Chief Secretary, Nik Ali Baba and Malaysian Civil Service


July 26, 2010

Chief Secretary, SDO Nik Ali Baba and the Pathetic State of the Malaysian Civil Service

by Dr. M. Bakri Musa

Chief Secretary Sidek Hassan did not acquit himself honorably in so quickly defending federal civil servant Nik Ali Yunus in his very public and ugly squabble with Penang’s Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng.

“Mother Hen” (Ibu Ayam) Sidek

Sidek’s swift reaction reflects more of a “mother hen” instinct of protecting its brood rather than the cool considered judgment of the head of an organization of professionals, as our civil servants would like us to believe them to be.

A state development officer (Nik Ali’s designation) is pretty far down in the federal civil service scheme of things, yet Sidek felt compelled to intervene.  He did it in a rash and clumsy manner.  At the very least he should have sought the views of both sides before rendering judgment.  That would have been the mark of a true professional; it would also the decent thing to do.

Sidek’s quick reaction to this personnel crisis stands in sharp contrast to his lack of one to another far-from-exemplary behavior of a very senior civil servant.  I refer to the utterance of Solicitor General II Yusof Zainal Abidin to the allegation that one of his lawyers was romantically involved with the key prosecution witness in Anwar Ibrahim’s “Sodomy II” trial.

While not categorically denying the allegation, Yusof simply dismissed it, adding this astounding assertion, “What my team does in their own personal time is not my business.  Usually, I don’t check on their personal lives.”

A Solicitor General is high up on the totem pole of the civil service; you have to be very senior and capable to reach that lofty position.  Yet we have this character failing to recognize the potential implications of a member of his team being romantically involved with a witness, especially a key one.  To think that we have as Solicitor General a lawyer who is unaware of the essence of professional ethics and conflict of interest!  This reflects poorly on the caliber of persons we appoint to senior positions in our civil service.

Yusof’s inept attempt at minimizing that lawyer’s role in his prosecuting team was equally unprofessional.  Yusof conveniently forgot that he was dealing with a lawyer, a professional, in his department, not the office clerk.  It does not matter whether that lawyer “was only brought in to help with taking notes, compiling data, evidence.”  A lawyer involved in such unethical activities ought to be disbarred regardless of where she works or what she does.

Lack of Professionalism at the Highest Levels

So we have two disturbing displays of less than exemplary behaviors if not outright lack of professionalism at the highest levels of our civil service.  One is the Chief Secretary not hearing both sides to the Lim Eng Guan (right) and Nik Ali squabble before rendering judgment, and the other, the Solicitor General failing to recognize a breach of professional ethics.

Contrary to Solicitor General Yusof’s assertion, what civil servants do in private can and do have a major impact on the effectiveness of their official duties.  If our top civil servants do not know this, as clearly demonstrated by Yusof’s remarks, then Sidek has a monumental task ahead of him.

Back to the squabble in Penang; in defending the federal officer, Sidek chided Lim for being extreme in resorting to public criticisms of the officer.  Sidek also asserted that there was nothing unprofessional for Nik Ali to retaliate openly by condemning the Chief Minister at an UMNO gathering.

Nik Ali was obviously ignorant of the internal channels available to him to express his dissatisfaction; hence his enlisting the help of a political party.  With Sidek’s rousing endorsement of Nik Ali’s action, this could well prove to be the new and accepted way.  I shudder to contemplate the consequences to the nation generally and the civil service specifically should that be the norm.  Perhaps I am being naïve here for this may already be the set pattern; hence the sorry shape we are in.

For his part, Lim claimed that he had sought a private meeting with Sidek as far back as May to discuss the matter, but Sidek cancelled it at the last minute.  Had Sidek acted professionally, he would have realized that the request came not from an opposition politician but the chief executive of a major state.  If Lim’s assertion were true, then Sidek owes the public an explanation for spurning Lim.  Sidek should have been more respectful of federal-state relationships.

Incredibly, Sidek also did not find anything unusual or a breach of the civil service code for a federal officer to be addressing partisan party gatherings.  Sidek’s excuse was that he as Chief Secretary had to be present when Najib gave his speeches.

Sidek obviously failed to grasp the essential difference between Najib the Prime Minister and Najib the party president.  Yes, Sidek should be by Prime Minister Najib on official functions, but Sidek should not be seen or be in any way officially or unofficially associated with the President of UMNO.  Sidek is a career civil servant, supposedly politically neutral and a professional.  If he were a political appointee, that would be a different matter.

Sidek’s incredulous assertion and crudely inappropriate behavior did not end there.  As Chief Secretary, he manages matters to be discussed at cabinet meetings.  That he saw fit to bring this to the highest level revealed Sidek’s warped sense of priorities.  I would have thought that the cabinet had other more pressing matters.  It was pathetic to see both the Prime Minister and his deputy putting in their two-sen comments on this lowly personnel matter.

As leader, a major part of Sidek’s responsibility is to solve problems, not create them.  He should also be able to anticipate them, and thus try to avoid or at least be ready.  With the Penang issue, Sidek not only fails to solve it but he also aggravates it.

More deplorable, Sidek fails to anticipate the potential ugly racial undercurrent to this conflict.  This is Malaysia and any conflict quickly acquires a racial hue unless intelligently and sensitively handled.  Sidek’s management of this crisis fails on both counts.

The outcome would have been far more favorable, and the nation spared a potentially destructive racial crisis, had Sidek been wise, restrained and professional.  In failing to have the earlier scheduled meeting with Lim, and not hearing both sides to the dispute between Lim and Nik Ali, Sidek flunked the most elementary test of leadership – nipping a problem in the bud.

Now that the different parties can be the governing as well as the opposition simultaneously at the federal and state levels, it behooves Sidek to provide guidelines on the proper relationship between civil servants and their political superiors.

Sidek must do this now, well before the next general elections.  Failure to do so would risk our nation having to endure again the ugly spectacle that we witnessed at Shah Alam immediately following the last general elections.  The next time however, it would be far more revolting.  Then Chief Minister Khir Toyo in cahoots with the state’s senior civil servants acted like a bunch of yahoos in destroying state documents and properties, anticipating the change in political leadership.  That was criminal.  That they were not prosecuted again reflected the lack of professionalism in our civil service.

While he is at it, Sidek should also draw up guidelines on how our diplomats abroad should handle visiting Malaysians, specifically lawmakers from other than the ruling party.  These Malaysians should not be ignored, as is the current practice.  They are our lawmakers regardless of their party affiliations.  Our diplomats should learn from their British and American counterparts in Malaysia and see how they treat visiting Labor MPs and Republican members of Congress

As an aside, there was another unpleasant dimension to the Shah Alam spectacle of 2008.  Selangor was not the only state that saw a change in political leadership; there was also Penang.  Unlike Selangor, the transition in Penang was smooth and civilized.  Again this being Malaysia, one cannot escape from drawing a racial conclusion to this difference.  I am embarrassed to state this, but it is obvious though not talked openly in polite social discourse.

Sidek also needs to scrutinize more closely the performance of his top officers.  He should not tolerate such inept and unprofessional conduct as displayed by the Solicitor General.  That would be more productive than intervening in the personnel problems of junior officers.

Like his political superior Prime Minister Najib, Sidek talks endlessly of “transforming” the government.  He would have a much greater chance of success if he were to first transform himself.  He can begin by quitting being the “mother hen” and start being more professional.

40 thoughts on “Chief Secretary, Nik Ali Baba and Malaysian Civil Service

  1. ” …. to the allegation that one of his lawyers was romantically involved with the key prosecution witness… (the Solicitor-General is not) denying the allegation, (he) simply dismissed it (saying), “What my team does in their own personal time is not my business. Usually, I don’t check on their personal lives.”

    Tell me I’m dreaming! This would never happen anywhere else except in a third world country.

    Top and senior civil servants have for some time now been coming out with the most ridiculous statements, shocking in many cases, but when they emerge out of the mouths of professionals trained in the strict discipline of their profession, such outpourings normally would have created shockwaves in the magniture of 7.9 on the Richter Scale elsewhere. But this is Malaysia. Nothing that comes out of this third world country is shocking anymore!

    Lawyers are never to be personally involved in any way and for whatever reason with their witnesses. Because this would lead to accusations of witness tampering. They would be taken off the case immediately and dealt severely according to their profession’s Code of Ethics.

  2. Well, Sidek is defending his potential successor. This Nik Ali Baba is known in Penang as “orang kami” among UMNO circles. He is not interested in his SDO’s duties, preferring to play politics. Can you blame him? No. These days, you don’t have to be a hot shot performer to progress up the civil service ladder. All you have to do is to be an ampu bodek and get the attention of those who matter in government. Better still, you are noticed by the Prime Minister and his Deputy.

    So, all one has to do is to be a “good” civil servant in the eyes of UMNO leadership. Fancy, both the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister coming to the defence of this low ranking SDO. Now that he has demonstrated his loyal to UMNO, Nik is heading for the big time. Nik is a Wira Melayu (Malay Hero) for taking on a Ketua Menteri cina (Chinese Chief Minister) from UMNO-PERKASA perspective.

    Such is the state of our civil service today. Thanks to Mahathir Mohamad. Now wonder people are keen to learn how to think and act like the 4th Prime Minister at Tier 4 Universiti Utara Malaysia in Sintok, Kedah.(Sorry Mr. Mongkut Bean, Imam SiamTean Rean, and Din Merican, I didn’t mean to embarrass you, Kedahans).

  3. As for Malaysia’s civil service, today it is but a shadow of its former self. All those trained in the tradition of the best in British civil service have long retired. In its place emerges a civil service no longer tied to the doctrine of civil neutrality and the British style of government but a civil service filled by civil servants competing to please their political masters.

  4. “Sidek flunked the most elementary test of leadership – nipping a problem in the bud.”

    That may be so. But what is nipping a problem in the bud, compared to having your butt nipped by your political masters?

  5. The question that needs to be answered by Sidek, Najib and the Cabinet is had it been an UMNO MB would Ali Baba have dared to do what he did or UMNO/BN remained quiet? All hell would have broken loose!

    Hah! Civil Serpents!

    dpp
    we are all of 1 race, the Human Race

  6. “What my team does in their own personal time is not my business. Usually, I don’t check on their personal lives.”

    So it is OK for his senior civil servants to have secret dalliance with their unmarried and married female junior staff in office and have sex with them outside office hours. It is also OK for his senior staff handling contracts to cut deals with the contractor or his representatives in office and collect the corrupt money outside office hours. Very nice.

    How the heck did he become the Chief Secretary?

  7. Ahmadi,

    I can understand why Dr. Bakri is outraged. Bean and I know the civil service of a bygone era (pre-Mahathir) well. We were both part of that service.

    There is no such a thing as civil neutrality in the present set up and that is why our government is dysfunctional. I have nothing more to add on this matter except to say without sounding racist the Malay dominated civil service is a disgrace. We need to open up and attract the best brains into the civil service. Take the case of Singapore. Just compare Sidek with the Head of Singapore Civil Service, for example.

    Today, we have become the laughing stock of the region and our civil servants cannot converse in English at regional and international conferences. The Indonesians, Singaporeans,Thais, Bruneians, and the Filipinos are ahead of us. The Cambodians, Laotians, Vietnamese and the Burmese are going to overtake us, give or take a few years from now.–Din Merican

  8. K Das,

    That is a quote from the Solicitor-General. Why was Sidek chosen? I think it is because he is a master ampu bodek, second only to a few of his predecessors. We no longer have people like Kadir Shamsuddin, Raja Mohar Badiozaman, Abdullah Ayub, Abdullah Salleh, Abdul Aziz Yeop, Aminuddin Baki, Ghazalie Shafie, Hashim Aman, Arshad Ayub, Abu Bakar Pawanchee, and men of that generation. –Din Merican

  9. “So it is OK for his senior civil servants to have secret dalliance with their unmarried and married female junior staff in office and have sex with them outside office hours” K Das

    Are you saying as CEO of a company, for example, it is your role as CEO to go into the private lives of your staff and act as the grand mufti, moral police and marriage counsellor and whatever else, all rolled into one? Are you saying that in any promotion exercise you would take their private lives into consideration? Whethey they have been faithful to their spouses etc?

    Let’s not go overboard.

    The issue here is of a lawyer who is ‘on the case’ being reportedly (albeit romantically) involved with a witness in an on-going court case. Whatever she does in the exercise of her right to free speech is her constitutional right. But here is the problem. There may not be anything substantive that could lend credence to any accusation of witness tampering but that is enough. And here it is almost cliche to note that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.

    The fact that this lawyer may not be on the prosecuting team but just supporting staff for the team may be enough. But this is Malaysia. Had it turned out that she is part of the prosecuting team, I doubt if she would be taken off the team.

  10. This a country whose justice system is skewed towards serving politicians and their cronies, towards preserving the status quo when everything points towards change in the status quo in order to preserve political stability and the administration of justice.

    We have judges who would not ask the prosecution to reveal their list of witnesses to the defence so depositions could be taken from them before the trial proper but who instead woud allow the defense to be ambushed with new evidence that have not been disclosed to them before hand, and then granting them adjournments under circumstances that would not allow the defence the full opportunity of responding. This is a serious interference with due process guaranteed by the country’s federal constitution.

    Witness tampering is just one more.

    Talking of witness tampering, this is not as infrequent as commonly thought. Rumor has it that the late David Marshall in the 50s was able to win many of his cases as a result of witness tampering. Not that he was a good trial lawyer.

  11. This could simply be UMNO’s trap of diversion and problem creation for DAP. UMNO and BN could simply be trying to prevent the Penang CM from functioning, by creating fires here and there for him to put down.

    The BN propaganda machine has begun. Last night I watched the local TV1 news, first it reported on water pollution in Kelantan. Then it focused on this same issue Nik versus Guan Eng. Then it reported on the sand issue in Selangor (if my memory serves me right). Today the star reported that over 10,000 in Sabah will be given mycards (so that they can vote BN).

    Most of us desire change. Most of us agree that BN will not provide the solutions we need. Our exchange of comments and views will allow us to see alternative views, but such will contribute little towards the change we need. What we need is for DIN MERICAN to run for office, whether as independent or any of the opposition. Or Mr. Bean or Mr. Tean, or Kathy. How about this for an idea?

  12. The CEO of a private company cannot be equated with the Chief Secretary of the Government. The latter and the civil service is funded by taxes from the public to whom he is accountable. Why do you think there is a special section in the instruction manual dedicated to deal with disciplinary matters? Precisely to deal with inefficient, lazy and crooked civil servants including those engaged in immoral dalliance.

    Nobody is asking the Chief Secretary to snoop into the private life of thousands of his staff. But when an issue so fundamental
    to criminal justice comes into the open touching on an amoral affair between a key staff and key witness of an on-going politicall y charged case against the leader of the Opposition, he has to look into that instead of brushing it aside.

    There are many things he could have done. The least he should have done is to call the officer up to ascertain if the rumour/story is true. If it so, pending further investigations, he should have initiated action to have her taken off from the case and get her posted to a non-sensitive unit.

  13. With nangkas like this Sidek clown, we don’t need squirrels to nip the bud of civil unrest. It’s already over-ripe.

    It has been a long time since we had any professionalism in the service. The corruption, incompetence, incomprehension of the separation of powers (or even simple G.O.’s), sheer ignorance and moronism, coupled with blatant displays of bodekism of idols – breeds arrogance of unprecendented malice. They don’t even know how and when to shut the F* up!! Federal -State services become one and the same brand of fruitcakes.

    Is there hope for the service? Nah, it’s reeks of maggoty nangkas.

  14. simply, that sidek fella thinks he is a smart alec. he is sitting there because his name is sidek, period. if his name is otherwise, he will probably be sweeping floors for UMNO.

  15. James,

    I will soon be a U.S. citizen. I suppose until they amend the law to allow for former citizens of Malaysia or those with dual nationality (not possible in our case) to stand for Parliament in Malaysia, I will have to postpone the idea. In the case of our tean, he has his sights on Maria Ozawa. Short of an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.9 on the Richter scale, he will not entertain any idea that would take him away from her!

    Din Merican? Well, the rough and tumble of politics doesn’t go well with his personality. He makes a natural diplomat. If you want to know if you would make a good diplomat, bend your thumb to see how far back it goes. For those without thumbs you could try bending other parts of your anatomy. Good luck to that!

  16. “But when an issue so fundamental to criminal justice comes into the open touching on an amoral affair between a key staff and key witness of an on-going politicall y charged case against the leader of the Opposition, he has to look into that instead of brushing it aside.” K Das

    Now you’re coming round to the point I’m making!

    But it does not have to be a “politically charged” trial as you put it. And it doesn’t have to come “into the open”. In fact there need not be actual witness tampering. Keystone to any criminal justice system is that justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.

    Here it gives rise to the issue of witness tampering – real or imagined. But then the UMNO run government is not preoccuptied with doing justice.

  17. Maybe the SGII is right, he doesn’t care what goes on with his staff outside office hours. Maybe that is why his lawyer is bonking the key witness knowing semuanya OK! The rot starts at the head and in this case, it is obvious why the lower-rung lawyers are behaving like this.

    In the other post on the Penang CM vs the SDO, this is also true, the rot starts at the head. The SDO is behaving such a way like his boss the Chief Secretary too, so semuanya OK.

  18. Witness tampering can and often does form the basis of a motion for a mis-trial later on. Since in this case, it appears to be a peripheral issue ( i.e. the woman is not involved in the actual prosecution of the case), it lacks relevance. For it to be an issue it first has to be relevant.

    To punish her for being romantically involved with the witness without more, that would be punishing someone for exercising her free speech right. Her ‘crime’ would appear to be in not disclosing her relationship with the witness.

    Having said, must the tea lady be dismissed because he is related or personally knows any of the witnesses – from both prosecution and defense?

  19. Bean
    So where is JAIS, JAKIM and all those Islamic holier than thou organization. Why don’t they go after Shitful and his lover the lawyer in the AG Chambers. The MUFTI of Perak and his Gadut sidekick should issue a fatwa about this unholy relationship. HARAM. Perhaps they are afraid because the AG will come after them..and they can hilang kerja (lose their jobs) .

  20. For what Shrek??

    For the ridiculous offence of ‘close proximity’? Everytime my secretary Sayang chose to work over time, I have had to make my way to the nearest watering hole.

  21. Dear long-ago boss Mr Bean

    And I thought you were an alcoholic!I was barely 18, scrawny with pimples, and always stuffing my face with doughnuts and cream cakes at the nearest deli. How can I be attractive then. You mean you are just becoming a US citizen?

  22. Shrek has already taken his oath of allegiance to the Stars and Stripes but is keeping his Malaysian passport. A smart move. I figure I’ll do the same.

  23. James, I am flattered . Thanks.

    Do the lawyers back home do what is known as continuous professional development courses? Do they understand conflict of interest. Do they understand ethics? Can we really teach ethics or does one have to be born with it? Is it innate?

    Do the policiticans understand anything but ampu bodek? That is their mind set to a meal ticket.

    If the leaders do not show the leadership that is required and what leadership means than it will trickle down the line. The attitude is one of , if they can do it they so can I. I think someone else has made this observation accurately. If the top can get away with it so can I.

    This is the current cess pool that pervades all level of govenrment.

  24. Kat,

    Lawyers and judges are held to a high professional code of ethics. Ignore this and you will be disciplined or even disbarred.

    Ask abang Aki who as chief judge wields the big stick to ensure his judges behave. The problem here is that he is hardly a model for the other judges. If you know abang Aki, you wouldn’t want to enter his chamber unescorted.

  25. I am surprised that Mr. Bean does not seem to grasp the crux of the matter or is he just pretending?

    The issue here is one of conflict of interests as the lady lawyer is involved in the investigation of the case whilst she is (supposedly) having an amoral affair with the very prosecution witness who is central to the entire case. The argument that she is not directly involved in the investigations requires a lot of convincing. She will have access to some investigation papers, be privy to office conversations over the case matters, and be aware of the direction the prosecution case will be heading to and its arsenal of assembled evidence to surprise or knock out the Defence – all information that she can share and give advice on whilst in bed sleeping with Saiful.

    Even if that was truly the case nobody is asking her to be dismissed from service. All I am saying is call her up for an explanation and if the liaison is confirmed, remove her from the case, transfer her to a non-sensitive unit pending the outcome of an investigation on this matter. Just imagine how their liaison can undermine the case for the Defence and poor Anwar!

  26. “I am surprised that Mr. Bean does not seem to grasp the crux of the matter or is he just pretending?” K Das

    It is you who has failed to “grasp the crux of the matter” and I do not think you’re pretending.

    A judge is required by law to recuse himself or herself from the case if he or she is even remotely connected to either of the litigants. The judge may know the plaintiff for example or the defendant, even remotely or is related etc. He is required by law to recuse himself from the case. There need not be actual conflict of interest. This is not to cast aspersions on his integrity as judge. This is so as not to give the appearance of prejudice. Justice must not only be done but be seen to be done.

    Ergo and in criminal proceedings, for example, a member of the prosecuting team would have to disclose any relationship he or she may have with any of the witnesses on either side, to the Chief Prosecutor – let alone allow a personal relatinship to develop. The only relationship you are allowed to have during the course of the trial is a professional one. As chief prosecuting counsel in charge, I would not hesitate to take him or her off the team. Because it may become an issue. Just the appearance of witness tampering can lead to a motion for a mistrial at the end. It is costly to the taxpayer who is left to pick up the tab at the end.

    And this has to be observed irrespective of whether it is a high profile case involving the leader of the opposition in Parliament or just a case involving a common criminal. Even a common criminal, a known criminal with a criminal record a mile long, has this constitutional right to due process and a fair trial which is guaranteed by the country’s constitution.

  27. “She will have access to some investigation papers, be privy to office conversations over the case matters, and be aware of the direction the prosecution case will be heading to and its arsenal of assembled evidence to surprise or knock out the Defence …” K. Das

    What is wrong with having access to the evidence?

    The prosecution as prosecution, of course, would have to have access to all investigation papers as must also the defense. How is the prosecution going to proceed otherwise?? This is a ridiculous observation even for a lay person to be making. I’m sorry.

    Both sides are supposed to have equal access to all the evidence (both incriminating and exculpatory) available even if it is not going to be used during trial.

    Both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence would have to be disclosed by the police to the prosecution and by the prosecution to the defense. In civil proceedings the disclosure occurs under the rules of discovery. In criminal trials the non-disclosure of exculpatory evidence by the police has been known to free convicted prisoners years after the trial – in some cases ten or more years. It is not that these convicted prisoners did not do the crimes they were accused of and convicted but that a fair trial requires that even exculpatory evidence be disclosed by the police to the prosecution and by the prosecution to the defense in the interest of justice.

    Try these criminals again? No can do. No fresh makeovers allowed. No second bite at the apple. You may have heard of the common law rule against double jeopardy. In some jurisdictions, they are trying to do away with it because of the injustice it does to the victims.

  28. You say this female assistant who is also a lawyer (it appears by some reports she is not a member of the prosecuting team) is “privy to some investigation papers, privy to conversations over the case” and “aware of the course the direction the prosecutions’s case will be heading” and has “access to the evidence to knock out the defence” etc

    My question to you K. Das is simple. So?

  29. The writer Dr Bakri Musa is not a lawyer and his writing on this issue has to be seen in that context. Let us not play to the populist sentiment just to please one side and not the other. Be that as it may his observation of the Chief Secretary and the Solicitor General is correct.

  30. I think we should cut out all the mumbo jumbo and address to the point.

    “What is wrong with having access to the evidence?” Everything. As a member of the prosecution team she is in the know of what is transpiring inside and can share valuable and sensitive information with Saiful. She can brief him as to what kind of questions to expect and coach him how to respond from the witness stand. What can be more damning than this, pray tell me?

    “The prosecution would have to have access to all investigation papers as must also the defense” and “Both sides are supposed to have equal access to all the evidence (both incriminating and exculpatory) available even if it is not going to be used during trial”
    Sounds great. But what is the reality? The Defence has been stymied from day one to have access to crucial basic papers like the first police report filed by Saiful and medical reports of Government chemists/doctors etc. Do I need to say more? It is not a question of taking side but making fair comments from what one observes.

    Nobody would care if the fair lady is having an affair with any Ali, Ah Beng or Aiyasamy. That is a private and personal matter. But the person she is embroiled with is the No 1 witness for the prosecution and she is part of the prosecution team. Any unsavoury deeds and conduct arising from the public office a person holds cannot be a private matter as it has serious implications to the administration of criminal justice. It has to be treated as public matter and rightly so.

    This will be my last comment posting on this subject. I will not respond any further. Readers can judge for themselves.

  31. K.Das

    If it makes you happy Gani Patail has already removed her as the prosecutor. She may not be guilty as accused, but Gani said she has been informed she’s no longer in the team.Much ado about nothing really.
    When its about Anwar, everything and everybody is wrong. I have a feeling the story about the affair is a planted one.
    ____________
    Sayang Bangsa, you have replaced a character called Ilham who used to spam this blog. The Government in power can’t all right and all wrong all the time. I suggest that you should weigh all the facts before jumping to conclusions or defending UMNO. I try to look as many sides of the issue. I do not want those in power or pretenders to power to damage our country for their own political ends.–Din Merican

  32. “What is wrong with having access to the evidence?” Mr Bean

    Everything. As a member of the prosecution team she is in the know of what is transpiring inside and can share valuable and sensitive information with Saiful. She can brief him as to what kind of questions to expect and coach him how to respond from the witness stand. What can be more damning than this, pray tell me?

    K Das – July 27, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I want to be as gentle as humanly possible as readers do not like me – a professional trained in law – to bash a lay person like yourself.

    If the victim is giving testimony in court and as prosecution witness, then we are talking about witness coaching – not witness tampering. Lawyers are not supposed to coach their witnesses what to say. But they do it anyway. However, any coaching and any damage done to the defense case is easily undone through cross-examination by the defense counsel. That is the purpose of the cross-examination.

    The above notwithstanding, like I said earlier, if I were chief prosecuting counsel I would take her off the case and if she were part of the prosecuting team (in other words she is prosecuting as well) off the team. Not for the reason or reasons you gave which is ridiculous to say the least.

    With that I trust I have answered your prayers.

  33. Dear Dean, Kathy and Bean,

    I think you all are exceptional people, so that why I suggested. I do not know anything about politics, but all I perceive is there is only few that are sincere in helping our people. Sayang Bangsa is no doubt an intellectual, but sadly he seems biased to race than to country. Our country is heading for a disaster, it is already a mess that would take years to correct.

    We need good people to represent the country and integrate the country. Bean is going for the blue passport = best of luck and wishes. I am living in the Marianas but now in Johor for a few weeks and will return for good in a few years if not sooner as I have had enough of being a stranger in a strange land.

    Anyway I really appreciate this blog and the exchange of views. But I hope those talented people here, especially the Malays will understand that we must integrate as one, so that our children don’t have to fight or alienate others just because of their heritage. To overcome the barriers, we need intelligent and open minded representatives and leaders that sees the need of the country irrespective of race and religion.

  34. “I am living in the Marianas but now in Johor for a few weeks and will return for good in a few years if not sooner as I have had enough of being a stranger in a strange land.” James

    James! Watcha doin’ on Mariana Island? Were you a victim of alien kidnapping? I assume you’re in the northern half which makes up the commonwealth of the United States. Stranger in a strange land indeed!

    Obama is about to pass new immigration reforms and this is your chance at getting yourself on a pathway towards legalization if you’re out of status. Don’t think you’re out of status though. I have mixed feelings about giving up my Malaysian citizenship.

  35. On the issue of witness coaching in a trial like that of Anwar Ibrahim, it is exremely naive for K. Das to assume that the main prosecution witness would not be coached.

    Anwar has been framed and is facing trumped up charges. The prosecution team would have to coach their star witness to expect the line of questioning from the defense, so he could place himself along a certain time line and at a place where Anwar was at the material time. Alibi would be Anwar’s best defense assuming he could put it together.

    Then there is the issue of forensic evidence – DNA. Damaging.

    Needless to say, the prosecution star witness would have to undergo extensive coaching to withstand the cross-examination that has to come if the case is to succeed. If the truth is not with you, it is hard to put together a case like this one. Do not underestimate the powerful tool of cross-examination in the hands of an experienced advocate.

  36. Compliments returned James especially to Din for hosting this blog and all those who contribute here,hopefully as Din has said, as agents of change for the benefit of our nation.

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