Sunday, September 25, 2022

Zahid Hamidi’s Acquittal by High Court Must be Appealed to the Court of Appeal, and Prosecution Failures Must be Investigated - Reforms Needed to Ensure Independence of Deputy Public Prosecutors

 

Media Statement – 25/9/2022

Zahid Hamidi’s Acquittal by High Court Must be Appealed to the Court of Appeal, and Prosecution Failures Must be Investigated

Reforms Needed to Ensure Independence of Deputy Public Prosecutors

MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) notes that prosecution failure in the recent Zahid Hamidi’s case raises questions on the independence, competence and professionalism of prosecutors in Malaysia, and the need for reform and laws to safeguard independence of deputy public prosecutors, and to criminalize wrongful actions/omissions of prosecutors done intentionally or negligently for the benefit of the accused.  

Former Deputy Prime Minister, UMNO President and Barisan Nasional Chairperson Ahmad Zahid  Hamidi in this case was facing  33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the One Stop Centres in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the Home Ministry. He was also charged with another 7 counts as home minister who obtained S$1.15 million, RM3 million, CHF15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company for himself in connection with his official work. (Malay Mail, 23/9/2022)

It was reported that the High Court Judge on 23/9/2022 found that prosecution failed at the close of prosecution case to successfully prove a prima facie case against Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who is also Bagan Datuk MP, on not just some charges but all 40 bribery charges. The judge found that the prosecution failed to call ‘material witnesses’ and adduce certain evidence. (Malay Mail, 23/9/2022). Zahid Hamidi was acquitted without even having to enter his defence.

Before anyone is charged of an offence, prosecutors must verily belief that they have sufficient evidence to present in court to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.  To not do so may be considered an abuse of power on the part of the prosecution. In any event, at the end of the day, prosecution still needs to convince the Judge or court, that an accused person is guilty beyond reasonable doubt, or at the close of prosecution case that a prima facie case has been established against the accused.

Failed To Call Material Witness

In the Zahid Hamidi case, the judge was reported that the prosecution failed to important witnesses to ascertain the source of the funds allegedly paid to Ahmad Zahid, amongst others, one  “…'Nicole Tan' was not called to testify to provide clarifications on the missing link by explaining the nature of the arrangement between UKSB and the Hong Kong subcontractors of which the monies allegedly paid to Ahmad Zahid was derived from…. "The witness from Hong Kong including Nicole would be able to provide an explanation on the actual source of funds especially given that all three key prosecution witnesses confirmed the source of the monies paid to the accused did not originate from UKSB," he {Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa] said….”

Of concern also, is the fact of not calling material witnesses has happened before in cases involving politicians and those allegedly connected to politicians. Similar findings arose in the cases of Kasitah Kaddam’s (then Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Malaysia 1999–2004) and business tycoon Eric Chia.

In the Kasitah Kaddam’s case, it was reported ‘…Justice Suraya said the failure of the prosecution in not calling six board members who were present in the meeting was detrimental to the case as it had created a big gap over the question of whether the board members were actually cheated by the accused….’(Star, 13/8/2009, Kasitah freed of corruption charges)

In Eric Chia’s case, ‘…Akhtar[then Sessions Court judge Akhtar Tahir now High Court Judge]  said the most glaring setback was the prosecution’s failure to call two material witnesses, who would have been able to confirm whether payment was needed for the technical assistance agreements (TAA) signed between Perwaja Rolling Mill Development and NKK Corporation. (Star, 27/6/2007, Eric Chia acquitted of CBT)

Failed to adduce CCTV footage, toll receipts and envelope

It was reported that ‘the prosecution did not produce any sample envelope used for the alleged cash payments, remarking that he found it hard to imagine what kind of envelope could fit the bill stacks amounting to hundreds of thousands at the material time….Neither close-circuit television footage nor toll receipts on delivery visits to Ahmad Zahid's house or the deputy prime minister's official residence — where the offences allegedly took place — were produced in court to support the prosecution's case.’

There is a need to now question whether the Deputy Public Prosecutors acted independently and professionally, or whether they were compromised by ‘corruption’ or orders/instruction from their superiors or others. MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) believes that Deputy Public Prosecutors handling any criminal case should be independent even from the orders/instruction of the Public Prosecutor, Minister, government/s of the day.

MADPET is of the opinion that mis-handling of prosecution duties intentionally and/or negligently for the benefit of the accused or any person who could be charged ought to be criminalized. One wonders whether if another independent Deputy Public Prosecutor was handling this case, would it have led to same outcome for Zahid Hamidi.

Appeal to the Court of Appeal

Now, in Zahid Hamidi’s, the High Court judge could have erred in his judgment to acquit, and as such it is important that the prosecution immediately files an appeal to the Court of Appeal. We know that many cases, the Appellate Court reversed decisions of the lower court.

In this case, MADPET urges the Public Prosecutor to immediately appeal to the Court of Appeal, as it is best that the Appellate Court confirms to us in Malaysia whether there was an error of judgment on the part of the High Court judge, or not.

Irrelevant to this particular case, it is fresh in the minds of Malaysians what was reported in another case, where the transactions are vide cheques not cash, where  Zahid is accused of receiving bribes amounting to RM6 million from Chew as a reward for appointing DTSB to implement a passport chip project for a period of five years or for a total of 12.5 million chips to be included in the polycarbonate biodata page of Malaysia's international passport by the immigration department through direct negotiations under the home ministry.

In that case, Zahid Hamidi repeatedly stressed that he chose not to deposit the money into his accounts or use it for his personal benefit. "Even though at that time I was holding the post of deputy president (of Umno) and that money could be used for political purposes, I chose to use it neither for politics nor for personal purposes, but instead to channel it for charity, waqf and religious activities," he said…"If money is given to a politician, he has the discretion to deposit it into his own account or any other account he deems fit," he said.(Malaysia Now, 22/8/2022)

Given this, MADPET reiterates its call that the prosecution files an immediate appeal to the Court of Appeal so that Malaysian doubts on the correctness of the High Court’s decision to acquit without defence being called was correct or not.

Acquittal is not proof of innocence

In the administration of criminal justice, an acquittal is not proof of innocence. It is simply a failure of the prosecution to prove guilt by establishing a prima facie case at the close of prosecution, or at the end of trial failing to prove beyond reasonable doubt that crime accused had been committed.

Acquittal means Zahid Hamidi can never again be charged for the same offence nor on the same facts for any other offence for which a different charge from the one made against him might have been made. MADPET reiterates its call that the court should not acquit anyone when prosecution elects to discontinue the proceedings mid-trial, they should just be granted a Discharge Not Amounting an Acquittal (DNAA).

In the current case, if the prosecution at any time during trial found the evidence insufficient, it could have elected to sought a long postponement or to discontinue proceedings, and the court could have ordered a DNAA. Then, they could secure more evidence required to continue with prosecution.

It is not uncommon for prosecution witnesses to disappear or suddenly change their statement, or for evidence to be lost. Recall, the Malaysian former spy case, where the money seized and kept by MACC, was taken by a MACC officer (now already convicted), who then replaced it with counterfeit money.

MADPET, noting that the power lies with the Public Prosecutor, to immediately file an appeal to the Court of Appeal with regard the decision of the High Court judge to acquit Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the close of prosecution stage of trial.

MADPET also calls for an investigation of the Deputy Public Prosecutors involved in this case, to determine whether there was any failure of duty, intentionally or otherwise.

MADPET also calls for reform and/or laws to ensure the independence of Deputy Public Prosecutors handling a particular criminal case, including the freedom from instruction/orders from others including government of the day.

Noting one public perception that Malaysian laws and administration of criminal justice accords preferential treatment to politicians and/or those with ‘connections’ to the government of the day or maybe tomorrow. which contrary to Constitutional guarantee in Article 8(1) that states, ‘All persons are equal before the law and entitled to the equal protection of the law’.

Malaysia need to also review and strengthen the mechanisms including safeguards to ensure the independence of the judiciary, prosecutors and law enforcers.

 

Charles Hector

For and on behalf of MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture

 

See earlier posts

Kasitah Gaddam & Eric Chia - Prosecution's failure to call witnesses - Was it just incompetence OR....?

 

Zahid walks free in foreign visa bribery case after High Court rules prosecution failed prima facie

Zahid walks free in foreign visa bribery case after High Court rules prosecution failed prima facie
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Shah Alam High Court September 23, 2022. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

SHAH ALAM, Sept 23 — The High Court today acquitted Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of taking bribes from Ultra Kirana Sdn Bhd (UKSB), the company awarded a government contract for a foreign visa system (VLN).

However, the Umno president is still on trial for another corruption case where he is accused of 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi, the charity organisation he founded.

Judge Datuk Mohd Yazid Mustafa said the prosecution failed to successfully prove a prima facie case against Ahmad Zahid, who is also Bagan Datuk MP, on all 40 bribery charges.

In his ruling, Mohd Yazid said the testimonies by three key prosecution witnesses — former UKSB executives Wan Quoris Shah Wan Abdul Ghani and Harry Lee Vui Khiun, and former administrative manager David Tan Siong Sun — were unreliable and untrustworthy.

Mohd Yazid also said the prosecution has failed to prove the main ingredients of the charges framed under Section 165 of the Penal Code and Section 16(a)(B) of the MACC Act leveled against Ahmad Zahid.

"In view of the failure by the prosecution to prove the foremost important element in all the charges leveled against the accused, i.e the receipt of the corrupt monies, upon exercise of the maximum evaluation of the evidence in totality I find the prosecution has failed to make out a prima facie case on all charges," Mohd Yazid said.

The judge also said he took account of the prosecution's failure to call other important witnesses to ascertain the source of the funds allegedly paid to Ahmad Zahid, noting there was existing 'unanswered doubt' as to whether the money even existed and who delivered the monies.

Based on the oral testimonies of key prosecution witnesses, Mohd Yazid said one individual who goes by the name 'Nicole Tan' was not called to testify to provide clarifications on the missing link by explaining the nature of the arrangement between UKSB and the Hong Kong subcontractors of which the monies allegedly paid to Ahmad Zahid was derived from.

"The witness from Hong Kong including Nicole would be able to provide an explanation on the actual source of funds especially given that all three key prosecution witnesses confirmed the source of the monies paid to the accused did not originate from UKSB," he said.

Mohd Yazid also said the prosecution did not produce any sample envelope used for the alleged cash payments, remarking that he found it hard to imagine what kind of envelope could fit the bill stacks amounting to hundreds of thousands at the material time.

Thus, the judge said he was unable to consciously make a finding that the monies were received by Ahmad Zahid as suggested by the prosecution based on transactions recorded in a ledger — which had listed cash payments to various ministers, politicians and civil servants — owned by UKSB.

Furthermore, Mohd Yazid said neither close-circuit television footage nor toll receipts on delivery visits to Ahmad Zahid's house or the deputy prime minister's official residence — where the offences allegedly took place — were produced in court to support the prosecution's case.

As for the key prosecution witnesses being unreliable, Mohd Yazid said Tan had not mentioned he paid a sum of RM3 million to Ahmad Zahid in his witness statement and admitted to saying it was an afterthought under cross-examination.

"This admission of an afterthought by the key prosecution witness is more than sufficient for me to find that he was with zero credibility," he said.

Ahmad Zahid faced 33 charges of receiving bribes amounting to S$13.56 million (RM42 million) from UKSB as inducement for himself in his capacity as a civil servant and the then home minister to extend the contract of the company as the operator of the One Stop Centres in China and the VLN system as well as to maintain the agreement to supply VLN integrated system paraphernalia to the same company by the Home Ministry.

He was also charged with another seven counts as home minister who obtained S$1.15 million, RM3 million, CHF15,000 and US$15,000 in cash from the same company for himself in connection with his official work.

Ahmad Zahid, who was in the dock dressed in a white baju Melayu top and black trousers, appeared calm as the judge read out his two-hour long decision.

The public gallery immediately erupted with cries of Alhamdullilah (Arabic for praise be to God) when the judge made the no prima facie ruling.

Lawyers Hamidi Mohd Noh, Datuk Ahmad Zaidi Zainal and Datuk Hisyam Teh Poh Teik appeared for Ahmad Zahid.

Deputy public prosecutors Datuk Raja Rozela Raja Toran, Abdul Malik Ayob, Zander Lim and Thavani Balakrishnan appeared for the prosecution. - Malay Mail, 23/9/2022


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RM6 million was a political contribution, not kickbacks for passport chip contract, Zahid says

He says he had no authority to appoint Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd as the supplier as such decisions lay with the finance ministry.

Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi arrives at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the Kuala Lumpur High Court today that the two cheques amounting to RM6 million received from Syarikat Sarana Kencana Sdn Bhd were political contributions during his time as the deputy prime minister, not bribes.

Zahid, 69, said allegations that the cheques received through former Datasonic Group Bhd deputy managing director Chew Ben Ben were inducements to appoint Datasonic Technologies Sdn Bhd (DTSB) as a supplier of passport chips for five years were untrue and slanderous.

“I wish to stress that the decision to appoint DTSB was not mine. I had no authority to make the final decision as it was under the jurisdiction of the finance ministry.

“The process carried out by the finance ministry, home ministry and immigration department on awarding the polycarbonate contract to DTSB was in order and according to the stipulated procedure.

“All procedures were conducted appropriately by my officers at the home ministry and this was verified by the finance ministry before the contract was awarded to DTSB,” he said when questioned by his lawyer, Ahmad Zaidi Zainal, during his defence against 47 charges involving tens of millions of ringgit in funds belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

Twelve of the charges are of criminal breach of trust, eight are of corruption, and 27 are of money laundering.

Zahid said during his time as home minister, former DTSB director Mohamed Hashim Mohd Ali had submitted a letter applying to supply passport chips for five years or 12.5 million chips which would be embedded in the Malaysian passport polycarbonate biodata page via direct negotiation.

“When it involves direct negotiation, it involves directives from the treasury as well as the internal procurement of the home ministry. Furthermore, I stated that the finance ministry determines the award of direct negotiations to any company that has made an application not at the procurement level of the home ministry,” he said.

To Zaidi’s question on how he knew Hashim, Zahid said he met Hashim, who was then the army chief, when he held the position of political secretary to the defence minister.

“He (Hashim) later became the director of several listed companies, including DTSB. I have known him for more than 20 years since I was in the defence ministry, not because of his involvement in business but as an officer of the armed forces,” he said.

He said Sarana Kencana was owned by Hashim and Abu Hanifah Noordin, the former managing director of Datasonic Group Bhd.

The Bagan Datuk MP also said that Abu Hanifah, who is the 32nd prosecution witness, had stated in court that the cheques were given to him as a political fund which was part of a charity.

“Chew Ben Ben (the 34th prosecution witness) also testified during re-examination by the prosecution that based on his understanding, political money is also included as charity.

“Abu Hanifah and Chew also stated that the issuance of these two cheques had nothing to do with the appointment of DTSB to execute the polycarbonate contract. In fact, the cheques that were credited into the customer account of Messrs Lewis & Co were a political contribution to me,” he said.

According to the 14th and 15th charges, Zahid is alleged to have received bribes amounting to RM6 million from Chew as a reward for appointing DTSB to implement a passport chip project for a period of five years or for a total of 12.5 million chips to be included in the polycarbonate biodata page of Malaysia’s international passport by the immigration department through direct negotiations under the home ministry.

The trial is being conducted before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah. - Malaysia Now, 26/5/2022

Zahid says never used RM6 million political donation for personal benefit

He says he never deposited the money into his accounts but instead handed it over to legal firm Messrs Lewis & Co, the trustee of his charity outfit Yayasan Akalbudi.

Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama
Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi at the Kuala Lumpur court complex today. Photo: Bernama

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told the High Court today that he had never used the RM6 million allegedly received as a political donation from the deputy managing director of Datasonic Group Berhad (DGB), Chew Ben Ben, for personal benefit.

Zahid, 69, also said he had never deposited the money received through two cheques into his personal accounts but that he instead handed over the money to legal firm Messrs Lewis & Co, the trustee of his charity outfit Yayasan Akalbudi.

The Bagan Datuk MP repeatedly stressed that he chose not to deposit the money into his accounts or use it for his personal benefit.

"Even though at that time I was holding the post of deputy president (of Umno) and that money could be used for political purposes, I chose to use it neither for politics nor for personal purposes, but instead to channel it for charity, waqf and religious activities," he said during cross-examination by deputy public prosecutor Abdul Malik Ayob. 

Zahid is on trial for 47 charges: 12 of criminal breach of trust, eight of corruption, and 27 of money laundering involving tens of millions of ringgit belonging to Yayasan Akalbudi.

When asked by Malik why the RM6 million he claimed was a political donation was not deposited into the accounts of Umno or Barisan Nasional, Zahid said it was "not necessarily (so)".

"If a politician receives a political donation, the money doesn’t necessarily need to be deposited into his party’s account as nowhere on the cheque were the words ‘donation for political party’ written.

"If money is given to a politician, he has the discretion to deposit it into his own account or any other account he deems fit," he said.

Zahid also disagreed with Malik’s suggestion that the RM6 million he received from Chew was a bribe.

In the 14th and 15th charges, Zahid is accused of receiving bribes amounting to RM6 million from Chew as a reward for appointing DTSB to implement a passport chip project for a period of five years or for a total of 12.5 million chips to be included in the polycarbonate biodata page of Malaysia's international passport by the immigration department through direct negotiations under the home ministry.

The trial before judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah continues. - Malaysia Now, 22/8/2022

 

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

After Najib’s MP disqualification put on hold, NGOs call for constitution to be amended(Focus) so no other criminal can remain an MP after criminal appeals over?

 See full statement:-

Disqualification should be at end of criminal appeal - not delayed for other reason? Repeal Article 48(4)(c) FC?Will these criminal MPs still receive very high pensions?

After Najib’s MP disqualification put on hold, NGOs call for constitution to be amended

FOUR human rights groups today called for the repeal of a clause in the Federal Constitution that allows further delay of a federal lawmaker’s disqualification pending a petition of pardon, even after they were convicted in court.

They said an MP convicted of a crime, like former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, should be immediately disqualified as an MP after all appeals against their criminal conviction are disposed of.

“The disqualification as MP by reason of criminal conviction should never be further delayed by reasons of application for pardon by the King or state rulers,” non-governmental organisations (NGOs) ALIRAN, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (MADPET), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM) and Workers Hub For Change (WH4C) said.

“As such, Malaysia must justly repeal Article 48(4)(c) of the constitution, which allows further delay of disqualification as MP by reason that a petition of pardon has been filed.”

As the issue cannot be resolved until the constitution is amended, the four groups called for the tabling and passing of a Constitutional Amendment Bill when the Dewan Rakyat sits again next month.

In a statement today (Sept 19), ALIRAN, MADPET, SABM and WH4C clarified that it is still reasonable to delay disqualification of an MP until they have fully exercised their right to two appeals, which is part of the right to a fair trial.

Kuala Lumpur High Court (Pic credit: Hari Anggara | Malay Mail)

“The lower courts could have made a mistake so a delay until the appeal/s are over is reasonable,” they noted.

“However, after the court’s criminal appeal processes are over, there is no longer any reasonable justification to again delay the disqualification of the criminal MP simply because they have filed a petition for pardon to the King or state ruler.”

A pardon, they added, has “nothing to do” with the fact that the said MP was proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, convicted and sentenced.

On the contrary, a pardon is essentially for instances where the repentant convict is sorry for their crime and has reformed or when a serious miscarriage of justice took place.

“Mockery of the law and court process”

“If the King or state ruler comes in fast and pardons Najib or any other convict, would it not be seen as making a mockery of the law and entire court process that lasted about four years in Najib’s case?” they asked.

They further noted that while Najib was found guilty of all criminal charges and the total sentence of imprisonment was 72 years, the courts “mercifully” decided that all the sentences were to run concurrently so he now only has to spend 12 years in prison.

“Thus, even in a later consideration of a pardon, it is important that the King and/or state rulers take note of the 72-year sentence,” ALIRAN, MADPET, SABM and WH4C said.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak (in pink) and Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Ahmad Shah (in purple) (Pic credit: Financetwitter)

Such a delay of an MP’s disqualification also denies the right of the people in the affected constituencies of such lawmakers to “speedily choose” a new, “clean” representative.

Besides that, Malaysians still have to continue paying a convict their salary and allowances even after the High Court finds them guilty and the right of two appeals is exhausted.

“With regard to public servants and peoples’ representatives like MPs and state assemblypersons, ministers and prime ministers, a criminal conviction ought not only lead to a disqualification of the MP but should also include the cancellation or reduction of their pension, especially for those convicted for crimes related to abuse of powers, criminal breach of trust, money laundering, corruption and such crimes while in office,” they said.

“Why should Malaysians continue to bear the burden of having to pay tens of thousands of ringgit monthly in pensions to Najib, a criminal convicted for abuse of position, criminal breach of trust and money laundering until he dies, and thereafter to his dependents?”

The four groups also called on the Government to enact clear laws and enactments that will clearly set out procedures and rights of the pardon process as well as the time limit for disposal of petitions of pardon.

“As it stands now, Najib’s petition for pardon may not even be disposed of for years and so he may stay on as the Pekan MP until the next elections,” they lamented.

On Aug 23, the Federal Court upheld Najib’s seven charges of power abuse, criminal breach of trust and money laundering, RM210 mil fine and 12-year jail sentence in his SRC International RM42 mil corruption case. He is currently serving time in Kajang Prison.

Najib has since applied for a royal pardon from the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the King has the power to grant pardons for offenses committed in Kuala Lumpur; it was the Kuala Lumpur High Court that heard and ruled on Najib’s SRC International case. – Sept 19, 2022, Focus Malaysia

 
NGOs urge govt to amend Constitution, let Pekan choose new MP
Published:  Sep 19, 2022 12:10 PM
Updated: 2:15 PM

A group of NGOs urged the government to repeal a provision of the Federal Constitution which allows former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak to remain as an MP until his royal pardon process is completed.

In a joint statement, the group called for the immediate repeal of Article 48(4)(c) of the Federal Constitution, to prevent any unjustified further delay in an MP’s disqualification so affected constituencies can choose a new representative.

The statement was issued by human rights activist Charles Hector on behalf of four NGOs, including Aliran, Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet), Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), and Workers Hub for Change (WH4C).

“We adopt the position that a parliamentarian convicted of a crime, like Najib, should immediately be disqualified as MP after all the appeals against criminal conviction are over,” said Charles.

He said Malaysians have waited for four years after Najib (above) was first charged in July 2018 over the SRC International Sdn Bhd case, to the date the Federal Court rejected his final appeal last month.

He insisted there is no longer any reasonable justification to delay the disqualification of the criminal MP once the appeal processes were over, even though Najib has filed a petition seeking a royal pardon.

Supporters of former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak outside the Istana Negara, Aug 24, 2022.

“The pardon has nothing to do with the fact that the said MP has been proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, convicted, and sentenced.

“This delay denies the right of the people in the affected constituencies to choose a new MP. Malaysians still had to continue paying a convicted MP his salary/allowances even after the High Court found him guilty, and then until the right of appeals is exhausted,” Charles said.

The group also felt that Najib should not be granted a royal pardon.

Charles said a pardon should only be for repentant convicts who are sorry for their crime and have reformed, not just because the criminal is a former political leader.

“Alternatively, pardons may be because of a serious miscarriage of justice – but then, should the ruler ‘pardon’ or should it justly be dealt with by the courts?

“If the ruler comes in fast and pardons Najib or any other convict, would it not be seen as making a mockery of the law and entire court process that lasted about four years, in Najib’s case?” he asked.

Why bear the burden?

The group also urged the government to cancel or reduce the pension of convicted lawmakers, ministers, prime ministers, and public servants, especially when they were found guilty of crimes related to abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, money laundering, and corruption while in office.

“Why should Malaysians continue to bear the burden of having to pay tens of thousands of ringgit monthly in pensions to Najib, a criminal convicted for abuse of position, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering, until he dies and thereafter to his dependents?”

Kajang prison in Selangor

Charles also urged the government to set a time limit for the disposal of petitions of pardon.

On August 23, the Federal Court upheld Najib’s conviction on charges involving abuse of power, criminal breach of trust, and money laundering linked to RM42 million of SRC International Sdn Bhd funds.

With that, he was sent to the Kajang Prison in Selangor to serve his 12-year jail sentence. Najib was also slapped with a fine of RM210 million.

He filed a petition for a royal pardon on Sept 2. - Malaysiakini, 19/9/2022

Also carried in CHINA PRESS in Mandarin 

 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Amanah has to stop imitating UMNO by delaying its party elections (Focus Malaysia)

 

Amanah has to stop imitating UMNO by delaying its party elections

THAT Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) has decided to delay its election slated end-2022 in view of the 15th General Election (GE15) is somehow self-serving as it merely extends the term in office for party leaders whose term in office is meant to expire by end of this year beyond the party constitution/rules set limit of 3 years.

Describing this as a bad excuse, lawyer and social activist Charles Hector said one possibility is that the party’s existing leadership is worried that they will not be voted in for the next term.

“State or Federal general elections can be held at any time – we saw this happening in Sabah, Melaka and Johor recently, and mind you, our GE15 can be held anytime in mid-2023 which are months away,” he penned in his latest blog post.

Charles Hector

“Did all Amanah members even have a say on the decision to delay its party elections by 18 months? Today, online facilities are there for all party members of Amanah to be part of the decision making process to delay its party election? Or had the party’s national leadership decided on their own?”

On Saturday (Sept 17), Amanah secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli said that the party will be delaying its election which is slated end-2022 for 18 months till at least June 2024 to focus on the 15th General Election (GE15).

Moreover, Hector stressed that party constitution must be adhered to strictly to for election to be held every three years unless there is a two-third majority to amend the party’s constitution to extend its election beyond a three-year period.

“Is delaying party elections a means to have control over the choice of MP/state assemblyman candidates or to make sure the current leadership supporters/cronies are chosen?” he asked.

“In any case, members are disrespected when party leadership decides to go against their own party constitution/rules to delay party elections beyond the three-year limit.”

Hector also opined that facilitating GE15 preparation is also a lame excuse for Amanah to defer its party election for “it really is simply negotiations (within the Pakatan Harapan [PH] alliance) and deciding on which seat Amanah will be contesting.”

“With Amanah doing this ‘delay of party elections’, the moral authority of PH to make an issue of UMNO delaying elections may be eroded … You cannot criticise others when you, too, did the same,” he asserted.

“After the Registrar of Societies (ROS) makes a decision, any ordinary member of the party (UMNO or Amanah) can appeal to the Minister. Interestingly for UMNO, not one member appealed the ROS decision to allow the delay of UMNO election to six months after GE15? Are all UMNO members OK with this?” – Sept 19, 2022 - Focus Malaysia, 19/9/2022

 

See earlier posts:- 

Amanah, just like UMNO, delays party elections beyond party constitution stated length of term of office? Democracy? Violation of party constitution? And members silence ...?