(Petaling Jaya, Sunday): The Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is not being responsible in taking lightly the perversion of justice highlighted by the shocking disclosure of the Sabah election judge, Justice Muhammad Kamil that he had been given a directive over the phone that the election petitions before him should be struck off without a hearing.
Commenting on the judge’s shocking disclosure while visiting Kuching,
Abdullah said he was not aware of the matter, and added:
“I do not know of any such attempt, certainly it does not come from me or anybody that I know. May be it just a prank call from certain quarters, we do not know, only God knows.”
It is most unbecoming of the Deputy Prime Minister to dismiss a serious attempt to pervert justice by giving a telephone directive to a judge to dismiss petitions before him without a hearing and worse, to turn the judge’s shocking disclosure into a joke.
Even more objectionable, Abdullah’s flippant comments lean on the side of condoning such perversion of justice, when he should have made a categorical condemnation of such heinous conduct.
Abdullah should apologise for such an irresponsible response and immediately ensure that all the forces of the law are invoked to identify and prosecute whoever issued such an outrageous and preposterous telephone directive to Justice Muhammad Kamil to pervert the course of justice.
In fact, Abdullah should raise the issue in the Cabinet on Wednesday so that the Cabinet could come out with a strong statement deploring such perversion of the administration of justice and giving full backing for the full mobilisation of the forces of the law to ferret out the law-breaker and to bring him to justice, regardless of however high-ranking his political station.
In this connection, the person who had tried to suborn justice and issued the telephone directive to Justice Muhammad Kamil should own up publicly and apologise for his grave misconduct to mitigate the gravity of his offence.
Malaysians can still remember the strong words used by the former Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah when he shocked Malaysians with the revelation of a 33-page poison-pen letter which made 112 allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct against 12 named judges at the Conferences of Judges in Kuching in March 1996 and his directive to the police to launch investigations to “ferret out” and “bring to justice” the “conspirators” and “brutish beasts”.
“The investigation is aimed at striking at the venomous elements who are out to discredit the judiciary and subvert justice in our beloved country.
“As Attorney-General and Public Prosecutor, it is my duty and responsibility to ensure that the judiciary and the legal profession be cleansed of these treacherous elements who, by their vile, insidious, devious and scurrilous allegations in this pamphlet had sought to undermine the integrity of the judiciary and the administration of justice in this country.
“Today is the Ides of March. But unlike that fateful day in ancient Rome, when brutish beasts succeeded in killing Caesar, today we launch this pre-emptive strike at these conspirators and Insya Allah, we will ferret them out, whoever they are, and bring them to justice.”
The way Mohtar Abdullah handled the police investigations into the 33-page “poison-pen letter” allegations of corruption, abuses of power and misconduct is one of blackmarks on his record as Attorney-General and the whole episode should be reopened by the Chief Justice, Tan Sri Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah as there should be greater accountability and transparency on the poison-pen letter to restore public confidence in the independence, impartiality and integrity of the judiciary.
Arising from Justice Muhammad’s disclosure, the country is faced this time with “venomous elements” and “brutish beasts” in the executive who were trying to subvert the course of justice and who should be ferreted out to face the full sanctions of the law.
The Attorney-General Datuk Ainum Saaid should explain why she has not yet acted in accordance with the duty and responsibility of her office to ensure that the judiciary and the legal profession is cleansed of these “treacherous elements” by directing the police to launch full investigations to bring to justice whoever in the executive, whether in the Federal or Sabah State government, who unlawfully issued the phone directive to Justice Muhammad to strike out the election petititons without a hearing.
The Cabinet on Wednesday should call for an explanation from the Attorney-General and issue a public statement to declare the Cabinet position on this grave matter.