KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — Former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin will have a chance to persuade the High Court on March 4 to stop an ongoing investigation into his wealth over the years.
The hearing date for Daim’s leave for a judicial review application against the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was set by High Court judge Datuk Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh today after hearing arguments from former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas, acting for the prominent businessman, and senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan representing the MACC.
“After hearing the submissions I will set March 4, 2023 to make my decision,” the judge said.
Daim is seeking court orders to stop the MACC investigation against his family and prevent any charges that may result, claiming possible prejudice.
In a lengthy 45-minute long argument, Thomas focused on the MACC’s powers to prosecute and highlighted the time gap from when Daim was in public office and the start of the investigations into his wealth sources.
He said Daim had left public office in 2001 and had long bought the property to build Ilham Tower which houses his companies, and which were seized by the MACC this year.
He said that Daim is now 85 years old and and will have difficulty remembering what happened back so many years ago.
“We feel by asking for this leave it won’t paralyse the investigations as we know the investigating agencies must have a lorry load of information dating back more than 20 years ago. We also argue if there is reasonable cause to investigate my client,” Thomas added.
Shamsul argued that investigative powers cannot be challenged and if allowed to do so it may hamper future investigations from being done smoothly.
If Daim gets leave later on, he and his family will push the court to issue a stay order — for the MACC to cease all investigations against them and to cease issuing any further notices and to cease taking any further action in relation to the notices — until the court decides on the case.
A stay order is typically sought to temporarily preserve the status quo.
Daim is a lawyer and businessman.
He was finance minister of Malaysia from 1984 to 1991, and was reappointed to the same position in 1999 until his resignation from all Cabinet positions on May 31, 2001.
In his court filings, he said he has held no public office since then
Daim also said he was appointed Umno treasurer in 1984 and resigned from the post in November 2001.
Ilham Tower Sdn Bhd is the owner of Ilham Tower, and the company’s majority shares are owned by Ilham Baru Sdn Bhd which in turn is fully owned by Daim’s wife and two of his children.
According to court documents, Daim and his family said they had in December 2023 complied with MACC’s notices, but that the MACC later continued further action such as a December 18, 2023 seizure of the 60-storey Ilham Tower and the land it is located on as well as raids on the same day of companies such as Ilham Tower Sdn Bhd and Ilham Baru Sdn Bhd.