to formally declare in a sworn statement all his assets, domestic and abroad within 30 days of last June 7.
Section 36(1)(a) states that an MACC officer can issue a written notice to require the person to give a statement in writing on oath to identify all properties locally and abroad belonging to him or where he has an legal or equitable interest in and the date and method of acquisition, if he has reasonable grounds to believe based on investigation that any property held or acquired by any person is connected to or results from an offence under the same law.
Today, the MACC also said Daim had requested extensions for the asset declaration five times since last July, which were all granted.
It listed the dates granted to Daim as starting from July 6, August 10, September 11, October 11 and November 14, 2023 for him to formally declare all his assets.