Raja Petra’s Reply


One very respected retired Chief Justice, who is known as an extremely straight and no-nonsense chap, remarked, if he had to be tried in court, he would not like it to be in a Malaysian court. He further remarked that the windscreens of the cars of judges are blacked-out not for security reasons but because the judges are ashamed to be seen by the public.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Dear Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad,

First of all, thank you for writing to Malaysia Today. (Read letter here). As promised, I have published your letter in toto without any amendments, additions, deletions, or ‘touch up’, though I felt some improvement to the language may have been necessary. Nevertheless, I was very careful in not ‘doctoring’ any parts of your letter lest I open myself to accusations of any sort.

I must admit I am pleased and honoured that the Press Secretary of the Deputy Prime Minister and likely future Prime Minister would take the trouble to write to Malaysia Today. As I have said so many times in the past, the only way to deal with the independent media is to engage it, not ignore it, for you ignore it at your own peril. And note that I have used the term ‘independent’ media and not ‘alternative’ media or ‘opposition’ media — because that is exactly what we are. In fact, what you call the ‘mainstream’ media, today, could actually be called the alternative media.

Now, on the points in your letter. A ‘trial’ by court of public opinion has been what we, the Rakyat, have had to rely on since 1998. Some say that the judiciary has in fact been compromised since 1988 after the sacking of Tan Salleh Abbas and his fellow judges. The fact that these half a dozen or so judges were recently honoured in a dinner graced by the Prime Minister where Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced that the government will spend millions of the taxpayers’ money to pay these judges their 20 years back-pay confirms that the Abdullah government, in which Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak is part of, agrees with the court of public opinion’s view of events that happened 20 years ago.

This opinion is of course strengthened by your very own de facto Law Minister’s statement, barely a few days after taking office, that the government should apologise to Tun Salleh and his fellow judges. This was of course shot down by the Cabinet, and instead of an apology, they are being paid millions of Ringgit, which Najib said should not be interpreted as an apology. Maybe Najib is right when he says that if the government pays out millions of Ringgit of the taxpayers’ money this should be only taken as 20 years back-pay and not be taken as an apology. Nevertheless, this still tantamount to an admission that the judges had been wrongfully dismissed, apology or no apology.

We must also not forget the statement by Justice Kamil when he delivered his judgement in the Likas election petition case. Yang Arif admitted that he always receives instructions from the top before he delivers his judgement on important or crucial cases. Justice Kamli also said that he is not the only judge to receive such instructions but that many other judges are also subjected to interference and instructions from the top and that they are told how they should rule. When asked who this person from the top is, he replied that we should know whom it is he means and he left it at that. No one had any misgivings as to whom Justice Kamil meant.

One very respected retired Chief Justice, who is known as an extremely straight and no-nonsense chap, remarked, if he had to be tried in court, he would not like it to be in a Malaysian court. He further remarked that the windscreens of the cars of judges are blacked-out not for security reasons but because the judges are ashamed to be seen by the public. This is coming from someone who is placed above normal men and when someone of that calibre makes such statements how can the public not feel that the Malaysian judiciary can no longer be trusted? As they say, let you be judged by your peers, and the judiciary’s peers have made their ruling.

Dear Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad,

To argue that we should leave this matter to the courts to decide is just not on. It can never be on until we see genuine and real reforms in the judiciary. And when the talk amongst legal circles is that, in September, the President of the Court of Appeal will take over as the new Chief Justice, this just erodes our confidence in the judiciary even further. Putting Umno’s lawyer in charge of the judiciary is like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse or, as the Malays would say, putting the kambing in charge of the sireh. And you want us to leave it to the courts to decide? When you have highly-respected judges and retired Chief Justices openly condemning the Malaysian judiciary what do you expect the lesser-learned Rakyat like us to do?

Of course, you will say that one is innocent until proven guilty. That is a beautiful concept. However, if you believe such a thing is possible in Malaysia, then you probably believe in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus as well. Do you remember Anwar Ibrahim’s trial ten years ago? Anwar was tried in a court of public opinion when they paraded that mattress in and out of court every day. What happened to that mattress? It was never part of the evidence and eventually just quietly disappeared out of sight. Was that not grandstanding for the media and TV cameras?

In Anwar’s case, he was not innocent until proven guilty. Though the Malaysian judicial system, which follows the British and not the French system, stipulates that a man is innocent until proven guilty, Anwar was assumed guilty and he was made to prove his innocence. The onus should be on the court to prove guilt but in Anwar’s case he was considered guilty and he had to prove his innocence. And the judge sent Anwar to jail because, according to the judge, Anwar had failed to prove his innocence.

We are therefore using the same ‘burden of proof’ on the present Deputy Prime Minister just like what the previous Deputy Prime Minister was subjected to. If this system of ‘prove you are innocent or else we have to assume you are guilty’ was good enough for Anwar then it is certainly good enough for Najib. Why should there be different standards between one Deputy Prime Minister and another? Should there not be one standard for all?

Note that Malaysia has a law called the Internal Security Act. When you are detained under this law, you are assumed guilty until you can prove you are innocent. And if you fail to prove your innocence then you are detained without trial indefinitely. Some Malaysians have spent more than 20 years under detention because the hapless person was not able to prove his innocence. Ahmad Boestaman, the famous Malay nationalist and independence fighter, was detained for 14 years or so. You may remember him. His son, Rustam Sani, died recently.

Dear Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad,

I must remind you that I too was arrested on Hari Raya Haji Day in 2001 after I walked into the police station to be with my wife who had earlier been arrested. Her ‘crime’ was for trying to help an old woman who had a knee injury and who was struggling to walk up a hill. The police arrested my wife, the poor old woman, and her daughter.

When I walked into the police station, Bakri Zinin, the current CID Director, assaulted me when I attempted to step outside to make a phone call. I was trying to step outside because a policeman shouted at me that I am not allowed to make a phone call inside the police station. But when I tried to step outside as instructed, Bakri assaulted me. He then instructed his officers to arrest me.

When I asked what my crime was and as to the reason I was being arrested, they told me they will think of something later. In the meantime they will arrest me first. I then insisted I be allowed to make a police report against Bakri but they refused to take my report. When I refused to accept no for an answer, they reluctantly took my report but nothing further was done after that. That police report made on Hari Haji Day of 2001 is probably no longer in the file.

Dear Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad,

I am glad you talk about respect for the law. I just wish you and Najib had said the same thing when they beat me up, handcuffed me, and threw me into the lockup without a charge back in 2001. Will I be accorded justice as well just like how you and Najib want to see justice done? Will Bakri Zinin be taken to task for beating me and for arresting me without any charge? Thus far, the only action taken against him is that he has been promoted from OCPD Dang Wangi to Director CID. Let us talk about justice when I see justice done to me as well. Until then we shall rule by law of public opinion, as that appears to be the only ‘system’ available to us.

I understand the concept of subjudice when commenting on an ongoing trial. So allow me to comment only on what the mainstream newspapers have already covered. The mainstream newspapers reported about a green Suzuki Vitara. The registration plate of the car was also mentioned in that newspaper report. Malaysia Today traced the owner of this car to an address in Ijok. On further checking with the SPR registration, it was confirmed that this person exists and his name, address and IC number tally with that in the JPJ registration.

The house exists and the neighbours confirm that the person concerned does live there and that the green Suzuki Vitara has been seen in front of the house. This, according to the newspapers, is the car that took Altantuya away after she was arrested in front of Razak Baginda’s house and taken to Bukit Aman.

Has this man been picked up? And, if not, then why since Altantuya was last seen alive driving off with him? Malaysia Today has revealed his name, address and IC number. And this man’s neighbours in Ijok confirm his existence and that of the car. Note that this was raised in the trial and was reported by the mainstream newspapers. So this is not mere insinuations and innuendoes.

In an interview in 2002 or 2003, Razak Baginda confirmed that his company brokered the submarine deal. He even mentioned the commission he had earned. This matter was confirmed by Razak himself and is documented in that interview. So this is also no insinuation or innuendo. And have we forgotten Razak’s wife’s outburst when she said that her husband is innocent and that it is not he who wants to become the next Prime Minister? Was Razak’s wife talking about Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Anwar Ibrahim or Khairy Jamaluddin? And was not Razak’s wife once a magistrate who would therefore know the law and know what constitutes subjudice?

Dear Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad,

I can go on but let the above suffice for the meantime. The issue of the changing of the judge after the filing of the Affidavit during the bail hearing (which was raised by Karpal Singh), the defence lawyers resigning because of threats from certain people (which Zulkifli Nordin confirmed), the changing of the entire prosecuting team the morning of the trial (which the prosecutor admitted when he asked for a one-month postponement), and much more are all documented and are on public record. Let the court of public opinion decide whether Malaysia Today is merely raising what is already well-documented or whether Malaysia Today is dabbling in insinuations and innuendoes.

Again, I thank you for your letter and really appreciate you taking the time to write to us. Let us together, in the spirit of Islam, the religion we profess, seek the truth and oppose transgressions — as made mandatory by Islam under the concept of amar maaruf, nahi munkar. From God we come and to God we shall return. And we shall be made accountable for all that we have done on this earth. And, in the eyes of God, those defending kemunkaran will be as guilty as those committing it. Let us not fear man for man proposes but God disposes. And nothing will befall us that God has not planned will befall us. Subjudice and contempt of court are creations of man that will not carry any weight in God’s court. So fear God because man even as powerful as Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers will be powerless to help you in God’s court where we shall all ultimately be judged.

Yours truly,

Raja Petra Bin Raja Kamarudin

6 thoughts on “Raja Petra’s Reply

  1. In the first place, I do not think there should be a need for Raja Petra Kamaruddin to respond at all.

    Where do the government come in on this that requires Najib’s Political Secretary to act? What business is there for Datuk Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad in this case?

  2. Dear Raja Petra,
    You are doing something good for the malaysians.
    keep up the good work.
    Many might not be with you but the GOD is with u.

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