Justice is seen to be done : The case of Rosli Dahlan


November 24, 2014

Justice is seen to be done: The Case of Rosli Dahlan

by Din  Merican

‎My young friend Rosli Dahlan has been in the news a lot lately. He defends cases which most Muslim lawyers won’t want to even touch with a 10 foot pole. He was the Borders lawyer who successfully declared that s.13 of the FT Syariah Criminal Offences Act was ultra vires the Federal Constitution.

Then Rosli got embroiled in the Kassim Ahmad case and made a forceful argument exposing that JAWI acted illegally in arresting Kassim in Kedah and abducting him to KL.‎

What was more alarming to most Muslims was that he exposed that the Syariah Court is just an inferior court and even inferior to the magistrates court! But unknown to many, Rosli faces his personal tribulations alone.

Today, his own case came before the Court of Appeal. Some of you may recall that Rosli had sued the AG‎ Tan Sri Gani Patail, MACC Chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim, former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan and various officers of the MACC and AG Chambers including Dato Nordin Hassan and Dato Razak Musa (of Teoh Beng Hock fame). Rosli had faced many obstacles when the AG filed all kinds of application to prevent the case from coming to trial.

Readers will remember that A-G Gani Patail claimed that he had absolute immunity to do what he wants including fixing innocent citizens like Rosli. In that case, the High Court Judge Wazeer Alam Mydin Meera ruled that ” the claim of absolute immunity is anathema to modern notions of accountability”. A-G Gani was not happy and appealed to the Court of‎ Appeal. So, today was the A-G’s appeal.

before being made a judge, said he agreed that deliberate abuse of power by those holding a public office was misfeasance in public office.

As if it was not enough that Rosli had to face 3 Tan Sris, ‎A-G Gani Patail then engaged senior counsel Tan Sri Cecil Abraham to act for him. Many will recall that Tan Sri Cecil Abraham is implicated in the PI Bala case. That makes 4 Tan Sris against Rosli.

RD vs 4 Tan Sris

RD vs 4 Tan Sris

It seems that Tan Sri Cecil Abraham filed a last minute Written Submissions only yesterday at 3.45pm to throw Rosli’s counsel off guard. The appeal came on this morning.

‎In an apparent show of impartiality, Judges Dato Alizatul and Dato Nalini recused themselves when it was pointed out that Justice Alizatul had dismissed Rosli’s Judicial Review Leave application which challenged the very MACC notice for which he was charged and which the Trial Judge later held to be void notices.

At the same time, Judge Nalini recused herself after saying this is a high profile case involving A-G Gani Patail and she had sat in the panel that dismissed NST’s appeal when the High Court Judge Siti Khadijah Badjenid found NST and MACC liable for defamation and for breaching s.21(4) MACCA and ordered damages of RM300k to be paid by NST and MACC to Rosli.

I feel sorry for Rosli that he had to go through all these obstacles just to see his day in court to redeem himself. The incident happened in 2007. Today is 2014. It’s been 7 years and yet the case is not even anywhere near a trial date because A-G Gani Patail just does not want to face Rosli in court. That is what guilty people do, they do not want to face their Day of Judgement.

I also feel sorry for Rosli because his case is being treated like a joke when the Court of Appeal has now fixed the next hearing date on 1st April 2015 which is April Fool’s Day.

I say to Rosli- don’t be daunted.‎ God will protect you and will give you the last laugh. That’s how it has been for the last few cases where Rosli has won all the cases and the AG has been soundly beaten like in the Judgement by Judge Wazeer Alam. To the Justices‎ in our courts, I say to you – give the man the justice he deserves and don’t throw technical obstacles to protect these rogues in government. The higher titled they are, the harder you must come down on them. Let Justice be seen to be done!

Read this and don’t forget to help defend freedom:-

http://dinmerican.wordpress.com/2014/10/16/fund-for-kassim-ahmad-and-other-persecuted-activists/

Horrendous Devastation of Cameron Highlands due to Plainly Ugly Greed


November 23, 2014

Horrendous Devastation of Cameron Highlands due to Plainly Ugly Greed

by Tunku A  Aziz@www.nst.com.my

Sultan of PahangIF a picture, as the saying goes, is worth a thousand words, then the New Straits Times’ startlingly brutal depiction of the horrendous devastation of Cameron Highlands merits at least ten thousand drops of tears of anger, frustration and despair because those entrusted to protect our precious natural heritage have betrayed our trust.

 The wanton destruction of the environment and the disregard for human life all bear the hallmarks of human greed; we were jolted out of our complacency and forced to see corruption in all its ugliness.

No longer do we think that corruption is none of our business; no longer do we dare say, “Why all the fuss when only two parties are involved, the giver and the taker?” And no longer will we be able to dismiss the fact that there are victims whenever corruption rears its head.

The Cameron Highlands tragedy, both in human and environmental terms, has turned corruption on its head. The pristine hill station of the 1960s and 1970s is now a distant memory. My annual Christmas break was usually spent with my family in Cameron Highlands, with its promise of bracing mountain air and country walks in quiet, salubrious surroundings. This yearly ritual, sadly, started to lose its appeal with uncontrolled development that rapidly changed the character of the place.

Overnight, Cameron Highlands, the country’s premier Little England that once had trout in its mountain streams and rose bushes in every garden, took on an ominously grotesque aspect. It was transformed into a noisy, gaudy and boisterous bazaar that could give Petaling Street a good run for its money. I have not been back there for more than thirty years, preferring to treasure in the deep recesses of my memory the Cameron Highlands that I once knew and loved.

The recent tragedy has, as expected, produced a slew of responses, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous. In my long and eventful existence, I have heard a few ideas that are clearly beyond the pale, but nothing has quite prepared me for the proposal, that I suppose, could only have been conceived in the cluttered mind of a politician: to plant a million trees over a three-year period as part of a programme to rehabilitate Cameron Highlands that many believe to have been damaged beyond redemption.

I say with all due deference to the Natural Resources and Environment Minister, Datuk Seri G.palanivel Palanivel, that we are not talking about transplanting hair on a vain politician’s head — a painful enough process as some who have resorted to this treatment will tell you.

A million trees? The mind boggles at the very idea. Audacious and out of the box, yes. But is it doable and at what cost? All this leads me to ask why, with all the empirical evidence staring them in the face, didn’t our enforcement officers do what they were employed to do — enforce the law, plain and simple?

There were quietly whispered hints of “interference from above”, which puzzles me quite a bit because the “Yellow Letters”, according to the sultan of Pahang himself, did not come from the palace because, for one thing, they were not written on the official palace note paper and did not bear his signature. Who is it then that enforcement officers were pointing the finger at?

Whoever the exalted personage might be, he must be exposed because it is vitally important to show our people that there is one law for all. The Sultan’s standing and reputation, no less, must be protected and not to be trifled with.

The drama that unfolded on the slippery slopes and the silted valleys of Cameron Highlands has brought us face to face with the debilitating effects of corruption on society.

The reality on the ground is not a pretty sight. It is corruption writ large: if that does not turn our stomachs, then I suggest we deserve more of the same. The time for whinging is over. It is about time we took ownership of the fight against corruption and its attendant problems. I do not think it would be wise to leave such an important matter as fighting corruption especially to politicians. There is no need for elaboration.

Pahang, of course, is not alone of the Malaysian states that can claim a long history of illegal logging and land clearing. Stories, both anecdotal and factual, of corruption in forestry and land offices up and down the country are legion. Sabah and Sarawak occupy top spots in the forestry corruption league table. But, that is a story for another time. It is refreshing to hear the new chief minister of Sarawak, Tan Sri Adenan Satem, warning illegal loggers that stern action would be taken against them and that he would not tolerate corruption in his administration. I am not, in a manner of speaking, about to put the champagne on ice, and neither am I holding my breath. I do not know of any head of government anywhere in the world singing his heart out in praise of corruption. All politicians would have us believe that they are part of the solution. I should like to see the colour of their money first.

Returning to Pahang, I wonder why enforcement agencies who are paid to prevent these breaches of the law have allowed the situation to get so wildly out of control? The short answer, on the evidence that has long been in the public domain, is that the State of Pahang has been ‘captured’ by influential, almost always, titled crooks with loads of money, howsoever acquired, to seduce greedy and corrupt public officers. If they had only carried out their duties honesty, a great deal of the damage could have been prevented, and the good minister of one million trees would have saved himself a few blushes, and the treasury a lot of money.

 Royal Commission should be set up now to inquire into the state of corruption in the country as a whole. It is in the country’s interest to gauge accurately the true reading of the nation’s corruption barometer, so that we would not be wasting time and money treating symptoms because we have no clear idea of the root causes of corruption in national life.

Holding MACC Accountable: The Case of Ahmad Sarbani and Rosli Dahlan


Holding MACC Accountable: The Case of Ahmad Sarbani and Rosli Dahlan

Din Merican Newby Din Merican

The Malaysian courts are full of drama. Last week, the Sodomy II Trial of Anwar Ibrahim had the nation transfixed when two legal giants, candidate AG Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah and former Federal Court Judge Dato Seri Gopal Sri Ram, battled it out on whether any sodomy took place or whether it was just a political conspiracy.

But let us not forget other equally interesting cases involving the the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which was established in January 2009. The MACC was supposed to be a fearsome anti-corruption body. Instead of being feared for stamping out corruption, the MACC gained infamy for causing deaths and fixing innocent citizens.

The first death in MACC’s custody was on  July 16, 2009, when Teoh Beng Hock was thrown out the MACC’s Selangor Office in Plaza Masalam, Shah Alam. The second death was on April 6,  2011 when Customs Director, Ahmad Sarbaini bin Mohamad was said to have jumped out of the MACC’s office at Jalan Cochraine, Kuala Lumpur. These two incidents established the MACC’s reputation for throwing people out of high-rise buildings and getting away with it.

The Commission of Inquiry and Coroner’s Inquest of these two deaths did not produce satisfactory answers neither to the family nor to the public at large. Both Teoh Beng Hock’s family and Ahmad Sarbaini’s family have filed lawsuits to hold MACC accountable for these deaths.

The honorable thing to do would have been to apologize to their families. But under advice of Attorney-General Gani Patail who is the Government’s legal advisor, MACC chose to fight these out. That is how dishonorable our Government has become under A-G Gani Patail.

image

What I find surprising is that Utusan Malaysia is not settling with Rosli despite having admitted to its false story and wrong doing in a public apology. I find it equally astonishing that A-G Gani Patail seems to be outsourcing all his work to private lawyers like Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah and Tan Sri Cecil Abraham.image

If that is the case, the government might as well close down the A-G’s Chambers, hire Shafee as the Public Prosecutor and hire Cecil Abraham, the drafter of the late PI Bala’s Second Statutory Declaration in the Altantuya Murder case, as the Attorney-General. That may be cheaper for the taxpayers.image

Today, the trial against MACC for causing Ahmad Sarbaini’s death begun. See the MalaysiaKini report: http://www.malaysiakini.com/news/280085

At the same time, another case against the MACC was supposed to take place this morning. This involved Lawyer Rosli Dahlan’s case against Utusan Malaysia and the MACC for conspiracy to fix him in 2007. Although Rosli’s case against the MACC was filed in 2009, A-G Gani Patail has resorted to all kinds of maneuvers to avoid going to trial. The same thing happened this morning when at the 11th hour the A-G asked the court to postpone Rosli’s trial.

That said, I sympathise with Rosli. I know that he had spent a lot of money to seek his redemption. And yet, he is being obstructed from having his day in court. If a lawyer of his outstanding credentials can suffer that fate, what chance do ordinary folks like us, and Kassim Ahmad, Azmi Shahrom, Adam Adli et. al have? The MACC and the A-G have deep pockets thanks to the Government of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.

The Questionable Trial of Anwar Ibrahim


November 7, 2014

The Questionable Trial of Anwar Ibrahim

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/11/questionable-trial-anwar-ibrahi-201411455121912547.html

by John L Esposito and John O Voll

In just the last two months, nearly two dozen activists have been charged under Malaysia’s archaic Sedition Act.

anwar_ibrahim2

His Freedom is on Trial

Anwar Ibrahim ( Malaysia’s Parliamentary Leader of the Opposition) is in the Malaysian Federal Court this week for what hopefully is the last chapter in a sordid affair that has done nothing but distract him from his reform agenda. We have been critical of Malaysia’s Judiciary in the past and hope that at this moment in time, the five judges at the Federal Court who are tasked with reviewing the appeal of Ibrahim’s March conviction on charges of sodomy, will adhere strictly to the Rule of Law and not be swayed by external political influences.

Malaysia as a Model Pluralistic Muslim Nation Under Tremendous Strain

Malaysia’s image as an example or a model of a Muslim majority country that is on a democratic path, economically vibrant, adheres to the rule of law, and a model to the world on how to exist as a pluralistic society is under tremendous strain today. Ibrahim’s trial is just one example of how dissident voices calling for reform of institutions in Malaysia are being persecuted.

In just the last two months, nearly two dozen activists have been charged under Malaysia’s archaic Sedition Act, including Anwar Ibrahim. Ultra right-wing groups have targeted minority communities threatening to burn bibles and tell the “immigrant” Chinese and Indian population of Malaysia to go home.

Academic Freedom too under Attack

Anwar at UM

Academic Freedom Under Attack

Academic freedom is also under attack. Two highly regarded professors were charged with sedition and Anwar Ibrahim’s lecture scheduled to take place at the University of Malaya on Monday night was systemically blocked. University staff, dismissed early in the day, and the front gates of the university were put on lockdown. A few thousand brave students defied the ban and were able to hear Anwar Ibrahim speak.

At a time when the world is confronting violent and regressive movements in parts of the Muslim world, Malaysia could be a shining example of what is possible when Muslims focus on rebuilding the tradition of scholarship, technology, and pluralism that is present throughout the history of Islamic civilisation. While the Prime Minister (Najib Tun Razak) has made positive remarks about the need for a “movement of moderates” in the Muslim world, the actions of his party at home belie his intentions.

The continuing efforts to use the judicial system against opposition political leaders will undermine Malaysia’s leadership role in regional and global affairs as well as weaken Malaysia’s traditions of political openness and democracy. Malaysian authorities, as Human Rights Watch Asia Director, Phil Robertson, has stated, “risk making a travesty of the country’s criminal justice system” unless they withdraw their case against Anwar Ibrahim.

Former US Vice President Al Gore framed the issue clearly last March when he said: “It is extremely disturbing that the government of Malaysia – by continuing to press this case beyond the bounds of reason, let alone the bounds of justice – has used the courts to short-circuit the political process.”

John EspositoJohn L Esposito is University Professor and Professor of Religion and International Affairs, Georgetown University.

His recent books are “The Future of Islam and (with I Kalin) “Islamophobia and the Challenge of Pluralism in the 21st Century.”

John O Voll is Professor of Islamic History at the Prince Alwaleed binJohn Voll Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

Defending our Fundamental Liberties: The case of MAIS Outlawing SIS


November 2, 2014

Defending our Fundamental Liberties: The case of MAIS Outlawing Sisters In Islam (SIS)

by Din Merican

On  October  17, 2014, I wrote about the need to create a defence fund for Kassim Ahmad. Please READ :here

To me, the inhumane arrest, the abduction from Kedah to Kuala Lumpur and the unlawful charging of Malay Intellectual, Kassim Ahmad, is a sign of the erosion of our democratic principles; the erosion of Rule of Law; and worse still, the erosion of Justice when the civil courts turn a blind eye to the unlawful things being done by the religious authorities.

Of late, the civil Courts seem to abdicate their constitutional duty to check on the religious authorities by conveniently saying that the civil courts cannot interfere with the jurisdiction of the Syariah Courts.

The civil High Courts which are vested with judicial powers in the Federation seemed intimidated by the religious authorities.  Is there something happening between the A-GC and the Judiciary that we should know? Judges like Dato Zaleha Yusof who had previously chided JAWI and JAIS are suddenly replaced by hard-line conservative judges to handle Judicial Review cases.

Challenge Kassim Ahmad intellectually

Challenge Kassim Ahmad intellectually

Before I digress, when I appealed that Malaysians should contribute to a fund to defend Kassim Ahmad, I stated that this fund is not exclusive to Kassim Ahmad but also for other similar persecutions that endanger our liberty and freedom; to secure a guarantee of our fundamental liberties.

I am happy to inform you that the fund has raised RM14,982.00. We should applaud the Malaysians who contributed. But I should also inform Malaysians that fighting legal battles with the authorities involve huge sums of money. In that sense, RM14,982 over two weeks is a paltry sum. It is not even enough to pay for the disbursements incurred for Kassim Ahmad, not to mention to pay the professional fees, which lawyers like Rosli Dahlan, Malik Imtiaz, Nizam Bashir , Fahro Azat and other like minded Muslim lawyers are prepared to waive.

Is Rosli Dahlan a deviationist just for defending Kassim Ahmad and acting for Marina Mahathir to sue ISMA?

Are Rosli Dahlan   Malik Imtiaz, Nizam Bashir  et.al deviationists ?

image

In other words, while these lawyers are providing their services Free of Charge, we Malaysians are not doing our part. We do nothing to fight for what we believe in. We are just deluding ourselves when we say that we love this country whereas we can’t even raise RM100,000 in that short time to fight for what we believe in.  we want to behave, then this country is going down a very slippery slope…fast!

So, Malaysians, come forth and contribute because recent events have shown that there is clear and present danger that more ominous things will come our way if we are lackadaisical about the ideals that we cherish. This country is going down the slippery road very fast because we do not care enough for those who are being persecuted for dissent (reasoned discourse).

I  used the Kassim Ahmad’s case merely to illustrate the  surreptitious  incursions by our religious authorities who can outlaw freedom of thought and ideas by a simple stroke of passing religious edicts called Fatwas which, when gazetted, suddenly become part of the laws of this country.

We all know that there are only 3 branches of government i.e. the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. We also know that making the laws  of this country is the power of the Legislature whether Parliament or the State Assemblies. We also know that when the Executive misapplies the law, the Judiciary will keep them in check as it is the last bastion of justice. That is what we know and that is what we think those who govern us should know too.

Yet, what we didn’t know is that the religious authorities in this country (and there are 14 of them as we have 14 states in the Federation of Malaysia)  can exercise all the powers of these 3 different branches of government. And, they do it in a very unique way without following any legal sequence.

 The religious authorities of this country can just pass sentence on people with different views as deviationists without notifying them or hearing them out. Then the religious authorities just pronounce this sentence as law in the form of Fatwas. Finally, all they have to do is to just arrest those people whom they have already passed sentence on by arresting them and getting a syariah court to convict them.

Thus, in Kassim Ahmad’s case, MAWI/JAWI which are the religious authorities in Federal Territories outlawed Kassim Ahmad by decreeing that his ideas and thoughts are “sesat dan menyesatkan”. That is how they justified sending their officers to Kedah to abduct him and bring him to Kuala Lumpur to answer religious offence charges. And, soon the Syariah Court will just convict Kassim Ahmad because the civil High Court Judges will not stay JAWI from proceeding in the Syariah Court.

This practice of “outlawing” people and ideas which are  different from the ideas and thoughts of the religious establishments has become more serious when recently MAIS (Majlis Agama Islam Selangor) through the Mufti of Selangor gazetted a Fatwa  declaring that:

1. SIS (Sisters in Islam) and anyone else that practices Liberalism and Pluralism are deviationists;

2. All their publications are banned and can be confiscated;

3. MCMC are to censor and block their electronic media;

4. These deviationists can be compelled to corrective measures.

Read http://www.e-fatwa.gov.my/fatwa-negeri/pemikiran-liberalisme-dan-pluralisme-agama

Literally speaking, with one stroke of the pen, the religious authorities have “outlawed” the whole SIS Board, members, employees, contributors, supporters etc. They are condemned as deviationists without being duly notified nor to explain themselves. This is a clear violation of the Federal Constitution and the UNHCR Human Rights Declaration (which Malaysia is a signatory of that charter), that no one shall be condemned without the right to be heard.

Marina dalang LBGT?Is Marina Mahathir is a promoter of LGBT as accused by ISMA?

It is most alarming that without even specifically identifying the persons or publications, MAIS has practically declared every Muslim as potentially a deviationists. So, in effect, is MAIS also declaring that Tun Dr Mahathir and his daughter Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir (and her friends above), Dato Zaid Ibrahim and his son Ezra Zaid, academic Azmi Shahrom and anyone who supports them including the lawyers who act for them like Rosli Dahlan, Malik Imtiaz, Nizam Bashir  and Fahri Azzat also as deviationists?

Have they forgotten that it was Tun Dr Mahathir who promulgated Art.121(1A) into the Federal Constitution that gave them the powers that they now wield against him? Have they forgotten that Tun Dr Mahathir established the International Islamic University from which Rosli Dahlan and Malik Imtiaz graduated and are the very lawyers accusing these religious authorities of violating the Constitution? Are they now biting the very hand that created them and those that came from within their own fold?

Dr Mahathir said Jais needed to refer to the Quran to find out how to handle such situations instead of following the interpretations of some...

Dr Mahathir said Jais needed to refer to the Quran to find out how to handle such situations instead of following the interpretations of some…

The Third ban in that Fatwa is also worrisome. You now see a state Mufti directing MCMC to censor and ban internet social sites. Since when can a state Mufti have powers under the Multi Media Act to direct the MCMC to do anything? I suppose the MCMC Chairman Dato Shahril who is a Muslim can be charged by JAIS if he disregards the Mufti’s Fatwa?

The Fourth ban is very dangerous. In effect, it means that a deviationist can be detained in a corrective centre by the religious authorities until he disavows or recants his views, this is similar to being detained in prison indefinitely for contempt until the contempnor purges his contempt.

My Fellow Malaysians,  I have written this short piece to wake you up to the dangers that confront us. I appeal to you to come defend your rights. If you can see what I am seeing, then you will contribute to the Defence Fund which will be used not just for Kassim Ahmad, but also for such similar causes. So, please contribute generously to:

  Maybank Berhad A/C No 514011895152
 
  Swift code: MBBEMYKL

Sodomy 2: A lousy sequel


November 1, 2014

Malaysia

A lousy sequel

Jail for Malaysia’s opposition leader would not necessarily clobber his coalition