Commentary Politics

Number of cases dropped against Pakatan politicians indeed amazing

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Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

A Youth’s Take –A column by Zaidi Azmi

September 10, 2018

OUR chief public prosecutor, Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, has been pulling some eyebrow-raising decisions since his appointment three months ago.

These range from the outsourcing of work to law firms or lawyers and discontinuing cases against Pakatan Harapan politicians and others previously known to be not in favour of the government.

Tommy’s first decision at outsourcing was in August, when he decided to hire three lawyers to handle the government’s claim against the Equanimity super yacht registered to a company owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho a.k.a. Jho-Low.

Previously something like this would have sparked strong reactions about possible conflict of interest, as had happened when Tan Sri Muhammad Shafie Abdullah was engaged by the then government as a public prosecutor,  but this time Thomas clarified that the trio were leading lawyers in maritime and shipping laws, for which his chambers had no specialist.

While that made sense, Thomas’ latest outsourcing was not quite similar to the first, because nothing special is required for the cases the two are expected to prosecute

He appointed senior lawyer Datuk Sulaiman Abdullah and retired Federal Court judge Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram to lead the prosecution in criminal proceedings against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and 1Malaysia Development Berhad respectively.

In defending his decision, Thomas described the duo as basically the dream team to defeat Najib over his alleged “greatest kleptocracy in history” and that he (Thomas) has too much on his plate on prosecutorial matters.

As for charges against Pakatan politicians which Thomas decided to drop, the first was in June in the case against Sungai Buloh MP R. Sivarasa who faced two counts of fake news related offences.

Charges the AGC has dropped/sought to drop post GE14

Date

Accused

Alleged offence/s

June 28

R. Sivarasa (Sungai Buloh (DAP) MP)

Two counts of uploading a fake Time Magazine cover featuring former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s image at Facebook.

July 25

Syarul Ema Abu Samah (PKR politician)

Insulted Najib over the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

July 27

Thomas Su (Kampar (DAP) MP

Organised an illegal political assembly five years ago.

July 27

Hassan Abdul Karim (Pasir Gudang (PKR) MP)

Three counts of seditious statements via Twitter in 2014 and 2015.

July 30

N. Surendran (former Padang Serai (PKR) MP) and Zulkiflee Anwar Haque (Zunar) (socio-political cartoonist)

Surendran was charged for releasing an allegedly seditious press statement over Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction in the Sodomy 2 case.

Zunar was charged with nine counts of sedition for allegedly insulting the Judiciary in tweets that were also made in relation to Sodomy 2.

August 27

N. Surendran and Lawrence Jeyaraj (PKR-leaning activist)

Surendran was charged with uttering seditious remarks relating to Anwar’s second sodomy case on August 8, 2014.

Jeyaraj was charged in 2015 under the Sedition Act for publishing a Facebook comment that purportedly said the Judiciary had become underlings of the political masters, following Anwar’s sodomy verdict by the Federal Court in 2014.

September 3

Lim Guan Eng and Phang Li Koon (businesswoman)

Both were slapped with corruption charges over Lim’s purchase of a bungalow at a discount.

“The AG has full discretion (to discontinue cases) but when you have been dropping a string of cases then you have got to start justifying,” said lawyer Fatihah Jamhari.

“What can I possibly comment than what may already be in people’s mind is that justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done,” said lawyer Datuk Jahaberdeen Mohamed Yunoose over the spate of discontinued cases.

And while Lim’s acquittal had sparked a heated outcry over a supposed bias, Thomas’ deputy Datuk Mohamad Hanafiah Zakaria had clarified that the AG had already recused himself from the case since last month.

It is as good as anybody’s guess if Hanafiah’s statement was convincing beyond reasonable doubt but the fact that he was working on a case implicating his boss’ friend – as admitted by Thomas himself – seems to be one glaring of a conundrum to overlook.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]