Mahathir’s response to Anwar’s police report was reported in yesterday’s New Straits Times as follows:
"Commenting on allegations that he was not addressing the contents of a police report lodged by former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Dr. Mahathir said: ‘That is his allegations…he must show the proof.
"'What is the proof that I prevented action (against the Minister), how did I prevent it, and what did I do to prevent,’ he said when asked if he had prevented action from being taken against International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Rafidah Aziz for alleged corruption.
"Dr. Mahathir said this in response to a question on allegations by Anwar’s former political secretary Mohd Ezam Mohd Noor that he (Dr. Mahathir) was not answering to the contents of Anwar’s police reports but was diverting people’s attention to other issues.
"Anwar had lodged a police report against Dr. Mahathir last month alleging that the Prime Minister prevented the Attorney-General from prosecuting Rafidah for corruption.
"Asked if his response meant he was denying the allegations, Dr. Mahathir said: ‘I am not denying anything…ask him to show (proof) first, I know what to say. He said I prevented (action from being taken), show how I did this. Did I put a kayu galang (barricade) or what?’"
This is a most irresponsible response by Mahathir to the most serious charges that have been made against the top government leadership for corruption and abuses of power in the history of Malaysia, by way of official police reports supported by documents made by a person who had held the the second highest government post in the country.
The issue is not a question of Anwar proving how Mahathir prevented
action being taken against Rafidah Aziz, but for Mahathir to rebut Anwar’s
police report dated July 9, 1999, referring to a document of the
Prosecution Division, Attorney General's Office dated 14 March, 1995 signed
by Abdul Gani Patail, which clearly stated there was prima facie basis
to prosecute Dato Paduka Rafidah Aziz on five counts of corruption under
Section 2(2),Ordinance 22, 1970.
Anwar said the Attorney General being satisfied with the investigations carried out by the Anti-Corruption Agency was ready to prosecute Dato Paduka Rafidah Aziz. The charges based on the contents of the document were as follows:
In his report, Anwar said the Attorney General did not proceed with the charges due to the interference of the Prime Minister, Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir Muhammad as a result of which the prosecution of Dato Paduka Rafidah Aziz could not as yet be carried to completion. As such, the failure to do so in accordance with the provisions of the law tantamounts to Dato Seri Dr. Mahathir, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, and Abdul Gani Patail having interfered in the carrying out of justice and acted against the provisions of the law.
The public interest issue here is not the dispute between Mahathir and Anwar, whether Anwar could produce proof how Mahathir prevented and what he did to prevent Rafidah from being arrested and prosecuted for corruption charges, but whether it is true that the Attorney-General was satisfied in 1995 that there were prima facie case to charge Rafidah Aziz on five charges of corruption, and if so, why the Attorney-General did not carry out his constitutional duties to uphold the law without fear or favour and prosecuted Rafidah Aziz.
The Prime Minister cannot just dismiss the four police reports which have been lodged by Anwar Ibrahim since early July on corruption and abuses of power at the highest levels of government, naming apart from Rafidah Aziz the Prime Minister himself, the first Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah, the former Malacca Chief Minister, Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, but should establish an independent commission of inquiry to clear his own name and that of the government.