(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah said yesterday that the enhancement of the sentence of DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng from a RM15,000 fine to three years’ jail was not politically motivated.
He said his office prosecuted the case based on evidence and not on political favour.
"I would like to stress here that we are not involved in any political party in the country as our decision was based on present law and evidence given to us.
"We do not need advice from any political party or political leader, including the Prime Minister, in making decisions or handling cases."
The Attorney-General can give his explanation but what credibility does he command among the Malaysian people and what is the percentage of the people who believe his explanation?
Is the Attorney-General prepared to submit to a public opinion poll as to whether Malaysians generally regard Guan Eng’s charges under the Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act are "politically motivated"?
Immediately after the Court of Appeal decision enhancing Guan Eng’s sentence from RM15,000 to three years’ jail, Amnesty International protested against the decision as it regards the charges to be "politically-motivated".
Is the Attorney-General prepared to have a meeting with delegations from the Amnesty International and other international organisations to convince them that the charges against Guan Eng are not "politically-motivated"?
Guan Eng’s case is tragic for many reasons not least of which was the successful prosecution of Guan Eng as having attacked the judiciary, when all he set out to do was to was to respond to the pleas for help of the Malay grandmother of the underaged girl who had nowhere to turn to in the fight to defend the human rights and woman rights of her underaged grand-daughter against the might, power and influence of the then Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik.
In the process, Guan Eng had the occasion both inside and outside Parliament to censure Mohtar Abdullah for his handling of the cases of Rahim Tamby Cik and the underaged girl.
If the criticism of the unfair handling of the cases of Rahim and the underaged girl was an attack on the administration of justice, why wasn’t Marina Mahathir, the daughter of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, also charged as she had written in her column in The Star on 9th November 1994 about the "gross mockery of justice" on the same matter, and she said:
"As a woman, especially a Muslim woman, I am angry, disgusted and ashamed. I have always thought that one of the foundations of my religion was justice. It cannot be subsumed to worldly things like politics.
"As a mother I now have real fears for my daughter. What protection can we hope for our daughters if, in the interests of politics, a minor can so easily be sacrificed?
"Are we only to hope to God that the real criminals will be brought to justice at a later date because Man is too weak to ?"
I am not in any way suggesting that the Attorney-General should have also charged Marina Mahathir in the way that Guan Eng was charged, but to point out why the Attorney-General lacks credibility when he claims that the charges against Guan Eng are not politically-motivated. Mohtar Abdullah should also explain to Malaysians and the world the reasons for the selective prosecution of Guan Eng when the High Court judge who wrote the 33-page poison-pen pamphlet with 112 specific allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 judges was not charged.
Mohtar had earlier described the pamphlet as the work of "treacherous elements who, by their vile, insidious, devious and scurrilous allegation in the pamphlet had sought to undermine the integrity of the judiciary and the administration of justice in this country."
In the end, Mohtar could regard the most serious attack in the nation history "to discredit the judiciary and subvert justice in our beloved country" as not serious enough even to warrant the preferment of charges against the writer of the pamphlet, and yet demands three years’ jail sentence for Guan Eng for defending the human rights and woman rights of an underaged Malay girl.
In the words of the title of Marina Mahathir’s column on the issue: "Whither Justice?"
Something is very wrong in our country when the chief legal officer of the government is perceived as upholding something far from the people’s understanding and concept of justice and fair play!