The Sultan of Perak, UMNO’s Utusan and Politics

March 2, 2016

The Sultan of Perak, UMNO’s Utusan and Politics

by Cmdr S. Thayaparan

I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness.” – Christopher Hitchens

COMMENT: Utusan Malaysia has been one of my bêtes noires for a long time. However, I do not dwell on this insidious propaganda organ and the noxious brew that they spew from the cauldrons of Putrajaya, simply because what they write I consider outrage porn and no self-respecting human being should be in the business of giving them more visibility in our limited public space.

My disdain for Utusan Malaysia is based on two factors. The first are my attitudes towards freedom of expression. I have no problem with the racist, bigoted bile that this rag produces on a daily basis. What I object to is the privileged position it has when it comes to other media outlets.

Utusan gets away with everything – notwithstanding the legal damages and retractions it has had to dole out for libelling opposition figures and other public personalities – which other media outlets do not have when it comes to the UMNO state.

The second, is the fact that Utusan Malaysia has radically shifted from its left-leaning, people-centric position to one of a right wing Ketuanan Melayu state-owned propaganda organ. I will elaborate on this shortly.

Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak

HRH Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah

However, the recent statement by Sultan of Perak Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah in defending this most perfidious of propaganda organs deserves a response in a bear witness kind of way because, at the end of the day, Utusan is the ugly visage of the baser elements of this regime.

In January this year, this is what Sultan Nazrin said of the credibility of state-owned media: “News reporting which is impartial and based on half-truths is not beneficial and counter-productive. If the country’s official media institutions carry on doing this rampantly, it will eventually create a rift between the people and the government.”

I wonder if the Sultan is aware, considering his rejoinder that the credibility of state-owned media is at stake, that the Utusan editors are on public record of saying that their job is to spin for the BN government.

‘Spin we can… that’s okay’

Actually, this is what Utusan Malaysia’s deputy chief editor Mohd Zaini Hassan said in a forum organised by Biro Tata Negara: “In our style of writing, we have fact, spin and one more – blatant lies. From the point of psychological warfare, let’s not follow ‘blatant lies’, let’s not write lies. Spin we can; no matter how we spin a certain fact to be biased in our favour, that’s okay.”

Furthermore, the editor said: “But we over here, I apologise for having to say this, if there is no money, things don’t work.”

Therefore, in other words, this propaganda organ is not really spinning because they believe in a political agenda but really, cash apparently is king. So much for embodying the concept of 1Malaysia.

If the editor’s words at the forum are not enough, hear the head of the UMNO young ulama secretariat Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya, who said that deception was acceptable in Islam.

Commenting on reclaiming the “middle path of Islam”, this is what Sultan Nazrin proclaimed: “This is where the major challenge lies – in the actual behaviour of ourselves, of our leaders and of our communities and our nations.”

What does this say about the way in which Islam is propagated in this country, when an editor’s claim that it is okay to spin for the government (Umno), is endorsed as religiously acceptable, by an ulama from Umno?

Look at how it treated lawyer Rosli Dahlan

The Sultan lamented that the Malay intelligentsia abandoned Utusan Malaysia, when he said: “In its last moments, I was informed that Utusan Melayu sought and begged for help. However, it was treated like a street beggar by the Malay intelligentsia who have become captains of various conglomerates, industries and companies, who did not show any willingness to help or to give a lifeline for the continuation of a valuable heritage.”

Which is understandable. If you want to know how Utusan deals with the professional strata of Malay society, look at how it treated senior lawyer Rosli Dahlan (photo above).

Here are excerpts from its official public apology: “We hereby again, upon request and with the consent and express agreement of lawyer Rosli Dahlan, repeat the contents of the said public apology referred to above and hereby again unconditionally and unreservedly apologise to lawyer Rosli Dahlan for our said untruthful article and we regret the damage that we have caused to him.

“We further acknowledge that lawyer Rosli Dahlan has been conclusively discharged and acquitted by the court from all charges made against him by the ACA, which is now known as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).”

Utusan also accused Rosli of being a “Singaporean lawyer who did not declare his assets” and acting deceptively to frustrate the ACA. For the record, Rosli is a Malaysian lawyer and citizen who had declared his assets and gave his full cooperation to the ACA. So much for speaking up on “Malay” issues.

There is of course a reason for all of this. The real history of Utusan Malaysia is buried under a layer of muck by years of UMNO propaganda.

The Iconic Editor of Utusan Melayu

Readers interested in the forgotten narrative of Utusan Malaysia, should read former Utusan Melayu editor, Said Zahari’s memoir ‘Dark Clouds at Dawn’. For a sympatric portrait of the man, I consider a true Malaysian patriot, readers are encouraged to seek out Mariam Mohktar’s ‘This is Said Zahari: Patriotic, powerful and principled’.

Mariam elaborates on the history of Said and Utusan, stating “As the editor of Utusan Melayu, Said Zahari led a strike in 1961, to protest against a takeover of the paper by the government of the day. The government demanded that the paper conforms to its policy. Said refused to back down when confronted by an Umno man called Ibrahim Fitri, who was sent to pressure Said Zahari.”

UMNO taking over the paper had the predictable results.Hata Wahari, a former Utusan Malaysia journalist (and now DAP member) had this to say: “What is done by Utusan appears to always have something to do with Umno policy… unless they get the nod from the leadership, they won’t play up an issue.”

Hata related to me his frustration at getting alternative viewpoints using the media, to the Malays in the rural heartlands. All this, of course, is what happens when you are disavowed for doing your job and highlighting issues that are inconvenient to the UMNO state.

And no, I don’t think defending someone by calling them ignorant, as opposed to defending a person’s right of freedom of expression, means that Utusan embodies the 1Malaysia spirit, considering it’s long history of provocations, spinning and lies.

S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy.

Kassim Ahmad humbles JAWI

December 21, 2015

Kassim Ahmad humbles JAWI with the help of Lawyer Rosli Dahlan

by Ho Kit Yen

kassim-ahmad fmt3

The Court of Appeal on Monday allowed Islamic scholar Kassim Ahmad to challenge his Syariah arrest and prosecution by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (Jawi).

The three-member panel of judges, led by Justice Vernon Ong Lam Kiat, ruled that the arrest and prosecution of the 82-year old was illegal.“The arrest warrant on Kassim was clearly defective, it was substituted with words ‘pejabat penguatkuasa terdekat’ (nearest religious department) from the original ‘mahkamah syariah terdekat’ (nearest Syariah Court),” said Justice Vernon. “The warrant was bad in law.”

Justice Vernon, along with Justices Abdul Rahman Sebli and Hasnah Hashim, also ruled that the Jawi officers clearly failed to comply with Section 36 of the Kedah Syariah Enactment, taking him to the nearest ‘kadi’ or Syariah judge, as he was taken to Penang and on board a flight to Kuala Lumpur.

The Appeal Court also found that Kassim was deprived of his constitutional rights under Article 5(3) of the Federal Constitution to consult a lawyer upon his arrest. “He was arrested in the morning of March 26, 2014 and he was only charged in the afternoon of March 27.”

“It clearly exceeded 24 hours, and he was deprived of legal rights,” said Justice Vernon. Besides that, the appeal court ruled that the fatwa in the Federal Territories cannot be used against residents in other states. “It is not disputed Kassim lives in Kedah. Clearly he is not obliged to the fatwa in question,” Justice Vernon said.

The three judges allowed the orders to quash the arrest warrant and the religious prosecution. A cost of RM20,000 was awarded to Kassim, while the damages on the embarrassment and trauma he faced on the wrongful prosecution will be accessed before a deputy registrar.

Rosli_dahlanSpeaking to reporters outside, the academician said he was thankful and happy for the decision.  Alhamdulilah,” he said. “I came all the way from Kedah this morning to hear the decision.” Kassim’s lawyer Rosli Dahlan said he will be writing to JAWI to withdraw the charges in order to end this “conflict and controversy”.

According to the facts, Kassim was arrested on March 26, 2014 when JAWI officers raided his Kedah home in the morning. He was then taken to the Kulim Police station, before flying him from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. He was also interrogated and examined in the wee hours on March 27 by JAWI officers.

He was charged at the Putrajaya Syariah Court later in the morning for insulting Islam and defying JAWI’s order. He then filed for a judicial review to strike out the syarie chief prosecutor’s decision to prosecute him for allegedly insulting Islam and defying the religious authorities. Kassim, as applicant, named Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom, Chief Syarie Prosecutor, JAWI and the government as respondents.

On January 6 this year, the 82 year-old academician failed in his judicial review to challenge JAWI’s prosecution against him. The High Court ruled that his case fell under the Syariah jurisdiction and that he should bring the case to the Syariah appeal court.

Death of Kevin Morais: MACC should settle and let him rest in peace

September 23, 2015

Death of Kevin Morais: MACC should settle and let him rest in peace

by Din Merican

Mahatma-GandhiFreemalaysiatoday (FMT) and all the news portals reported about the effect of Kevin Morais’ death on the case of  abuse of power and malicious prosecution that my brave and brillaint friend Lawyer Rosli Dahlan had initiated against former A-G Gani Patail, Kevin Morais, Abu Kassim and 11 other defendants.

A case that can teach MACC to be humble


These are the people who did bad things to Rosli. FMT correctly asked what has become of the MACC and the key players that are supposed to combat corruption but instead was used as a tool of oppression against an innocent man?

It appears that the MACC is now almost decimated and its reputation in complete tatters. The MACC’s No. 1 and No. 2 are now nowhere to be seen since the 1MDB fiasco and RM2.6 billion found in PM Najib Razak’s Private Banking account.

MACC’s Adviser Tan Sri Rashpal Singh, Head of AMLA Jessica Gurmit Kaur, and prosecutor Ahmad Sazilee Abdul Khairy were arrested together with two MACC directors Bahri Md Zain and Rohaizad Yaakub, who were then transferred to the Prime Minister’s Department..

ts-abu-kassimMACC’s Tan Sri Abu Kassim (above) named as the 1st Defendant in Rosli’ suit is said to be recovering from a back surgery as a camouflage for MACC’s inaction. Many including me remain unconvinced and have called him a general who abandoned his troops in the middle of a battle. MACC officer Mohan Muthaiyah, who brutally arrested and handcuffed Rosli until his wrist bled, was himself charged for corruption and was convicted.

Rosli-DahlanA-G Gani Patail himself was unceremoniously sacked and has totally disappeared from public eye. And most recently, Kevin Morais’ dead body was buried cast in cement in an oil drum. Such a tragic and grisly death. So what happens to the case against them?

FMT mentioned about Rosli’s 2012 letter to Abu Kassim which is very prophetic:

“I implore you not to allow this sacred institution (MACC) to be used as tool of oppression and persecution in the guise of false prosecution against innocent citizens. Otherwise, you will one day see your own hands in the destruction of t‎his institution.”-Rosli Dahlan

Instead of settling, the MACC and Gani Patail chose to test their  immunity in court which resulted in Judge Wazeer Alam Mydin Meera delivering this damning judgement: “The claim of absolute immunity is anathema to the modern notion of democracy and accountability and against the Rule of Law.”

Kevin MoraisI wrote previously that at times I sympathise with Lawyer Rosli seeing him soldiering on with his case despite all the obstacles. The latest now is that Kevin’s death will force a substitution requiring Kevin’s Estate to be made a defendant. And Rosli was so magnanimous expressing deep sympathy to Kevin’s family and agreeing to give them as much time as is needed to sort out the technical issue of substitution.

On the other hand, MACC seemed unremorseful. MACC is still playing  the PR game using Kevin’s death to boost its image. MACC recently announced that it had named its moot court after Kevin in his honour. It is such a cheesy thing to do instead of doing something really meaningful.

A moot court is a play court not a real court. If MACC seriously wants to honour Kevin, they should not allow this case to drag on where Kevin’s estate will now be a defendant. It will be as if Kevin’s ghost lingers on without finding peace. It will be as if the ghost of Kevin’s past will not be allowed to rest.

This is one case that the forces of nature has not favoured the MACC and these defendant officers from the beginming. This is one case that God is showing His might and power of retribution. This is the case that Attorney-General Chambers  should not tempt God to show what else can happen. This is one case that the MACC should learn some humility by apologising to Rosli and settle, and let the ghost of Kevin Anthony Morais rest in peace! Let justice prevail.

Read also :

Happy Birthday Singapore, Happy Birthday Rosli Dahlan

August 19, 2015

Happy Birthday Singapore, Happy Birthday Rosli Dahlan

by Din Merican in Kuala Lumpur

RD 198I just came back from Cambodia for a short visit two days ago. As I landed in KLIA after a very nice and comfortable MAS Flight 755, I felt a sense of longing (rindu) for my home country. For all my criticisms of the kleptocratic UMNO government led by a dishonest and lying Prime Minister,  I love Malaysia. As I look around, I see only beautiful Malaysian faces, which adds to my sense of longing.

Then I got into a taxi with my wife, Dr. Kamsiah and almost immediately the taxi driver talked about a topic that he must have spoken about to every passenger who sits in his taxi. He talked about 1MDB. He spoke of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s RM2.6 billion bank account. He was agitated by the Prime Minister’s family displaying opulent wealth during their daughter’s wedding. He mentioned the Prime Minister’s stepson, Riza Aziz, living the high life in New York and bankrolling Hollywood films of greed, sex and debauchery (he must be referring to Wolves of Wall Street) that could not even be screened in Malaysia.

Then he told us about about how difficult life has ‎been for him and other ordinary struggling Malaysians since the implementation of the GST and the con job of BR1M in making the people feel grateful to Prime Minister Najib whereas the Najib government that declared itself as a government that cared for the people in its slogan “Rakyat Didahulukan” (People First) is actually a betrayer of the people when all its actions are actually “Rakyat Dimangsakan”  (People Oppressed)and “Negara Dikorbankan” (Nation Plundered).

He spoke about how the  Deputy Prime Minister and the Attorney-General were sacked, the MACC officers and Deputy Public Prosecutor arrested, the Public Accounts Committee of our Parliament disbanded, and the Task Force outlawed. He spoke about all these matters with such detailed knowledge and then finally said “Kita rakyat awam malu, Malaysia malu. Apa dah jadi dengan negara kita?” (We the general public are ashamed, Shame Malaysia, What has happened to our country)  with such great despair that I felt sorry for him. I felt sorry for myself as a Malaysian. Indeed, what has happened? Or do I just cry for my beloved country?

DM and KAM LaksaI asked the taxi driver to stop by a roadside laksa and cendol stall and invited him to join me. As we ate our Kedah laksa and cendol (local delicacies), the same topic was discussed by every one eating at the stall.

Then one lady said “Nasib baik ada juga pegawai berani macam Governor Zeti Bank Negara dan‎ Pengarah SPRM Bahri”.( Luckily we have brave officers such as The Governor of BNM and MACC Director Bahri ) And another quipped ” Ada juga orang awam berani macam loyar tu….apa nama?”. (and there also brave layman like that lawyer… what’s his name ?)

My wife immediately added “Lawyer Rosli?” and they all answered “Haah, betul! Loyar Rosli Dahlan!” (That’s right, that lawyer Rosli Dahlan) and they spoke loudly about some of the things he did and said and then hurled insults against IGP Khalid Abu Bakar as a running dog. What extreme comparisons.

Hearing all these reminded me that just last week I wrote out of Phnom Penh about my young friend Lawyer Rosli Dahlan offering to help the MACC officers and all other government officers who have been victimised as a result of the 1MDB investigations. About Rosli saying it’s about principles not personalities.

I wrote about how MACC Bahri vowed to seek justice against his oppressors Till Kingdom Come!‎–Read HERE

I wrote about Rosli’s plea and warning in his letter of 2010 to MACC Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim‎ that the MACC will one day be destroyed for the things they did to him, and today the MACC is in ruins and tatters. Rosli prophetic words were:

 “I implore you not to allow this sacred institution (Institusi Keramat ini) to be used as a tool of oppression and persecution in the guise of false prosecution against innocent citizens. Otherwise, you will one day see your own hands in the destruction of t‎his institution.”

Today, Rosli’s prophecy is fulfilled. Gani Patail who had fixed Rosli and Dato Ramli Yusuff has been removed in the most humiliating manner and the MACC is as good as destroyed. What goes around comes around- the law of Karma. God’s retribution to Gani Patail and the MACC, especially Abu Kassim for not standing up for the truth by feigning illness. Abu Kassim has totally lost my respect, a general abandoning his army when they needed him most. Shameless man!

DM and Kamsiah at Spore ReceptionHappy Birthday, Singapore

Last evening I attended Singapore’s 50th National Day reception at The ShangriLa Hotel hosted by HE Ambassador Venu Gopala Menon, Singapore High Commissioner to Malaysia. The topic of discussion among guests at the reception was the same as what I have described above.

50 years on after Separation and Singapore has grown into a strong and dynamic city state proud of its nation building achievements. 50 years on and Malaysia is sliding down the slope to becoming a failed state. What a sharp contrast considering that Malaysia has oil and gas and other resources but Singapore has none. But Singapore has brain power and a hard working and united people, and a government that practises good governance.Today Malaysia is lagging behind, only marginally ahead of Robert and Grace Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, while Singapore forges ahead in the big league of advanced nations.

Rosli ans Sing Friend2Then I remembered that Rosli has strong roots in Singapore. He schooled in Singapore and trained with the current Chief Justice of Singapore, Sundaresh Menon, who is an outstanding lawyer and was also the former A-G of Singapore. I begin to understand Rosli from researching about and now knowing his background. Then I remembered that Rosli’s birthday is 10 days from Singapore’s National Day. That his birthday is today, August 19, 2015

So, in a hurried manner I penned this as a tribute to my outstanding friend whom I had known and become close under very strange and unlikely circumstances. I will say this to Rosli, I am proud to be your friend and I hope you will continue to be a role model and a beacon for truth and justice.

Happy Birthday, Singapore, Happy Birthday, Rosli Dahlan.

MACC Bahri : Till Kingdom Come!

August 9, 2015

READ article by Malaysiakini’s Hafiz Yatim

MACC Bahri : Till Kingdom Come!

by Din Merican

These are the powerful words of prayer‎ usually said by the oppressed invoking God to mete out retribution to the oppressors. These are the words uttered by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Special Operations Director Bahri Mohd Zain three days ago when he was unable to tolerate the incessant attacks against the MACC including his own detention.

MACC Bahri

Within 24 hours of uttering those words, Bahri and MACC’s Strategic Communications Director Rohaizad Yaakub were transferred to the Prime Minister’s Department. It is like the Pharoah trying to prove God wrong, watch the movie Exodus if you are too busy to read the Quranic or Biblical account.

Yet those words by Bahri are so reminiscent of the words uttered by my outstanding and young lawyer friend Rosli Dahlan who said almost the same thing.

Eight years ago as Muslims were about to celebrate Hari Raya,  Rosli  was brutally arrested from his office by the Malaysian Anti- Corruption Commission and was brought to court the next day on what Rosli alleged is a fixed up charge against him and then Director of Commercial Crimes, Royal Malaysian Police Dato Ramli Yusuff in what is now infamously known as the Copgate affair.

After Rosli won his criminal case, he vowed that he would hunt down all those who had fixed him and hold them accountable and quoted the Islamic maxim for his actions – Am’r Maaruf Nahy Mungkar.

He had already won a series of legal suits against several mainstream media including against New Straits Times and the MACC which had to pay him damages of RM300,000. He also filed a RM48 million suit against the MACC, PDRM, just sacked Attorney General Gani Patail, retired IGP Musa Hassan, current MACC Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim, then MACC Director of Prosecution Nordin Hassan who is now a Judge and several others for malicious prosecution. The case is still on-going despite some of them are no longer in office.

Fast forward to today, in the current controversial 1MDB case, Gani Patail was removed‎ as Attorney-General and the MACC is in disarray with its No.1 and No.2 are nowhere to be seen although reported to be on leave.

I have been reporting on Rosli’s case for a while. Even from afar here in Phnom Penh Cambodia, I cannot help but see the similarities in the narrative of the 1MDB-MACC saga with the case of Rosli Dahlan. I ‎recall Rosli’s letter of 2010 where he made an impassioned appeal to Abu Kassim as the then MACC’s newly appointed Chief Commissioner:

“I implore you not to allow this sacred institution (MACC) to be used as tool of oppression and persecution in the guise of false prosecution against innocent citizens. Otherwise, you will one day see your own hands in the destruction of t‎his institution.”

Actually, the Malay word Rosli used to describe the MACC as “Institusi Keramat” has a more powerful meaning to show how it had been desecrated like the desecration of the Temple of Apollo in Troy by Achilles.

Those words have become prophetic looking at what has happened to Gani and the MACC today – what goes around comes around.‎


I think that it is God’s retribution to Gani Patail and the MACC, especially Abu Kassim for not standing up for the truth. I understand that Abu Kassim is on leave. That is unbelievable. What kind of leader is Abu who abandons his force that is under seige. ‎It is like a sentry abandoning his post when an intruder comes attacking. That is a dereliction of duty! This is a general abandoning his troops.

I tried to chat up with Rosli to provoke him into condemning Gani Patail and the MACC. But the answer I received surprised me. This was a man who was brutalised and maligned by Gani Patail and the MACC. This is a man who would have all the reasons in the world to hate and wish the worst of Gani and the MACC. But, none of this came from Rosli. Instead, he said to me that all Malaysians especially lawyers must stand-up and support MACC.

‎“Din, this is not the time to talk of revenge. The country is in turmoil. We must support the MACC from interference. We must support Gani from his unconstitutional removal. We must stand by principles and not personalities. This is to ensure we have the Rule of Law and not rule by law!”

When I asked what he meant by that, Rosli said that he was even willing to help the MACC officers who had been defamed, arrested, detained and transferred.

Najib-It takes a worried manRetribution awaits him

‎‎I thought I could provoke him further by saying that Might is Right and nothing can be done for so long as the perpetrators are in power. But Rosli reminded me that in his on-going suit against Gani, Abu Kassim and the MACC where Gani sought to strike out the suit, High Court Judge Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera had written a damning judgment against Gani – ” The claim of absolute immunity is anathema to the modern notion of democracy and accountability and against the Rule of Law.”

Rosli then said resolutely to me: ” Din, that judgment is God’s way of helping this nation as it faces this crisis.‎ God works in mysterious ways.”

ts-abu-kassimThe Sentry who left his post

Rosli then explained that his suit against Gani and the others were in their personal capacity for abusing their positions and will survive regardless that Gani has been removed and Musa Hassan has retired.

I am so glad I had this chat with Rosli. I can now say to IGP Khalid, Prime Minister Najib Razak and the newly anointed and overzealous Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi and their sycophants that they too can be held accountable if they commit criminal acts while in office as criminal action has no limitation period. Do not think you can get away. God is watching you, even when no one is.

I say to them – Do not underestimate the prayer of the Oppressed!

Rosli Dahlan Vs Gani Patail and Cohorts

July 22, 2015

COMMENT: I have  been following and writing about  theDin MericanUC plight of my good friends, Dato Ramli  Yusoff and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan over a number of years. I continue to be critical about the MACC Chief Commissioner, and the Attorney-General  and former Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and the present IGP.

My view is that they all have acted with impunity and must face the consequences of their actions against Dato’ Ramli and Lawyer Rosli. It is now in the hands of the presiding Judge to decide and deliver the verdict based on all evidence before him.  I am convinced that justice will prevail in the end. These public officials deserve whatever is due to them for failing to do their duty with due diligence and high sense of responsibility. The Attorney-General can tell the Martians that “All actions thereon were taken against the plaintiff (Rosli) premised on and in accordance with the law”. –Din Merican

Attorney-General Gani Patail : No Malice in Lawyer Rosli’s prosecution

 by FMT Reporters

Attorney-General Gani Patail claims had ‘reasonable and probable cause’ to pursue criminal action, but observers are unconvinced.

Rosli-DahlanLawyer Rosli Dahlan

Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and his ten co-defendants have labelled as a “misconception” the facts which senior lawyer Rosli Dahlan set out in his statement of claim which the latter says amounted to abuse of power, malicious prosecution and a conspiracy between Gani, former Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan, current Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Chief Commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed and several other Police and MACC officers.

In a joint statement of defence dated July 10 filed in court by the Attorney-General’s Chambers in response to Rosli’s statement of claim, the defendants had claimed that all facts, inferences and implications pleaded by Rosli in his statement of claim could not amount to any cause of action entitling him to bring the lawsuit against them.

“The onus is on the plaintiff to plead clearly a complete cause of action, not merely hurl accusations without basis,” the defence states. “The plaintiff is put to strict proof of each of his allegations.”

The AG and the rest

Gani and his co-defendants also claim that they had “reasonable and probable cause” to pursue criminal action against Rosli as they believed him to be an associate of Ramli. They added that the two notices to Rosli had been validly issued by the MACC under section 32(1)(b) of the Anti-Corruption Act 1997 and that the practising lawyer had failed to comply with the said notices.

“MACC has evidence and proof that show that the plaintiff had a good relationship with Ramli and that he had acted for Ramli in several transactions involving property and companies which Ramli is believed to have owned,” the defence states.

“MACC, therefore, has reasonable cause and evidence to believe that Ramli was involved in corrupt activities and was liable to be investigated under the Anti-Corruption Act 1997.

“All actions thereon were taken against the plaintiff (Rosli) premised on and in accordance with the law,” the defence reads further.

Gani also claims in the defence that the pursuit of Rosli’s prosecution and appeals against the decisions of the courts in respect thereof were entirely matters within his discretion in his capacity as public prosecutor of the federation pursuant to Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution and that the discretion was exercised after giving due consideration to public policy and were based on the outcome of investigations which had been conducted.

“All actions were taken in good faith and without malice,” he pleads.

Other points raised by the defendants in their defence include that the current action was duplicitous given that it was largely similar to a parallel case presently on-going before Justice Su Geok Yiam in another High Court.

The defendants also claim that the plaintiff is time-barred from bringing the action by reason of the provisions of the Public Authorities Protection Act, 1948. Section 2 of the Act provides that all actions must be commenced within thirty-six months of the accrual of the cause of action.

Observers following both this and the parallel case, however, have expressed surprise and reservations as to the contents of the defence put forward.

They note that a large portion of Rosli’s statement of claim narrates facts and findings which have either already been determined by the criminal courts which heard the prosecution’s case against both Ramli and Rosli or which have already been the subject of much of the testimony already adduced in the parallel case.

In particular, they told FMT that in the criminal case against Rosli, Sessions Court judge Abu Bakar Katar had in his decision delivered on December 20, 2010 found that the prosecution in the case before him had failed to disclose that Rosli was Ramli’s associate. He also said that the notices were issued without basis and that the prosecution had failed to prove that Rosli had intentionally neglected to respond to them.

Apart from that, they say that Utusan Malaysia and the Star have already issued admissions and apologies to Rosli, while the New Straits Times and MACC itself have been found liable to him for defamation and were ordered to pay him RM300,000 in damages, both arising from the publication of matters which are at the heart of the case.

They also suggest that Gani and his co-defendants have put up what is largely a ‘bare denial’ defence, i.e. a defence which merely seeks to put Rosli to strict proof of his averments without offering an alternative version of the events which transpired.

In addition to that, the parallel case has already seen former MACC prosecutor Kevin Anthony Morais admit as untrue allegations that Rosli had acted as Ramli’s lawyer in property transactions.

The defence of limitation raised by the defendants also appears likely to fail as the very same arguments have already been canvassed and were rejected by the Court of Appeal, although an application for leave to appeal to the Federal Court on that decision is pending.

Finally and probably most startlingly, the suggestion that the defendants had reasonable and probable cause to pursue Rosli’s criminal prosecution appears to fly in the face of evidence already given in the parallel case, although no decision has been rendered on it as yet.

Under rules of procedure, Rosli is entitled to file a reply to the defence within fourteen days of service. Thereafter, Justice Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera is expected to issue directions at case management which will lead to the matter coming up for trial.

Gani and his fellow defendants had delayed for some eighteen months in the filing of their defence to the case, much to Rosli’s despair and annoyance.

On May 28, High Court Judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera instructed Gani and his co-defendants to file their defence within 30 days. It is understood that the deadline was extended upon requests by Cecil Abraham, who acts as lead counsel for Gani and his co-defendants.

Vazeer will preside over the next case management of the case on July 29.