Rosli Dahlan: I was just collateral damage in elimination of Dato Ramli Yusuff

April 9, 2015

Rosli Dahlan: I was just collateral damage in elimination of Dato Ramli Yusuff

by FMT (April 8, 2015)

Lawyer Rosli Dahlan testifies in case against MACC for conspiracy to injure his reputation as well as his wrongful arrest.

KUALA LUMPUR: Lawyer Rosli Dahlan yesterday told the High Court that his relationship withRosli Dahlan (new) former Director of Commercial Crimes Investigation Department (CCID) Ramli Bin Yusuff was the reason for what he alleged was a conspiracy to injure his reputation.

“Dato’ Ramli was my former classmate from my days in the International Islamic University. We are friends,” Rosli said in his witness statement which was tendered in court yesterday.

He was testifying in a case which he had commenced against 17 defendants including Utusan Malaysia, its editors and journalists, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and several of its officers including its current chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed, and the Government of Malaysia.

The suit involved claims by Rosli for defamation by Utusan as well as assault and false imprisonment against MACC and the Government of Malaysia.

On Monday, FMT reported that Utusan had tendered a grovelling public apology to Rosli for a defamatory article which it had written about him in 2007.

“I believe that the defendants, in particular, the 5th and 6th defendants targeted me because I was advising Dato’ Ramli who was targeted to be eliminated by the then Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Musa Hassan,” Rosli alleged.

Claiming that Ramli was Musa’s superior at the time of Anwar Ibrahim’s infamous “black eye” incident, he said that Ramli was thereafter perceived as a supporter of Anwar because he had prevented Anwar’s assault and provided him with medical treatment.

“After that incident, Dato’ Ramli was mistrusted and his career stalled. Tan Sri Musa had a mercurial rise and became the Inspector-General of Police,” he added.

He told the Court that Musa had formed an alliance with current Attorney General Gani Patail and Nordin Hassan, the then head of prosecution at the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA).

“All three were key players in Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s prosecution in the first sodomy trial,” he added.

He narrated various incidents which he thought were at the heart of Musa’s enmity with Ramli, including a dispute as to whether the previous management of Malaysian Airlines ought to be prosecuted for financial mismanagement – which Gani was reluctant to do – and the alleged discovery by CCID of links between Musa and a known criminal.

In one instance involving a habeas corpus application the Attorney General had purportedly refused to prepare affidavits on behalf of Ramli’s men, leading to Rosli and his co-counsel C Vijaya Kumar having to take on the task.

“Even the Deputy Minister of Internal Security sought my assistance to prepare his affidavit,” he said.

He said that this eventually led to stories starting to circulate identifying Ramli as a corrupt senior police officer.

Rosli related how Ramli had sought legal advice from him in 2007 in respect of several matters, including an investigation into how Ramli had purportedly acquired assets.

According to his testimony, he was eventually served with two notices under the Anti-Corruption Act, 1997 identifying him as an “associate” of Ramli and requiring him to disclose assets. He said, however, that he was unable to comply with the notices because he was unsure whether they required him to disclose his own assets or assets he held for Ramli.

“Given the vagueness of the Notices and that I was not entirely clear how I was being described as an ‘associate’ and being mindful of my obligations as a solicitor, I prepared a statutory declaration that dealt with my disclosures vis–à–vis Dato’ Ramli. However, I specifically pointed out that I took the view that the Notices that had been served on me were defective and issued in bad faith. I also offered in my statutory declaration to provide any further assistance that was necessary,” his witness statement read.

Rosli testified that on the eve of Hari Raya in 2007, an ACA Officer visited him and asked him to present himself at the ACA office to give a statement.

“I told him that since it was just a matter of recording a statement, I would be able to come the following Thursday as I was about to go on leave for Hari Raya. He agreed with my suggestion and left,” Rosli said.

“After lunch I went back to my office. Shortly thereafter, while I was doing work, I was shocked to see several men barging into my room.”

“They said they were from the ACA and wanted to arrest me.[One] then took out a pair of handcuffs and said he needed to handcuff me. He started playing with his handcuffs to intimidate me.The ACA officers twisted my left arm and my right wrist and handcuffed me so tightly that my right wrist began to bleed as it was tightened to the bone.”

He said that he was then brought me to the ACA’s headquarters in Putrajaya.“I was taken to an underground office where the cells were located. It was only when I got there, that I was served with a notice telling me that I was arrested. I was then stripped of my belt, my shoes and my other personal belongings and placed in one of the cells,” he elaborated.

He was charged the following day.

Claiming that he was marched from the open car park of the courthouse and through its corridors while handcuffed, he added, “It was evident that the ACA officers wanted the horde of pressmen and photographers to publish pictures of me in handcuffs.”

Abu Kassim

He said immediately upon his acquittal of the charge, the Attorney-General announced that he would prefer an appeal. He told the Court that, shortly thereafter, the MACC tried to secure the discontinuance of this action by using the appeal from his acquittal as a bargaining chip.

“I realised that what he wanted was merely for me to withdraw this action and he was using the appeal to secure that objective,” he testified. “I felt nauseous at such Machiavellian conduct,” he added.

He said the entire episode left a deep scar on his reputation, claiming that some of the clients whom he serviced “raised concerns” and had to be placated by his partner. “I had to work very hard to ensure that I did not lose all the clients that I had built up over the years.”

The hearing continued today before Justice Su Geok Yiam.

The Altantuya Murder–The Missing Links

April 8, 2015

The Altantuya Murder–The Missing Links

by Americk Singh

This is the first time in 34 years I have actually found myself in agreement with former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his recent, although rather belated, queries in respect of the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder saga. These questions make sense. These are the same questions a very large portion of the Malaysian population has been asking for over eight years now (since 2006).

Khalid Abu Bakar, our beloved Inspector-General of Police (IGP), has in the meantime, been performing backward somersaults trying to avoid the entire issue and instead, appears to have dedicated his entire career to tracking Twitter messages on social media.

‘Twitter Khalid’ has even had the audacity to threaten (which he is very good at) anyone who dares to bring up the issue of ‘motive’ in the grisly murder of an innocent female foreign national at the hands of two of Malaysia’s best trained commandos.

The excuse Khalid has given is that the Federal Court has made a decision and any questioning of the reasons behind that decision would be tantamount to contempt of court. What Khalid has failed miserably to appreciate is the fact that no one is ‘questioning’ that decision. Everyone agrees the decision is correct.

However, it is the question of motive which has never been addressed in any of the three courts this murder trial has progressed through. In fact, evidence in respect of motive was never tendered by the prosecution.

Therefore, as far as Mahathir and I)are concerned, it is still open season on motive. So instead of terrorising twitterers, perhaps Khalid may see fit to revisit this issue with a little more fervour than he has shown in the past.

Despite the press releases being launched from the IGP’s Office, none of them detract from the fact that convicted murderer Sirul Azhar Umar has categorically said no officer from the Polis Di-Raja Malaysia (PDRM) has visited him in Sydney to interview him.

If Khalid disputes this, all he has to do is release the names of those officers who ostensibly attended to Sirul and the exact date and time they clocked in with the detention centre authorities. Inspector Tonny Luggan (the investigating officer in Altantuya’s case) says he was not sent to see Sirul in Sydney, so who was?

Khalid is also reported to have said that “Sirul’s remark showed the fugitive was doing his utmost to bring disrepute and cast doubt over the investigations into the murder case, his involvement and the criminal justice system”.

Yes. That is correct, because it is obvious to everyone that your investigations are incomplete. As the current series of events appear to translate, Sirul is not disputing his involvement in the murder. All he is saying is that others were involved and they haven’t been brought to book so why should he take the rap?

One need not have successfully completed an in-depth course in criminal investigation at Pulapol (Malaysian Police Training Centre) to be able to decipher the glaring holes in this entire saga.A cursory viewing of a couple of episodes of Miami Vice or CSI New York would suffice in providing a clue as to how the matter ought to have been professionally addressed.

The established facts

Azilah Hadri and Sirul have been convicted of the murder of Altantuya by the highest court in our land. This has therefore been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

In the circumstances, there can be no question that these two gentlemen were in fact responsible for lodging two bullets in this poor lady’s head and thereafter detonating some military grade explosives placed on her body causing it to be dissipated in the vicinity of some secondary jungle on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Sirul, who has, rather astutely, sought refuge at the Villawood detention centre on the outskirts of Sydney, has candidly admitted he was acting under orders and that he has been made a scapegoat for others who had not been brought to court. In other words, he has tacitly admitted to the crime and confirmed that there may have been others behind it.

The question is why would Sirul and Azilah (above) have done this for no apparent reason? The courts have been interested only in whether an offence of murder had been committed and not why it was committed.

The prosecution failed to seek or put forth an explanation. This is really the question which the IGP can provide an answer to if he is so inclined. He certainly has the resources. As long as he possesses the will, he most certainly will find the way.

Khalid, for goodness sake, please, just do your job. At the moment the general public perceive inactivity on your part as yet another ubiquitous and notorious Malaysian cover-up.May I suggest you simply haul up the following characters and ask them these simple questions:

Azilah Why did you and Sirul kill someone you didn’t even know?

DSP Musa Safri (above) (then aide de camp DPM Najib Razak) What exactly did you tell Sirul and Azilah to do to that poor Mongolian lady and who exactly asked you to engage their services?

Nasir Safar (Najib’s special officer) What were you doing driving around in front of Abdul Razak Baginda’s house on the evening of Oct 19, 2006, watching Azilah and Sirul abduct Altantuya?

PM Najib Did you know that four of your staff were involved in this? If so, then why were they?

Deepak Jaikishan (businessman with close ties to Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor Who asked you to shut private eye P Balasubramaniam up and get him and his family out of Malaysia immediately after he released SD1 (first statutory declaration)? (This should be easy as Deepak has already confessed to all of this).

Rosmah – Was it you? If not, then who?

Johari Razak (Najib’s younger brother) – Did you telephone senior lawyer Cecil Abraham on the evening of July 3, 2008 and ask him to prepare SD2 for Balasubramaniam to sign? If so why, and on whose behalf?

Cecil – Did you receive a telephone call from Johari Razak on July 3, 2008 to prepare SD2? If so, did you?

Sunil Abraham- (Cecil’s son, who is also a lawyer) – Did you or did you not, assist your father in preparing SD2 and did you then personally deliver it to the Hilton Hotel, KL Sentral on the morning of July 4, 2008?

Zainal Abidin Muhayat – Were you a commissioner for oaths in 2008 and did you have your office at Zul Rafique and Partners, Lorong P Ramlee, Kuala Lumpur? If so, who sent you to the Hilton Hotel, KL Sentral on July 4, 2008 to attest the signature of one Balasubramaniam on SD2?

Nazim Razak (another brother of Najib) – Were you and your wife at the Curve, Mutiara Damansara late in the night of July 3, 2008? If so did you meet one Balasubramaniam  next to the VW showroom?

And if so, did you or did you not, threaten Balasubramaniam to follow the instructions of one Deepak Jaikishan and leave the country with his family immediately, otherwise his family’s safety could not be guaranteed?

Najib – Did you instruct Johari and Nazim to arrange, respectively, for SD2 to be prepared and Balasubramaniam’s subsequent departure from Malaysia? If so, why was that necessary?

Hamzah Zainuddin (UMNO MP for Larut) – Did you, in 2011, offer Balasubramaniam safe passage back to this country and a cash inducement if he pleaded guilty to affirming a false statutory declaration (SD1). If so, why and on behalf of whom?

Khalid, may I also suggest that you contact a senior investigation officer from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) by the name of Abdul Rahman Bachok. He is a very diligent officer and has the entire file on investigations into the circumstances under which Balasubramaniam affirmed SD2. I am sure he will lend you his file and assist you in any way he can.

I believe he is a little annoyed that his file has been closed by the Attorney-General’s Chambers. He had put a lot of effort into his investigations.

You may also care to contact the Brickfields Police Station and ask them why they have not followed up on the Police report I lodged on July 8, 2008 in respect of Balasubramaniam’s disappearance. I have sent them reminders but there has been no response.

All the above ‘persons of interest’ and their answers to the questions posed may possibly assist in revealing a motive for the crime. Is there any reason why you, Mr IGP would be disinclined to pursue the matter further and if so what are those reasons?

AMERICK SIDHU is a senior lawyer and counsel for late P Balasubramaniam and his widow,  A Santamil Selvi.

Sirul Aziz accuses IGP Khalid Ashburn of Lying

April 4, 2015

Sirul Aziz accuses IGP Khalid Ashburn of Lying


Zunar on Khalid AshburnHow True, when you consider what he has been doing since becoming IGP

Sirul Azhar Umar has accused Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar of lying when the Police Chief said he sent his men to Australia to meet the fugitive.

Speaking to Malaysiakini at 2.30am Malaysian time today (5:30am Australian time), Sirul said he had trouble sleeping following the IGP’s remarks yesterday, which he described as irresponsible.

“Let me tell you, there were no officers or Police personnel who met me in Australia.He (IGP) is lying to the police force and lying to the public with his claims, and is trying to protect his boss,” Sirul said.

The IGP was reported in Bernama yesterday saying the Police had already met up with Sirul, who is currently under immigration detention in Australia, to gather information on all the allegations he had raised.

However, when asked if any Police had been sent to meet with Sirul, Deputy IGP Noar Rashid said he is in the dark. “Maybe IGP has the knowledge. I do not know, I focus on other things, these things are not within my knowledge,” he told Malaysiakini when met at University Technology Malaysia.

Sirul, on the phone with Malaysiakini, continued, “Certainly, if he cared for all his men, he would send someone (to investigate) but he did not.No one from the Police Force came to see me to investigate or ask about my welfare. I am alone here.”

‘IGP, open intelligence file’

altantuyaSirul, who along with Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri was convicted of murdering Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, could be heard crying on the other end of the line.

Both served as bodyguard to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, then Deputy Prime Minister, when the murder took place in 2006.

“If the Police and public want to know the truth, I challenge Khalid to open the ‘intelligence’ file,” Sirul retorted. The intelligence files that Sirul was referring to was the original statement he gave to Malaysian Intelligence Police – commonly referred to as the Special Branch – and the Police Criminal Investigation Department.

It was recorded when he was picked up by the Police and brought home from Pakistan, while accompanying then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

AzilahSirulThat intelligence statement was taken during investigations over Altantuya’s murder, along with his cautioned statement – widely referred to as his “confession” statement – by the Police Criminal Investigation Department.

The prosecution tried to tender the “confession” statement during the Shah Alam High Court trial but was rejected by Justice Mohd Zaki Yasin in a trial within a trial.

Sirul yesterday claimed the widely circulated “confession” statement – put up on the Internet – was false, as there there had been a lot of changes made on it. The IGP was also quoted by Bernama saying that Sirul had not revealed any new information, leaving the police with no grounds to launch a new probe.

“All allegations, including the latest, have been investigated and after examining the outcome of the investigation, we gather there is nothing for us to act further,” the IGP said in response to former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s suggestion that Sirul’s latest allegations be given attention.

Mum wants to meet Dr M

Mahathir, in a scathing blog post on Thursday, asked who had directed the killing of Altantuya following Sirul’s claims that he was merely following orders and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had rubbished such latest allegations.

“This is a human life. It would be very cruel for Sirul to die for just following orders,” Mahathir had said on the blog in reference to Malaysiakini‘s exclusive interview with Sirul.

Yesterday, PAS Information Chief Mahfuz Omar also contacted Sirul and told Malaysiakini the former police corporal was touched by what Mahathir had said. Mahfuz is also arranging for Sirul’s mother Piah Samat to meet the former Premier.

Mahfuz had last month brought Piah to meet Sirul at the Villawood detention facility in Sydney. Sirul was picked up by Australian authorities in Brisbane on January 22 following a red notice issued by Interpol.

The Federal Court upheld the murder conviction on Sirul and Azilah for Altantuya’s death on January 13, but Sirul had already left the country by then.

Why is A-G Gani Patail afraid to go to trial against Rosli Dahlan?

April 1, 2015

Why is A-G Gani Patail afraid to go to trial against Rosli Dahlan?

by Din Merican

Rosli Dahlan (new)This morning the Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal by Attorney-General Gani Patail and 10 others  against Lawyer Rosli Dahlan. The Court of Appeal found that the A-G’s appeal had no merits. For full reports on this, see various links below:

Previously, all the major newspapers  which were sued by Rosli had either apologised to him or were found liable by the Courts. The New Straits Times and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) were found guilty for defamation and were ordered to pay RM300,000.

What the lay public may not be aware is that all these appeals by A-G Gani Patail are merely tactical moves‎ called interlocutory applications to stall the trial. In a connected case filed in 2009 where Rosli sued the MACC Chief Commissioner and its officers, the MACC represented by the A-G’s  Chambers also avoided going to trial by striking out Rosli’s suit twice. Rosli appealed and the case was restored.

Gani, Musa and Abu KassimThis time around when A-G Gani Patail himself is sued as the first Defendant followed by former IGP Tan Sri Musa Hassan, MACC Chief Commissioner Tan Sri Abu  Kassim, Dato Nordin Hassan  and Dato  Razak Musa (MACC’s Director of Prosecution), A-G Gani Patail did not want to take chances. He did not trust the A-G Chambers to defend him. He did not trust the government’s lawyers to act for him. So, Gani hired an external lawyer. He hired senior lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham.

Tan Sri Cecil is a very expensive lawyer. He is the same lawyer implicated in the PI Bala Statutory Cecil AbrahamDeclaration case which the Bar Council is taking disciplinary action against. Another senior lawyer that the Bar Council is considering taking disciplinary action against is Tan Sri Shafee Abdullah who prosecuted Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal. It seems that A-G Gani Patail will appoint Shafee for difficult criminal cases and Cecil for difficult civil cases.

We the taxpayers can ask what is the point of having Gani as A-G then? But the more stark observation is why is the A-G, the MACC and the government being represented by lawyers who are the subject of disciplinary issues?

When a government agency like the MACC preaches about integrity, honesty and transparency, should not the government’s advisers and legal representatives also be of unquestionable character? That is an observation that most people have made and I am just voicing it out for our government leadership to ponder.

Coming back to the A-G’s  appeal that was dismissed this morning , the news reports also stated that cost of RM25,000 was ordered against the A-G. This seems like a strong rebuke by the Court of Appeal judges against the A-G for  hiring an external lawyer to defend him. What taxpayers want to know is  how much is Cecil being paid and whether A-G Gani Patail is footing the bill himself or whether the government, meaning us taxpayers, is underwriting the A-G’s legal cost?

If the AG-C had acted for them it would have been free, but I can’t imagine Cecil doing pro bono work for the government. Or is there some tradeoff where Cecil Abraham gets other government legal work at inflated fees. Is that not gratification? The MACC should investigate this.

The news reports also stated that Cecil asked the Court of Appeal to stay the proceedings and change the trial Judge at the High Court. Isn’t that an insult to the judicial system when the A-G himself is suggesting that the judge is not impartial?  We see private litigants saying that. But is it appropriate for the A-G to take that stand?

Against the accusation by Cecil Abraham against the trial judge, the Court of Appeal Judges namely Hamid  Sultan Abu Backer, George  Varghese and Vernon Ong  stated almost rebukingly to Cecil  that they had subjected the trial judge’s grounds of judgement to an acid test and found it to be reasonable.

I think it is terrible for Cecil to ask for a change of Judge just because the judge had ruled that A-G Gani Patail and other public authorities do not enjoy absolute immunity when they act maliciously against a private citizen. It seems to suggest that A-G Gani Patail will only accept if judges rule in his favor but will not accept when judges rule against him like in this case by Lawyer Rosli. I think the A-G being part of the judicial and legal service is undermining respect for the service by such actions. Not to mention he doesn’t trust the very department that he heads to defend him!

That brings me to the point of this whole exercise by the A-G– why is Gani Patail  afraid to go to trial against Lawyer Rosli Dahlan?

Anwar Ibrahim Ops LeaderWhen the Sodomy 2 charges were made against Anwar Ibrahim, the governmeny accused Anwar of being afraid to go to trial to prove his innocence just because  Anwar filed interlocutory applications. The AG-C and UMNO accused Anwar of delaying tactics and then rationalised that to mean that Anwar is guilty. Such easy deductions.

Thus, by the same logic, can we now say that A-G Gani Patail is filing all these interlocutories because he is afraid to go to trial.  And he is afraid to go to trial because he knows that Rosli is telling the truth. That Rosli was innocent all along and was victimized just because he defended Dato Ramli Yusuff.  Or is there something more that the A-G is fearful about  that will be disclosed in the trial – for example, Rosli’s allegations that Musa Hassan was working with the gambling syndicate or that Gani had consorted with questionable characters like Shahidan Shafee during Haj trips like how former Eusofe Chin went on holiday in New Zealand with VK Linggam?

There may be explosive revelations during the trial beginning April 6 before Judge Su Geok Yam where Rosli has sued the MACC and its officers for conspiracy to injure him. Perhaps A-G Gani Patail is afraid that the conspiracy will be revealed especially since all the newspapers have admitted that they were fed information by sources within MACC. Perhaps that is the reason A-G Gani Patail has engaged Cecil Abraham to block the trial from proceeding. There are just too many possibilities merely because the delaying tactics by A-G Gani Patail is perplexing.

I say to Gani Patail – stop all these tricks! Go to trial and prove your innocence. Don’t hide behind the cloak of immunity. Be a gentleman, fight fair and square. After all what is there to fear? Rosli is just a private lawyer without any political patronage nor any godfather backing him. He has faithfully fought all his legal  battles within the system and therefore Gani should face him squarely in court.

I say to all Malaysians let us pray for Rosli that he will get the justice that he deserves. In the face of the might of the whole establishment, he has stood unwaveringly by his faith and he has given us hope by the small victories that he has achieved thus far. The machinations by men cannot overcome the will of God.  Man proposes but God disposes.  Let us pray for Rosli on April 6 until the conclusion of his trial

Malaysia after Hudud: A Nation Divided

March 29, 2015

Malaysia after Hudud: A Nation Divided

By Zurairi AR and Boo Su-Lyn

No Hudud in MalaysiaTHIS?

Hudud has for the past two decades largely been treated as a mere fringe topic among Malaysians, a political hot potato tossed back and forth between local parties as they canvassed for Muslim votes during elections.

But last week, when the Kelantan legislative assembly passed amendments to its Shariah Criminal Code II enactment — dubbed the hudud Bill — the controversial Islamic penal code quickly became a legitimate public concern.

Now, if PAS, the Islamist party that governs Kelantan, next succeeds at the federal level in getting more legislative amendments approved, hudud, an Islamic punishment system under Shariah law, will be implemented for the first time in a Malaysian state.

Although the law would only be confined to Kelantan, it must be noted that PAS’s manoeuvre in Kelantan has already roused the ambitions of other Islamist groups and scholars who wish to see hudud sweep the country. All eyes are also on Terengganu, which had also passed a similar but still ungazetted enactment with hudud elements in 2002.

The ball is now in Parliament’s court, but analysts and observers are already warning that should hudud get implemented in other states, the Malaysia we know today will head towards an irreparable divide.

A legal system divided

Malaysia has always practised a dual-track legal system, although for the Muslims, legal disputes on family matters like marriage, divorce and inheritance, and the precepts of Islam, are dealt with under the Shariah law.

The implementation of hudud, however, will see the Shariah courts encroaching on offences already covered in the civil justice system, specifically the Penal Code. These include crimes like sariqah (theft) and hirabah (robbery). Hudud’s companion qisas, meanwhile will legislate the offence of murder, which is also already covered by civil law.

According to amendments in Kelantan’s hudud Bill, however, once enforced, hudud will only apply to Muslims. For example, a Muslim guilty of theft in Kelantan can be punished by amputation of his limbs, under Section 7 of the state’s hudud law.

But in the Penal Code, the same crime committed by a non-Muslim prescribes a maximum seven-year jail term or fine or both, according to Section 379 of the legislation.

The prospect of subjecting criminals to two different punishments for the same crime by virtue of their religious backgrounds, however, could prove complicated in a diverse nation like Malaysia, analysts said.

Hudud2OR THIS?

“How do you enforce this in a plural society? Of course it would lead to injustice between Muslims and non-Muslims, especially if the crime involves perpetrators of different religions,” political analyst Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Hassan said in a recent phone interview.

“I think this contradicts the principles of Islam, where there exists variations and injustice in the punishment for the same crime.” At the crux of the argument is the Federal Constitution, the supreme law of the country that is the bedrock of Malaysia’s foundation.

If hudud is to be implemented, it would mean that the Federal Constitution will have to be amended to legislate against crimes already under the Penal Code, said Nizam Bashir, who is both a constitutional and Shariah lawyer.

“What seems to be missing from the conversation at this point of time is what the framers of the Constitution has envisaged as the appropriate balance of powers in a federal system of government like Malaysia. Simply put, we were always meant to have a strong central government,” Nizam told Malay Mail Online.

“Having said that, this does not mean that states have no power or the monarchs’ role are trivialised in some way in the Constitution. It is far from that.

“But it is very clear that the central government was always meant to take centre stage on matters like crime, and one can see why as it would promote public order,” the lawyer added.

The same sentiment was expressed by Malaysian Bar President Steven Thiru, who in a statement on March 20, said implementing hudud laws would fundamentally alter Malaysia’s secular Federal Constitution in ways never intended.

“If hudud were brought into the criminal justice system, it would result in the importation of Islamic penal law into a secular system. This would result in a rewriting of the Federal Constitution,” Steven warned.

Lawyers have also claimed that the implementation of hudud in Kelantan will lead to more constitutional challenges being filed in court against the Islamic penal code.Constitutional lawyer New Sin Yew pointed out that the civil courts were forced to intervene in previous cases of Shariah courts overstepping their jurisdiction, such as M. Indira Gandhi’s child custody dispute with her ex-husband who is a Muslim convert.

“Certain aspects of the state enactment like sariqah or hirabah will be challenged in the civil courts because only the civil courts have the power to decide on constitutional issues,” New told Malay Mail Online, referring to the hudud Bill.

“And certain punishments like the death penalty and amputation will be challenged for violating federal law,” he added, noting that the Shariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act 1965 limits the punishments Islamic courts can impose to three years’ jail, RM5,000 fines or six strokes of whipping.

These challenges are bound to widen the chasm between the two legal systems, especially with minister in charge of religious affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom alleging last year of a “new wave” of assault on Islam here, and accusing rights groups of colluding with enemies of Islam to put its religious institutions on trial in a secular court.

A society divided

The discrimination in punishment among Muslims and non-Muslims will also lead to bigger problems in society as Malaysians would be treated differently in the eyes of the law, Nik Abdul Aziz suggested.

Already, clear divisions have appeared between those in support of Kelantan’s hudud and those who do not, as demonstrated in the recent case of BFM presenter Aisyah Tajuddin.

The young Muslim journalist earned heavy criticism over a satirical video produced by the popular business radio station where she was seen criticising the PAS government’s bid to introduce the law in Kelantan.

“This phenomenon will bring about clashes, discontent, and other problems … When the public is not being managed fairly, it will bring towards a discriminatory pattern,” warned the analyst, who is also a retired former head of Dakwah Studies Department in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

“Islam emphasises fairness. Under the roof of fairness, only then can you guarantee economic and social stability.”

RATNA_OSMANRatna Osman and Zainah Anwar

Meanwhile, the dismissal of women’s role in hudud also has women rights group Sister in Islam (SIS) worried over the treatment of women in the future, especially Muslim women. SIS’s Executive Director Ratna Osman pointed to Section 41 of Kelantan’s hudud Bill, which specifies that only an adolescent and fair male Muslim can stand as a witness in the cases of zina (illicit sex) and liwat (sodomy).

“This disqualified non-Muslims overall and Muslim women, and this contradicts with equality that is promised under Article 8 of the Constitution, that guarantees equality for all regardless of race and gender,” Ratna told Malay Mail Online.

“The fact that women are disqualified as witnesses in the code, is against the practise of Islamic laws on evidence,” she added, citing several hadith—collections of Prophet Muhammad’s sayings and deeds—where women’s testimonies were accepted in criminal cases.

She also took issue with the provisions in Kelantan’s bill governing qazaf (false accusation of zina), which puts the burden of proof on women in cases of rape, and the li’an provision, which allows a husband to accuse his wife of adultery under a sacred oath.

“You will find because of this gender inequality, a lot of cases, in Iran particularly, where husbands are always using li’an as a means to put their wives in jail. It is an easy way out of marriage,” Ratna claimed.

She also pointed to how in other countries like Pakistan, it is always the women who are convicted of zina while their male partners escape prosecution.Apart from that, Ratna also noted the difficulty in criticising the implementation of hudud after Kelantan passed its hudud Bill.

The space of discourse, even among Muslims, is rapidly shrinking with the authorities now warning laymen against discussing hudud and religion in general, as the voice of discontent continues to grow unfettered online.

Against their critics, PAS has so far resorted to labels from “immorals” and “liars”, which Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yaakob uttered when tabling the bill, to “parrots” and “unforgivable ignorants” in PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang’s open letter a week after.

A country divided

In its video, BFM and Aisyah had asked how exactly hudud would fill the rice bowls of Kelantan folks, especially as the state remains one of the poorest in the country. The question has still remained unanswered, but critics told Malay Mail Online that the trickle down effect of hudud’s implementation in plural Malaysia will inevitably impact even bread and butter issues.

“Why must we rush in hudud, when the priority should be on social justice, eradicating poverty, access to health services, urban cleanliness? There are a lot of things in Islam we can implement,” Nik Abdul Aziz suggested.

“This hudud punishments will lead to bigger implications. If there is a huge case of theft, wouldn’t you have one race with fewer hands than the others? That is why we have to think this out thoroughly.”

There is already global fear that Malaysia risks losing its identity as a model of religious moderation and multiracialism if hudud goes ahead, as expressed by an influential group of retired Malay senior civil servants dubbed G25 on March 25.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak invariably touts Malaysia’s reputation to the international community and investors as a so-called moderate Muslim country, especially in his address to the United Nations as recent as September last year. But this image has continued to take a beating with recent actions taken by religious authorities, especially in the case of the use of the word “Allah” by non-Muslims.

Having hudud nationwide might be the nail on the coffin for his campaign, according to some. “If hudud were ever to see the light of day in Malaysia we can be sure that there will be a massive outflow of investment, wealth and people from Malaysia,” tycoon and philanthropist Koon Yew Yin wrote in his blog on March 22.

“It is not only the locals who will leave. The international community—including foreign investors—has been more loud and vociferous in expressing concern about the growing Islamisation in the country.”

“Adoption by Parliament — even if a two-thirds majority is not obtained — will be the beginning of the end for moderate and inclusive Islam in the country. Is the Middle East model of fundamentalist Islam which has brought destruction and disaster the model that Malaysian Muslims want to follow? I do not think so,” he added.

On March 19, the Kelantan state assembly approved the Shariah Criminal Code (II) (1993) 2015 Enactment with 31 votes from PAS lawmakers supported by 12 from UMNO.

PAS now plans to put forward two private members’ bills in Parliament to enable Kelantan to enforce hudud ― one will seek approval for the state to legislate punishment for crimes under the Penal Code.

The other seeks to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act 1965 to enable Islamic courts to mete out punishments like the death penalty for apostasy and amputation of limbs for theft. PAS has said it only needs a simple majority in Parliament, or 112 MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, to amend the Shariah Courts (Criminal) Jurisdiction Act.

Musa Hitam Urges UMNO to make a stand on Hudud

March 22, 2015

Tun Musa Hitam urges UMNO to make a stand on Hudud

Musa HitamUMNO should make a stand now on PAS’s hudud and not pretend to be surprised with the Islamist party’s push for the implementation of the Islamic criminal law in Kelantan, says Tun Musa Hitam.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said hudud is not suitable for a country like Malaysia, expressing his disappointment over UMNO’s slow response on the issue.

“I am disappointed that UMNO appeared to be shocked (by PAS’s move) and until now have yet to decide on its stance. I have been worried about this for some time,” he said in a statement from Cordoba, Spain.

“UMNO must take a firm stance. This national issue has a very long implication to the country, both domestically and internationally,”

He said as UMNO could not afford to be seen as trying to outdo PAS on this issue.”Don’t try to be more PAS than PAS themselves. UMNO should not be trying to out-PAS PAS!”, he said.

With PAS’s partners, DAP and PKR deciding not to support PAS’s hudud bill should it be tabled in Parliament, the onus is now on UMNO and Barisan Nasional to clarify whether it supported the bill.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is expected to make an announcement on BN’s stand on PAS’s hudud soon. Several BN component parties had given their views during the recent meeting and it was up to the Prime Minister to disclose it.

Musa, who is also the former UMNO Deputy President, said when it comes to hudud, the people should not be surprised with PAS’s hudud bill as the party has been championing the issue consistently for a long time.

“And to the opposition parties in Pakatan Rakyat, do not pretend you are not aware of it too,” he said. At the same time, Musa reiterated his stance that hudud is not suitable for a country like Malaysia.

“As a former UMNO leader, I strongly believe in my heart that since its establishment until today, UMNO’s stance too has been that hudud is not suitable for a multi-religious, multi-racial country like Malaysia,”

Musa said that if he was wrong about it, UMNO should make a decision on its stance immediately and not brush off the matter. “The nation will not the only one that is going to pay for the consequences, UMNO too will feel its bad effect, more so that it has served the country for so long, Do not let this destroy UMNO from within… don’t self destruct.” he said.

PAS Pesident Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang is seeking to table a private members’ bill in Parliament during the current sitting ending April 9 to enable Kelantan to implement amendments to the state’s hudud laws which have drawn outrage from his own PR allies.

The conservative Islamist leader sent a notice to Parliament on March 18, after the Kelantan state assembly unanimously approved the Shariah Criminal Code 11 1993 (Amendment 2015), or hudud bill.

Hadi’s notice, which was confirmed by a senior party leader who said it was to amend Act 355 (Shariah Courts) which limits the powers of the court and is an impediment to implementing the hudud law.

Act 355 or the Shariah Courts Act (Criminal Jurisdiction) 1965 limits the shariah courts to a maximum penalty of RM3,000 in fine, five years’ jail and six strokes of the rotan.

An amendment is required in this law to enable the Kelantan hudud amendments to take effect. However, PAS allies PKR and DAP say hudud laws are not part of Pakatan’s common stand.