Malaysia: Najib is above the Law, shame on the Enforcers and the Judiciary

July 15, 2015

Malaysia: No one is above the Law, but Najib is the Special One

by Manjit Bhatia

Najib in Prayer2

As corruption scandals plague the Prime Minster, this is the moment Malaysians should openly demand justice in their country – something the law and judiciary won’t give them.

When on  July 8, Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein declared that no-one in Malaysia is “above the law”, many Malaysians would have either shrieked in horror or laughed till their stomachs hurt. But nobody would have shuddered at the idea that Hishamuddin would shamelessly tell another bald-faced lie or trumpet yet another cockamamie from his loft.

Coming from a regime renowned for hiring congenital liars and compulsive shysters since 1969 — although one could also revisit some wild porkies told in the 1950s and 60s — Hishamuddin’s attempt at grabbing the political middle-ground, to be seen as some sort of conciliatory ‘statesman’-like figure, flatly slammed back into his face.

Most Malaysians will have experienced the crudely thwarting ability of the 58-year-old ruling UMNO-Barisan Nasional regime to make the country’s laws bendable. So pliant are they, that today Malaysia’s laws are inherently farcical. Malaysian laws, in general and specific terms, are a disgrace.

Malaysian laws serve UMNO-BN’s narrow, immediate, ideo-political and economic interests. Malaysians understand there is no such things as equality before the law, let alone justice in this increasingly pariah, Third World state with grand pretensions of becoming an “advanced nation” by 2020.

Najib Razak, Hishamuddin’s cousin and boss, Malaysia’s Prime Minister, and Finance Minister to boot, is directly implicated in a monstrous corruption scandal, the likes of which Malaysians have never seen. Some US $700m is alleged to have been transferred to several bank accounts in his name, while 2 million ringgit has been allegedly deposited into his wife’s bank account. It is difficult to see Najib extricating himself with comprehensive inculpability, much less virtuousness, from the mounting shambles around his integrity and political legitimacy.


This is precisely the moment Malaysians should openly demand justice in their country along principles of ‘justice as fairness’. It will not happen. Hishamuddin, an UMNO Vice-President who, in 2005, while clutching the traditional Malay keris (short-sword), threatened to spill non Malay-Muslim blood in the name of Malay superiority, knows this well. So, too, Malaysia’s Bar Council, which has remained peculiarly quiet. Not a squeak.

To all intents and purposes, the entire Malaysian cabinet, including Hishamuddin, would have been aware that the monies transferred into Najib’s personal bank accounts — exposed by The Wall Street Journal on 2 July — had been used to rig the 2013 elections and yet again defraud Malaysians of their right to regime change.

That outcome is now history. But it is another ugly chapter in this country’s growing repulsiveness when added to its penchant to also practice racism and religious bigotry. No court in Malaysia will sit in judgment on these matters. If and when it does, judgment almost always never comes in a hurry, if at all.

Islamic groups — financed by taxpayers and ideologically supported by UMNO, an exclusively Malay-Muslim political party — engage in body and identity snatching: recurring episodes of forced, surreptitious and illegal conversions of non-Muslims to Islam.

Their blackguard actions are soiled in the politics of Islamising the country for purely desperate politically reasons. The greater the Muslim base of Malaysia’s 30 million population, the better the chance of the right wing UMNO continuing to rule Malaysia under false pretenses.

Not that the regime-pliant judiciary would dare preside against the illegalities of the 2013 general elections that clearly depicted UMNO’s fraud, led by Najib. Since 2014, Malaysia’s Federal and Appeals courts have deferred the decision to declare the 2013 poll null and void to the Registrar of Societies. ROS is answerable only to the home minister, a draconian character. In historical terms ROS augments UMNO’s autocratic rule and electoral fraud alongside the regime’s handpicked Election Commission.

Ruling politicians are accorded the same treatment by Malaysia’s ‘laws’, and at a much higher level: they are effectively untouchable. Like all former Inspector-Generals of Police, the current IGP is not a public servant but a puppet of UMNO, whom he and his police force, debauchedly corrupt, protect, come hell or high water. It makes lighter work for Malaysia’s judges.

Mahathir Mohamad-2014

In his time as Prime Minister (1981-2003) Dr Mahathir did his darnedest to destroy the constitution and substantively reduce the position of Malaysia’s monarchs. They are today voiceless, powerless, and were happy to become a despotic class. To the extent that Mahathir for the most part hid behind his repressive laws and the malleable judiciary, Najib has been doing likewise in his bid to stifle popular dissent and the potential for mass revolt.

Murdered Mongolian ex-model Altantuyaa.

Najib has learnt well from his mentor. Mahathir’s political cretins, in the Gramscian vernacular, have gotten away with some of the worst graft accusations, mostly via their business cronies. Najib and perennially bungling ministers and senior bureaucrats know they need never fear fronting a Malaysian judge. So much so, the rort has continued like an unbridled market for lecherous grubbiness.

Najib has never been before a judge for all the scandals that have erupted under his charge as either a minister in other portfolios, and as prime minister and finance minister since March 2009. His name continues to be linked to the cold-blooded murder of 28-year-old Altantunya Shaariibuu, the Mongolian model and translator in the scandalous Scorpene submarines deal when Najib was defense minister.

To be sure, Najib is most unlikely to be indicted, despite the fact that there is sufficient evidence to, at the very least, raise the possibility if not probability of corruption and electoral fraud. After all, laws in Malaysia are severely asymmetrical and deeply prejudiced. Malaysian laws serve to dispense immediate justice on behalf of its political masters, advance their self-interests as well as those of the filthy-rich class of Malaysians with direct political connections.

There is literally no dispensation or indeed chance of dispensation of credibly proper and full justice against UMNO-BN chieftains and or their business cronies regardless of the existence of irrefutable evidence of various illegalities in their depraved wealth accumulation.

This situation is not helped when the IGP refuses to investigate any of them but is happy to make chronically ill-thought political judgments on behalf of his puppet masters. His investigatory judgments based in law are non-existent.

It is also not helped by the current attorney-general, whose job description is scarcely dissimilar to the IGP’s; the foremost protection of the odiously corrupt, deceitful and treacherous UMNO-BN regime.

UMNO ministers have crawled out of their hiding holes to state and restate with hyena-like frequency that Najib is not legally bound to step down, even as various investigations into his alleged corruption proceed apace. Or that he need not step down at all because he has not broken the law.

The second claim is true — so far, and up to a point. The first one, though, is born of heightened scandalous stupidity. At stake are the names of the offices of prime minister and finance minister and of the country (already damaged goods).

Malaysia is almost wholly dependent on international financial markets, international investors, and international trade for its national income, where the budget deficit is inching up, the current account is narrowing by the month, where unemployment is rising, and where domestic and international capital flight could whack the economy sideways and backwards.

But never mind, just as long as patron Najib, UMNO-BN politicians and their cronies and nepotists remain above Malaysia’s spineless laws. They need not worry in any case: there are no laws in Malaysia to speak of in the first place.

Manjit Bhatia is head of research at AsiaRisk, an economic and political risk consultancy firm.

Gani Patail, Abu Kassim and Gang told to file defence by July 6, 2015

June 30, 2015

Gani Patail, Abu Kassim and 9 others given another 7 days to file their defence


 Lawyer Rosli Dahlan has given Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, Tan Sri Abu Kassim and 9 others who are facing a suit for abuse of power and malicious prosecution, another week to file their defence despite they having missed the court’s deadline.

Rosli’s lawyer Parvinder Kaur Cheema, said her client only gave the defendants a week, instead of two weeks as requested by Gani’s lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham. “The defendants must now file their defence by July 6 following the extended deadline as agreed by both parties,” she told The Malaysian Insider.

On May 28, High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera instructed Gani and the rest of the defendants to file their defence within 30 days so that trial could proceed.The judge had also fixed the next case management on July 29

Parvinder said the deadline for the defendants would have expired yesterday. She said Abraham had made a verbal request that the plaintiffs gave them more time since he and his team were moving to set up their own legal firm.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the senior lawyer, formerly with Zul Rafique & Partners, would begin operating his own legal firm sometime in mid-July with a group of lawyers.


Rosli and former Commercial Crime Investigation Department chief Datuk Ramli Yusuf filed suits in November 2013 against Gani and the rest for, among others, alleged malicious prosecution over corruption charges.The courts have cleared them of the charges.

In a landmark ruling in April last year, Vazeer Alam dismissed the application to strike out Rosli and Ramli’s suit, saying the matter must go to trial. Vazeer Alam had remarked that the A-G, who holds public office, cannot escape suits when they involve allegations of abuse of power.

“I am afraid that the notion of absolute immunity for a public servant, even when mala fide or abuse of power in the exercise of their prosecutorial power is alleged, is anathema to modern day notions of accountability,” Vazeer Alam had said.

Both Rosli and Ramli are now claiming damages to the tune of about RM176 million. Ramli, in his RM128.5 million suit, had also named former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and 10 others for wrongfully bringing two charges against him.

Rosli, in his suit, is claiming more than RM47 million for conspiring to arrest and charge him in court over an alleged failure to declare his assets. Rosli named Gani, Musa and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed in their personal capacities.

The lawyer alleged that Gani had a role in the malicious prosecution.On April 1, a three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Datuk Abdul Hamid Sultan, also dismissed the defendants’ appeal to strike out the suit.

The defendants then filed a leave application in the Federal Court on April 28 to appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling. Subsequently the defendants also filed an application to stay the High Court order which directed them (on May 28) to file their defence. However, proceedings in the apex court last week had been adjourned to a date to be fixed.

Malaysia’s Attorney-General and 10 others run to the Federal Court for cover

June 25, 2015

Malaysia’s Attorney-General  and 10 others run to the Federal Court for cover

by  V. Anbalagan–The Malaysian Insider

ganipatailAttorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and 10 others who are facing suits for abuse of power and malicious prosecution by a corporate lawyer and a retired police officer, will go to the Federal Court today in an attempt to delay filing their defence.

Court documents sighted by The Malaysian Insider revealed that the 10 defendants want the apex court to stay High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera’s order that the case goes to trial soon.

Gani and the other defendants had also filed a leave application at the Federal Court to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal on April 1, which had upheld Vazeer Alam’s ruling. A five-man Federal Court bench is scheduled to hear the stay and leave applications today.

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan and former PDRM’s Commercial Crime Investigation Director Datuk Ramli Yusuf are objecting to the applications as there were no special circumstances to stay Vazeer Alam’s instruction.

rosli-dahlan2Rosli Dahlan

Rosli (above) and Ramli are also contending that it has been 18 months since the A-G’s defence was supposed to have been filed and this latest move is just a delay tactic to frustrate their claim.

Rosli said he would have expected Gani and the rest to file their defence after both the High Court and Court of Appeal dismissed their move to strike out the suits. “The defendants had filed numerous applications to stall the suits from being disposed of expeditiously,” he told The Malaysian Insider.

On May 28, Vazeer Alam ordered Gani and the other defendants to file their defence within 30 days so that trial could proceed. Rosli and Ramli filed suits in November 2013 against Gani and the rest for, among other things, alleged malicious prosecution over corruption charges.

The courts have cleared them of the charges. In a landmark ruling in April last year, Vazeer Alam dismissed the application to strike out Rosli and Ramli’s suit, saying the matter must go to trial.

Vazeer Alam had remarked that the A-G, who holds public office, cannot escape suits when they involve allegations of abuse of power.

ag-not-above-the-law“I am afraid that the notion of absolute immunity for a public servant, even when mala fide or abuse of power in the exercise of their prosecutorial power is alleged, is anathema to modern day notions of accountability,” Vazeer Alam said.

Vazeer Alam in his ruling had also said he agreed that deliberate abuse of power by those holding public office was misfeasance.

“Such a torturous act can arise when an officer actuated by malice, for example, by personal spite or a desire to injure for improper reasons, abuses his power. This is in keeping with developments in modern jurisprudence that absolute immunity for public servants has no place in a progressive democratic society,” he added.

A Greek PhilosopherBoth Rosli and Ramli are now claiming damages to the tune of about RM176 million.Ramli, in his RM128.5 million suit, had also named former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan and 10 others for wrongfully bringing two charges against him.

Rosli, in his suit, is claiming more than RM47 million for conspiring to arrest and charge him in court over an alleged failure to declare his assets. Rosli named Gani, Musa and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed in their personal capacities.

The lawyer alleged that Gani had a role in the malicious prosecution. On April 1, a three-member Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Datuk Abdul Hamid Sultan, also dismissed the defendants’ appeal to strike out the suit.

TS Abu KassimThe defendants then filed a leave application in the Federal Court on April 28 to appeal against the Court of Appeal ruling. Subsequently the defendants also filed an application to stay the High Court order which directed them (on May 28) to file their defence.

This case is also connected with the on-going trial before High Court judge Su Geok Yim where Rosli has filed a conspiracy and defamation suit against MACC and 12 others officials.

The Nik Raina Case: Time for JAWI to end its Persecution

June 24, 2015

The Nik Raina Case: Time for JAWI to end its Persecution

by Mark Clements@

Nik Raina wins

When then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that Malaysia was already an Islamic state, alarm bells immediately sounded, yet no one could have imagined the consequences of such a declaration.

It was September 29, 2001, at Gerakan’s 30th national delegates conference, when he boldly said –

“UMNO wishes to state loudly that Malaysia is an Islamic country.Thinks, says Mahathir This is based on the opinion of ulamaks who had clarified what constituted as an Islamic country. If Malaysia is not an Islamic country because it does not implement the hudud, then there are no Islamic countries in the world.

“If UMNO says that Malaysia is an Islamic country, it is because in an Islamic country non-Muslims have specific rights. This is in line with the teachings of Islam. There is no compulsion in Islam. And Islam does not like chaos that may come about if Islamic laws are enforced on non-Muslims.”

Almost immediately, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the then spiritual leader of PAS, issued the following riposte –

“You can talk all you want. You can declare a piece of wood to be gold, or a wheelbarrow as a Mercedes, but in reality, nothing has changed.

For us, an Islamic country is one which is governed according to the tenets of the Quran and Hadith. Malaysia is a secular State. If the present Malaysia is already an Islamic state, then what do you call the state ruled by Prophet Muhammed and his friends?”

In a nutshell, Mahathir was arguing that Malaysia could interweave Islamic principles into the fabric of Malaysian life without the need to introduce hudud law, and without enforcing such laws on non-Muslims. Or in more current terminology, in moderation. Nik Aziz, however, took the opposite view.

Over the course of time the ever increasing infusion of Islamic principles into the public sphere led to two judicial systems taking root in the country, one governing civil law, and the other, syariah.

Those two streams of justice were never intended to meet, withjamil-khir-baharom syariah meant to only cover personal law relating to Muslims – until, of course, the Kelantan State Assembly passed its hudud enactment in March this year. But that is a discussion for another occasion.

Even in the sphere of personal law, these streams could not be kept apart. Until today, conversion and renunciation cases and inter-religious divorce and custody battles rage on unabated.

Muslim civil judges appear sometimes in a quandary when confronted with issues affecting the tenets of their own faith. In the ‘Allah’ case, for example, the train of thought of some of the judges appeared to begin from the premise of their personal faith, rather than the Federal Constitution.

In other cases, judges have been known to shy away from exercising civil jurisdiction if the cases before them showed any hint of Islamic law, often leaving disputing parties without proper resolution.

The latest manifestation of the two streams of justice mingling with unfortunate consequences has been in the case of the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department’s (JAWI) pursuit of Borders Bookstore manager Nik Raina Nik Abdul Aziz.

In May 2012, Nik Raina was charged by JAWI under Section 13(1) of the Syariah Criminal Offences (Federal Territory) Act for allegedly selling a book that defiled Islam.

Absurdly, the facts showed that the book in question, Irshad Manji’s “Allah, Liberty and Love,” had not been banned or prohibited by the Ministry of Home Affairs or by any other religious authority at the time she was charged.

That ban only came three weeks later, presumably to justify her prosecution.

Concluding that she was charged simply because she was a Muslim and because JAWI could neither exercise jurisdiction over her employer nor her non-Muslim supervisor, the civil Court of Appeal found that the proceedings against her were “unreasonable”, “irrational” and offended “the principle of fairness and justice.”

Taking the cue from that decision, the Shariah High Court discharged Nik Raina.

One would have thought that the matter would end there, but JAWI was unrelenting. It pursued an appeal to the Shariah Appeals Court against the Shariah High Court’s decision!

Rosli-DahlanIt seems that it was only after her counsel Rosli Dahlan threatened contempt proceedings against JAWI that they relented and filed a notice to withdraw the appeal.

Elation and relief which followed, however, were short-lived and quickly replaced by anxiety and despair when the Shariah Court Registry fixed the withdrawal application for hearing on June 23.

To add unnecessary drama, Nik Raina’s lawyer was informed on the morning of the hearing that he would not be permitted to appear on her behalf unless he filed a fresh certificate of legal representation (wakalah). He eventually did, at the eleventh hour!

Thankfully, in the end, sanity was restored when the Federal Territory Shariah Court of Appeal, comprising Syariah Judges Yusup Che Teh, Hussin Harun and Aidi Mokhtar endorsed JAWI’s withdrawal of the criminal appeal and struck out the charge against her.

Yet, all is not well just because it ends well.

A teary-eyed Nik Raina lamented the three years of victimization she suffered at the hands of over-zealous officers from the religious department.

“Every time I was asked to sit in the dock, I felt like a common criminal. I felt so sad. I could not understand what wrong I had done. My family also suffered much shame and humiliation,” she sobbed.

She was grateful, though, for the outpouring of support she received. “I am proud that right thinking Malaysians, Muslims and non-Muslims, rallied behind me,” she said. “Malaysians have not lost their sense of right and wrong. They knew JAWI did me wrong.”

“JAWI’s actions give Islam a bad name not only here but internationally,” she goes on to say.

“Borders Bookstore provides a wholesome career to those who love Irshad Manji's bookbooks and knowledge. We even take interns during holidays. If this can happen parents will be afraid, and employers will be reluctant to hire Muslims.” “What good does that do for Malays,” she asks.

“I appeal to JAWI not to proceed with their leave application to appeal to the Federal Court. Please let this be the last time that I have to come to court, please, I beg you,” she pleads to listening reporters.

“JAWI cannot act arbitrarily and violate the Federal Constitution and the Rule of Law. Religious agencies should not do anything that will disrupt our multiracial, multi-religious and multicultural society. Civil and syariah laws can co-exist if interpreted harmoniously and by the authorities ensuring that they do not deliberately take advantage of any conflict of laws or other kinds of conflicts that may come into play,” he says.

Malaysia’s laws must be interpreted justly, harmoniously and with absolute clarity. The simple argument is that the Federal Constitution is the supreme law, and laws passed by Parliament and state assemblies are subordinate to it.

“Syariah courts cannot be ranked the same as the civil court as (these) religious courts are established by state laws,” retired Federal Court Judge Gopal Sri Ram was quoted as saying last year, adding that Parliament and the State Assemblies have no power to enact laws which are in conflict with the Federal Constitution.

The principle appears simple, clear and correct.Yet, are our judges brave enough to uphold it? They would do well to heed the words of former Lord President Salleh Abas, who once wrote, “[W]e have to set aside our personal feelings because the law in this country is still what it is today, secular law, where morality not accepted by the law is not enjoying the status of law.”

Nik Raina’s ordeal is not yet over. The Federal Court is due to hear JAWI’s application for leave to appeal from the decision of the civil Court of Appeal. Common sense dictates that they will withdraw it. But will common sense prevail?

Get serious about fighting corruption

June 24, 2015


READ THIS by DAP Senator Tunku A. Aziz:

One lesson we should never ever forget is that politicians as a breed are pathological liars. There are naturally one or two who are reliable and decent.But seriously, you would probably be better off trusting a cat with a plate of fried fish. Opposition politicians are no exception to this universal truth. So keep an eagle eye on them too, including me, just to be on the safe side.–Tunku A. Aziz (2011)

Corruption exists because people vested with power can act with impunity. Our system of governance breeds little Napoleons and big ones and rapacious rent seekers at all levels. Only the little ones are charged and punished. We as citizens are forced to bribe to get anything done.

Therefore we need a total revamp of our public administration and make politicians in power and public officials accountable for their actions. An all-powerful Executive Branch is unacceptable. Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely (Lord Acton). Our present system is rotten.

Gani Patail 2Attorney-General with Power without Accountability

For example, we have to take a critical look at Article 145 of the constitution to ensure that the power of the Attorney-General is subject to oversight by a constitutional court. At present, he has “the power, exercisable at his discretion, to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah court, a native court or a court-martial”[ art. 145 (3)]. The Attorney-General has security of tenure since he cannot “…be removed from office except on the like grounds and in the like manner as a judge of the Federal Court”. [art.145(6)]

But we should not act on a piecemeal basis. In stead, we should  establish a Royal Commission to review our Constitution and make appropriate recommendations. We need a system of public administration that is open, transparent and accountable.

At the same time we must ensure that no party or coalition is given two-thirds majority to enable it to amend the constitution ever again. For that to happen we must have electoral reforms to ensure free and fair elections supervised by a truly independent Elections Commission. So back to the Constitution, and why not.–Din Merican

 Get serious about fighting corruption

by Wan Saiful Wan

We must separate the roles of the Attorney-General as legal advisor to the Government and Public Prosecutor who prosecutes cases in court.

IT has become fashionable for critics to express dissatisfaction every time the Auditor-General presents his report to Parliament. So when the second report this year was tabled on June 15, the reaction was generally expected.

But the reaction from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed is particularly important. Nur Jazlan, who is also Ideas’ Council member this time, says that he is disappointed with the performance of many Government agencies because they have failed to improve.

Nur JazlanPAC Chairman Nur Jazlan

He also said that not long ago he praised Government officials for showing improvements every time the Auditor-General’s report is published. But he felt compelled to retract that praise because this time it was particularly bad.

He went on to say that many of the problems originate from the attitude of civil servants. Apparently the quality of our civil servants has deteriorated, and they don’t even bother to read the rules.

When the PAC Chairman makes such a bold statement, you know that there is something really wrong in the way civil servants manage our money. It is ironic that the Prime Minister recently announced a bonus for our civil servants despite such abysmal indictment.

Under Nur Jazlan, the PAC has been doing a much better job in identifying weaknesses in Government machinery and in demanding accountability. In fact, thanks to the PAC, the public now knows about the risk posed by Pembinaan PFI Sdn Bhd, a Government-linked company that has one of the biggest liabilities among Malaysia’s GLCs. The company has been off the audit radar for almost 10 years, despite the large amount of debt that it has accumulated.

The work of bodies like the PAC is important in our push for better governance in the country. The issues the PAC looks into are not necessarily about corruption.Their responsibility is wider, covering also problems such as leakages and failure to adhere to published policies and procedures.

Fighting corruption, on the other hand, is more commonly associated with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). I am still waiting to see if the MACC would act on a recent admission by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that a Special Branch report found that around 80% of our border enforcement officers are involved in corruption.

Nevertheless, I am very aware that even if the MACC were to start an investigation, that is only half of the journey. The other half lies outside of the MACC’s jurisdiction, and that is the prosecution of corruption cases.

TS Abu KassimTan Sri Abu Kassim of MACC

Our system is designed in such a way that the MACC, just like the Police, can only investigate and not prosecute. Prosecution is the sole discretion of the Attorney-General, who doubles up as our Public Prosecutor.

I have no problem with the MACC not having the power to prosecute. In fact, I think it is right to keep prosecutorial powers away from the investigation agency. Back in 2012, we at IDEAS looked into this issue and compared the experience of Indonesia and Hong Kong in fighting corruption.

We published the findings in July 2012 and concluded that it really does not matter whether or not the MACC has prosecution power. Instead, what is most important is the integrity of the Judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Office.

Any effort to improve the quality of MACC, therefore, will have to be accompanied by reform in both the judiciary and the Attorney-General’s Office. Focusing on the MACC alone is not sufficient.

If we want to see a more effective fight against corruption we must separate the roles of the Attorney-General as legal advisor to the Government and Public Prosecutor who prosecutes cases in court.

Let me justify that with a simple analogy using the case of the allegedly corrupt border enforcement officers.Let’s say the MACC do investigate the allegation and find that the problem runs all the way up to Ministerial level.

The MACC then passes the files to the Attorney-General. How much confidence do we have that the Attorney-General will prosecute his friends in Cabinet? It is obvious that as legal advisor to the Government, he is conflicted. How can he prosecute the very party he is supposed to advise?

There are actually many more proposals to improve the MACC that deserve public attention. If you are interested in this topic, I suggest you search for reports published by the Special Committee on Corruption now chaired by Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang. This bipartisan committee, whose membership consists of members of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara, regularly comes up with some very good ideas.

One of those ideas is for the MACC to be given independence in recruiting their own officers. This suggestion has been mooted since 2010 and it makes a lot of sense. To be truly independent, MACC cannot continue to be dependent on seconded staff from the Public Service Commission, because this creates a conflict of loyalty.

But unfortunately, this idea has not received the attention that it deserves from the Government. There are times when I ask myself if our Ministers are really serious in the fight against corruption. For if they are really serious, why are they ignoring sensible ideas coming from a committee whose membership is from among their own colleagues?

Don’t they realise that the longer they choose to do nothing, the more people will feel that they have things to hide?

Wan Saiful Wan Jan is Chief Executive of the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (

Rosli Dahlan Vs MACC: MACC Witnesses contradict each other

June 10, 2015

COMMENT: I have been following and writing about the cases of Dato Ramli and his brilliant and Din Merican Newgutsy lawyer Rosli Dahlan over several years. What emerges from their battles with the MACC and the Attorney-General via our courts confirms that the culture of impunity is deeply entrenched in our system of governance.

Both these organizations feel that they can use their power without accountability to punish citizens at will. Most Malaysians suffer in silence but not Rosli Dahlan and his client, Dato Ramli Yusuff.They went to our courts and won but only at a huge cost in terms of time attending court sessions, emotional pain and stress, and  money.

I once asked Lawyer Rosli why he had to go after both MACC Chief Abu Kassim and Attorney-General Gani Patail now. He told me that he was delighted to have been cleared by the courts of those charges. He said that he wanted to redeem his professional reputation and personal integrity since both Abu Kassim and Gani Patail were responsible for dragging him needlessly to court in the first place. Then I said, mala fide? But Rosli did not respond. I suppose that is for the courts to decide.

The MACC Chief Commissioner and the Attorney-General do not  respect our courts. Their staff too are arrogant  and having sworn to tell  “the truth nothing but the whole truth”  they had the audacity to lie and contradict each other before the esteemed judge during testimony yesterday.

Even the findings of the Royal Commissions like those concerning the death of Teoh Beng Hock, the V K Lingam Correct, Correct video tape and Project IC (Sabah) can be put aside. They believe that nothing can happen to them. They think that they will not be punished for serving their political masters to silence dissent and  put the fear of God in citizens who are defending their fundamental rights and seeking justice from our courts. They have shown that they are prepared to drag cases through various levels of our justice system since  they have taxpayers’ money to underwrite their legal costs whereas victims of their irresponsible actions have to use their hard earned savings, or mortgage or sell their houses to defray court and legal expenses.

Their purpose is clear and that is they do not care if they lose their cases. They want put ordinary law abiding citizens through public humiliation and emotional hell so that we all can be cowed. We are fortunate have people like Rosli Dahlan and Dato’Ramli Yusuff who have the courage and stamina to defend their dignity and personal integrity, and seek justice.–Din Merican

Rosli Dahlan Vs MACC: MACC Witnesses contradict each other

FMT Reporters


The third day of the defence case in the court battle between lawyer Rosli Dahlan and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) continued today with defence witnesses making substantial concessions and appearing to contradict each other under cross-examination.

Taking the witness stand first, investigating officer Azmi Ismail began by denying knowledge of the case by answering “I don’t know” to a series of questions posed to him by Rosli’s counsel, Chetan Jethwani and Parvinder Kaur.

Chetan then pointed out to him that he was in fact the officer who effected service of the notice on Rosli and also the one who lodged a report against ex-Commercial Crimes Investigation Department chief Ramli Yusuff.

At this, his answers appeared to change to “I cannot remember” at one point, incurring a rebuke from presiding Judge Su Geok Yiam when he claimed not to know the circumstances surrounding the service of notice on Rosli.

Intense cross-examination of witnesses

The intense cross-examination which followed, however, appeared to yield several concessions and contradictions.

Azmi eventually admitted being aware that the cases between Rosli and Ramli were inter-connected and that Rosli was in actual fact merely a witness and not a suspect in the case.

He also admitted to being the officer who investigated allegations of corruption made against Ramli in 2007 although that had been “only for a while.”

When Chetan pressed him as to what he meant, Azmi replied, “I had recorded statements from three witnesses.”

“What did they say,” Chetan asked.

“They admitted they did not know Ramli and they never gave him bribes,” Azmi told the Court.

“Did you state these in your investigation papers,” Chetan asked further.

“Yes,” Azmi replied.

“Thereafter, I was asked to hand over my investigation papers to Saiful and I was taken off the case,” he said.

“I did not get involved anymore and don’t know what happened,” he added. “So, I don’t know much about the notice case.”

When asked where the witnesses were from, Azmi replied, “Perak,” adding, however, that he could not remember their names.

(In proceedings earlier this week, former MACC prosecutor Kevin Anthony Morais had alleged that notices had been issued to Ramli because there was information that Ramli had received bribes. Similarly, investigating officer Saiful Ezral Arifin had testified that MACC were in possession of witness statements containing allegations of bribery involving Ramli.)

Azmi went on to admit that during his time as the investigating officer in Ramli’s case he had never met, let alone interviewed, Moo Sai Chin.

He also testified that Moo had become untraceable after having implicated Ramli.

Azmi also told the court that investigating officers for the case had been specially selected, and that he had been instructed by his superiors to stand down, contradicting Saiful’s earlier testimony that the choice was random.

He also conceded that Rosli had been friendly and cooperative with him, even to the extent of sharing a meal when he attended to serve the notice on Rosli.

Azmi also told the court that an investigating officer will know when a suspect or witness in his case was arrested, contradicting Saiful’s testimony yesterday that he had no knowledge of Rosli’s arrest because he had been on leave.

Admitting that in the usual course a suspect would be released on bail after all formalities had been completed, Azmi told the court that the decision to charge Rosli, and the timing of his arrest, had been made by his superiors.

Rosli’s arrest as an “operation”

The next witness to take the stand for MACC was Augustine Manson who surprised observers by describing Rosli’s arrest as an “operation”.

Augustine, however, floundered several times when asked to identify which officer instructed the arrest, even contradicting his own witness statement.

Asked whether the answer in his witness statement was wrong, Augustine replied, “I don’t know. Can I explain? I was just instructed to participate in the ‘operation’.”

“Oh, so Rosli’s arrest was an ‘operation’, Chetan asked.

“Yes”, Augustine replied.

Augustine then sought to refer to an investigation diary which he claimed to have kept, detailing the arrest and the need to subdue him on account of his violent reaction.

“Do you agree you never mentioned about this diary in your witness statement or anywhere before,” Chetan asked.

“Yes, but I have it and can show it,” Augustine replied, forcing Chetan to apply to inspect the diary over the lunch break.

The afternoon’s proceedings then took an interesting turn with Chetan attempting to show that the diary had not been made contemporaneously with the event of the arrest.

Chetan: This morning you stated that from MACC HQ you went straight to Rosli’s office where Rosli was violent. Are you sure?

Augustine: Yes

Chetan: Now look at the entry in your ID which states that you left MACC HQ and went to Tropicana, and not to his office.

Augustine: Yes.

Chetan: This is different from your testimony this morning.

Augustine: Yes.

Chetan: So, which is true?

Augustine: This morning I was wrong.

When Chetan pointed out that the visit to Tropicana was not stated in Augustine’s witness statement, Augustine replied, “Yes, witness statement and this morning not correct.”

Chetan: Do you know how far these places are from each other?

Augustine: Sorry, I am from Sarawak and only 1 year in KL, I don’t know these places well!

Chetan then sought to establish various other contradictions in the diary, including Augustine’s claim that the house which he went to was occupied by a Chinese family, pointing out that Rosli’s identity card bore its address.

“I can’t blame you for not knowing where you went, since you had just come from Sarawak then and because you said that you just followed Moses.”

The court then burst into laughter when someone in the gallery was heard saying, “Hopefully, he didn’t follow Moses across the Red Sea!”

Augustine brought more laughter upon himself when he sought to explain the proper way to make an arrest and to apply handcuffs, only to later admit that he has never administered handcuffs on suspects himself.

After a brief re-examination by MACC’s counsel Rishwant Singh, proceedings for the day ended with Justice Su noting that both sides appeared battle weary.

Their battle resumes tomorrow.