June 12 2020
By HARESH DEOL
He wants you to arrest Najib at his office, you go tomorrow at 2pm, we have arranged for the police in Putrajaya to do what is necessary on your instructions. We have also arranged for a magistrate to issue the remand order when he is brought before him or her.”
That was a paragraph from Tan Sri Mohamed Apandi Ali’s Facebook posting on June 10.
Much has been said about the former Attorney-General’s damning revelations. Apandi claimed he met Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram and a young Chinese lawyer, whom he later identified as Tey Jun Ren, at his house in January 2018.
Sri Ram had allegedly said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had sent him and wanted Apandi to arrest then prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Police reports have been lodged as conspiracy theorists believe this is part of the grand scheme of things to allow the Umno-led Barisan Nasional to return to power.
It has turned into a political circus with supporters trying to pin the blame on Najib’s ‘arch-nemesis’ Dr Mahathir.
Those close to Dr Mahathir told Twentytwo13 yesterday that the former Prime Minister does not see the need to respond yet to Apandi’s Facebook posting, adding “it was something between Apandi and Sri Ram.”
The incident highlighted by Apandi happened months before the historic May 9, 2018 general election which resulted in the downfall of Najib’s administration. It took place when Dr Mahathir was part of an opposition pact with no influence in the government.
One thing is certain – a dark cloud hovers over the Malaysian criminal justice system. What we have here is a former A-G claiming that Sri Ram, a renowned ex-Federal Court judge, had “arranged for the police in Putrajaya to do what is necessary” and “arranged for a magistrate to issue the remand order”.
Who are the cops and how many of them are involved? Who are these magistrates who can be easily arranged to issue remand orders?
This is no coffeeshop talk. The claim was made by Apandi on public domain as he later told Twentytwo13 that it’s something “the people should know”.
Tey, when contacted, declined comment yesterday. Earlier in the day, Sri Ram was quoted by local dailies as declining comment as well.
The Malaysian Bar has, surprisingly, also kept mum over the episode. After all, two of its members have been implicated. One would expect the Bar to call for an immediate investigation to assure the public that the legal profession is not tainted.
Sri Ram, who was appointed by former Attorney-General Tan Sri Tommy Thomas to lead the prosecution in several high-profile cases involving Najib, has hogged the headlines in recent days.
Prior to Apandi’s revelation, questions were raised about Sri Ram’s involvement in the Riza Aziz’s controversial settlement.
In any normal circumstance, those implicated in such allegations will be investigated and only return to work once their names have been cleared.
It remains unclear if the Attorney-General’s Chambers will review Sri Ram’s role or if the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will be called in to investigate Apandi’s claims.
Is this a way for Najib to be let off the hook? Even the staunchest Umno members will say that Najib, who is bogged down with the SRC International and 1Malaysia Development Berhad cases, needs to go through the processes and clear his name. The public expects nothing less.
And for those demanding Dr Mahathir to explain himself must be reminded that it was Apandi who claimed Sri Ram had uttered those words. So rightfully, the ball is in Apandi’s court to provide proof that such was indeed uttered by Sri Ram. And if true, then it is for Sri Ram to prove that Dr Mahathir had “sent him”.
Otherwise, it will just be a whole lot of talk and name dropping. And the public will continue to have a slanted perception on the nation’s justice system.