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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Catch us if you can: Najib and Rosmah running scared

Sulaiman Kamal | 4:41 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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There is something about a court of law that scares Prime Minister Najib Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor. Why? Because in a court of law, anything you say will be recorded for public record and you would not dare, unless intentionally, lie in an open court.
So when the issue of calling the first couple to take the witness stand in the sodomy trial against Anwar Ibrahim came around, both Najib amd Rosmah took the easy way out - show us the subpoena!
The KL High Court was told they had refused to co-operate. Interviews are usually conducted to determine whether a witness will be called to testify in a trial. “They have refused to come to court, to be interviewed by the defence unless they were served with a subpoena,” Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden told the court.

More than likely, Najib and Rosmah may have been briefed by the Attorney General, who must have assured the first couple it was fine to hide behind technicality. Both husband and wife have been accused of hatching the sodomy charges iagainst Anwar in a bid to tarnish and derail his political career.
A subpoena or summons is issued by a court of law to compel a person to be a witness in a court of law. It is provided for under Section 34(1) of Act 593 - Criminal Procedure Code. And this is the technicality that Najib and Rosmah are hiding behind. Until and when a judge signs a summons order, the two are not obliged to appear in court.
Judiciary muzzled since the 80s
This bit of technicality enforces the fact that the Judiciary in Malaysia is in such a broken state that law and order is dictated by an elite few who hold high office in Malaysia.
The 1988 Malaysian constitutional crisis (also known as the 1988 judicial crisis) was a series of events that began with United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) party election in 1987 and ended up with the suspension and the eventual removal of the Lord President of the Supreme Court, Tun Salleh Abas, from his seat.
The Supreme Court in the years leading up to 1988 had been increasingly independent of the other branches of the government. Matters then came to a head when Mahathir Mohamad, who believed in the supremacy of the executive and legislative branches, became Prime Minister. Many saw his eventual sacking of Salleh Abas and two other Supreme Court judges as the end of judicial independence in Malaysia, and Mahathir's actions were condemned internationally.
Since 1988, there have been regular calls for an official review of the government's actions throughout the crisis.
In 2008, newly appointed de-facto Law Minister Zaid Ibrahim said the government had to make an open apology to the sacked judges, calling the government's actions during the crisis "inappropriate". Not long after, Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi called the crisis one which the nation had never recovered from, and announced ex gratia compensation for the sacked and suspended judges.
And though all the above was done by Najib’s predecessor, it had not return the judiciary to its former state. Instead, Najib himself has successfully manipulated the courts so as not be called as witness even-though his involvement in both the Scorpenes and Sodomy II cases are glaring.
Strong grounds to summon 1st couple
Anwar Ibrahim has strong grounds to summon Najib and Rosmah to the stands as witness as it will reveal what was discussed or advised by the Prime Minister to Saiful when the latter met him at his office, three days before making a police report against Anwar Ibrahim.
Najib had initially denied knowing Saiful, as he had also denied knowing the beautiful 28-year-old Altantuya who was murdered by two of his bodyguards in 2006. It was only when photographs taken of Saiful with his personal aide, in his office, emerged that Najib had to take back his words and state that he met Saiful and offered advice on Saiful’s next course of action.
Najib is also involved in the Scorpene submarines corruption case, which is linked to the Altantuya murder case. An investigation is now in the final phase and open court hearings due to begin in September. As Defense minister who sanctioned the deal with French vendor DCN, Najib is bound to be called as a witness by the French courts and if he chooses to ignore this summons, then he will be charge for disobeying a court order. Unlike the Malaysian judiciary, the French court will not sweep his disobedience under the rug.
Yet, to most Malaysians, it is amazing why Najib and Rosmah do not want to prove their innocence in a court of law. It is probably due to the fact that in a Malaysian court, the weight of innocence is on the defendant. One is innocent until proven guilty. And thus, since both Najib and Rosmah have refused their day in court, can anyone blame Malaysians for thinking the worst of them - that they may be guilty after all!

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