Some 500 people gathered outside the Plaza Masalam building in Shah Alam last night for a candlelight vigil held to mourn the death of Teo Beng Hock.
Led by Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim, the crowd paid tribute to the 30-year-old former journalist, who was described by friends and former colleagues as a good-hearted and friendly person.
Teo, who was working as the political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean Yong Hean Wah, is said to have plunged to his death from the building.
He was last seen at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Selangor office – located on the 14th floor of the building – where he was brought in for questioning over investigations into alleged misappropriation of funds by his boss.
Addressing the crowd, Ean Yong demanded a detailed explanation from MACC and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak over his aide’s death.
“This is a tragedy that could have been avoided if MACC followed proper procedures,” said the exco, his voice cracking with grief.
“He was only a
witness. I never thought he would not back.”
According to MACC, Teo was called in at 6pm yesterday and was questioned until 3.45am but was allowed to leave after that. However, Teo had instead chose to ‘rest’ on a sofa in the MACC office and was last seen at 6am.
His body was discovered on the roof top of Plaza Masalam, more than seven hours later – at 1.30pm – by a janitor. He had apparently fallen from the MACC tower block which is adjacent to the plaza.
‘Goes in alive, comes out a corpse’
Klang MP Charles Santiago told the crowd that a “good man went to the MACC (to assist them in their investigations) and came out a corpse.”
“How can we expect MACC or the police to protect the common man?” he asked.
The crowd also vented their anger towards Najib and chanted slogans such as ‘MACC murderers’ and ‘BN is cruel’.
Kampung Tunku assemblyperson Lau Weng San claimed that the ongoing MACC probe against Selangor Pakatan Rakyat state reps was nothing short of persecution.
“Najib has declared war on Selangor. He wants to take this state like how he took Perak,” added PKR supreme council member Badrul Hisham Shaharin.
Throughout the vigil, the participants who knew Teo recalled their final encounters with the deceased.
“He parks his car beside mine everyday. Now, I will not be able to see him anymore,” lamented Abdul Razak Ismail, the aide of Selangor exco member Dr Xavier Jeyakumar.
“I had meals with him so many times. I cannot believe that he is gone. MACC must pay for this,” a distraugted DAP party worker from Perak told Malaysiakini.
Fiancee barred from seeing his remains
Earlier in the evening, drama broke out on the fifth floor of Plaza Masalam when the police refused to allow Teo’s fiancee to see his body.
“Please… please just let me see him once,” she pleaded, sobbing uncontrollably.
The pair had known each other for five years and were supposed to register their marriage today.
Counsel for Teo’s family Gobind Singh Deo expressed regret that the police only allowed Teo’s elder brother to see the body.
He also criticised the police for only informing the family that they could appoint their own pathologist to inspect the body at the eleventh hour.
Gobind said the family was given only about half an hour to bring a pathologist. He confirmed that three pathologist were already at the scene.
“We have asked for the preliminary findings but they have given naught,” he exclaimed.
Another Selangor exco member Ronnie Liu demanded that the attorney-general take stern action against those responsible for Teo’s death.
“If MACC did not take him, he would still be alive. MACC must be charged for murder or manslaughter,” he said.
Eyebrows were also raised as to why the police forensics team took almost nine hours to remove the body.
At about 9.15pm, the police took Teo’s body out of the building through the loading bay, avoiding the horde of journalists, photographers and vigilers gathered at the main entrances.
The police truck carrying the body sped off from the crowded car park en route to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang, where a post-mortem will be carried out today.
It is understood that at least two forensics team inspected Teo’s body.
According to DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang, Teo’s mother in Alor Gajah, Malacca, had been crying non-stop since she was informed of the news at 5pm.
“Friends and relatives (are) in shock,” he said in a Tweeter message.
Teo’s mother was consoled by former DAP secretary-general Kerk Kim Hock.
By Wong Choon Mei
The Kuala Lumpur High Court has refused to grant Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s more time to appoint a new lead counsel after his lawyer discharged himself due to illness.
“This is bad news for me. I had great confidence in Sulaiman,” Anwar later told reporters.
“As it stands, the vibes are not too good. I need time to consult with my lawyers but the judge wants to proceed.”
Sivarasa Rasiah, one of Anwar’s lawyers, appealed to the court, saying that the reform icon was entitled to automatic trial postponement if the counsel discharged himself.
Sivarasa also said since it took the prosecution a year to bring the case to court, a short postponement would not hurt anyone now. But the lead prosecutor objected. The judge then ordered the hearing to proceed
Insisting the charges were a conspiracy to kill off Anwar’s political career, Sivarasa told the court the defence team would proceed “but under protest”.
“I am confident there will be no injustice. The request for adjournment is denied and the case will go on,” said High Court judge Mohd Zabidin Mohd Diah.
Application to compel government to furnish key documents
A prominent lawyer, Sulaiman is in hospital for treatment and has sought to be discharged not just from Anwar’s trial but from all his other cases.
The court then began hearing the reform icon’s application to compel the government to allow him access to key evidence needed to prepare his defence.
Edward Bon, another of Anwar’s nine-member legal team, told the court that the prosecution was compelled by law to provide evidence to the defence three weeks before trial began, not during trial.
He said his team was not “fishing” for evidence but asking for basic materials such as the June 25-27 CCTV tape recordings of the alleged crime scenes.
He also revealed that until now the prosecution had failed to provide the defence with list of witnesses it plans to call for Anwar’s trial. This is a basic legal right under criminal law.
Another colleague Amer Hamzah Arshad also said while the defence had the final chemists’ report, it needed to look into the note-sheets, such as on DNA, to determine exact methodology, a vital criteria to establish if the data was fairly obtained.
For example, in the first round of sodomy charges brought against Anwar in 1998, the prosecution suppressed key medical evidence showing there no signs of anal penetration on alleged complainant Sukma Dermawan, Amer said.
Anwar, who was found guilty and spent six years in jail, was later acquitted and the charges overturned. Sukma has since retracted his statement, saying his report incriminating Anwar had been tortured out of him by the Malaysian police.
Anwar’s lawyers then submitted that if the court rejected their bid for full disclosure, then the prosecution must not be allowed to enter evidence that was not submitted three weeks prior to trial.
Adjourned to Thursday
Lead prosecutor Yusof Zainal Abdin tried to immediately shoot down the defence’s presentation. He said his team had already supplied all admissible documents under Section 51(a) of the law, which states that only copies of written evidence and not blood samples and slides needed to be provided.
According to Yusof, the medical reports done on complainant Saiful Bukhari Azlan were neutral and the prosecution did not need to extend a copy to Anwar’s team, although a copy of the Hospital Kuala Lumpur report was still given.
The court then adjourned the hearing to Thursday, when Anwar’s lawyers will continue their rebuttal.
The court is also due to hear an application from Anwar to dismiss the entire prosecution team for bias because key figures involved in the current case, such as Attorney-General Gani Patail, have been named in other cases involving fabrication of evidence against him.
There is also another application to strike out the entire sodomy charge as two hospital reports – including from the government-run Hospital Kuala Lumpur – showed no evidence that Saiful had been sodomised at all.
If all his applications are dismissed, then his trial proper will begin. The reform icon, regarded by many Malaysians as their prime minister-in-waiting, has been accused of sodomising Saiful, a former staff, in June 2008.
He has pleaded not guilty and accused Prime Minister Najib Razak of framing him. The charges came about as Anwar was preparing to mount his parliamentary comeback.
The U.S. state department has gone on record to say that it believes that the sodomy charges against Anwar both in 1998 and now were politically motivated to kill his career.
THE MIGHT OF THE PEN
Kuala Lumpur 15/07/2009: Anwar Ibrahim was not present at the scene of the crime as alleged in the sodomy charge against him, the High Court here was told Wednesday. Counsel Edmund Bon submitted that this was contained in Anwar’s notice of alibi which was tendered to the prosecution last month. In the alibi, it was stated that there was no conclusive evidence on the penetration and this was confirmed by four doctors, he said.
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THE MIGHT OF THE PEN
Kuala Lumpur 10/07/2009: Two diaries, a photograph and a VCD were collected as evidence from actress K. Sujatha’s house, an inquest into her death heard yesterday. Investigating officer (IO) ASP Zulkifeli Pajar also told coroner Mohd Faizi Che Abu that three swabs taken from her home and sent to the Chemical Department tested negative for paraquat.
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By Wong Choon Mei
As his supporters busied themselves showering and shielding him with praises, Prime Minister Najib Razak is actually sitting neither pretty nor securely at all despite the massive outpourings of sycophancy.
Sycophants may be voters but not all voters are sycophants. No amount of contrivance can hide the under-performance nor the fact that he will go down in history as the PM who caused the greatest disunity amongst the people in his first 100 days in office.
Not only did he alienate the non-Malays with a power grab in Perak, he fractured his own community with his proposals of “unity” with PAS, the second biggest Malay party after Umno.
Najib also shattered the integrity of the country’s judiciary with pressure on the courts to dish out extraordinary rulings that have been condemned by the legal fraternity.
While this helped him cling to power in Perak, the seriousness of the loss of confidence in the country and its system has dealt a death-blow that has yet to be fully felt by Malaysians. The repercussion cannot be under-estimated and will reverberate on the economy for years to come.
As for his 1Malaysia slogan, it is better known as 1BlackMalaysia and wearing black has becomede rigeur amongst the young and the professional despite a nationwide scare campaign he launched with the help of his cousin, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.
We know what he has destroyed, but what has he built?
So in the past 100 days, what has Najib done? The pattern that has emerged is one of destruction, not construction. Ask yourselves, what has Najib built?
On the economic front, he has tried to create an image of change by liberalizing the economy but whether the headline announcements will do anything to bring back investments to the country is doubtful. Again TRUST is the all important word and once broken, it may be forever lost.
Confidence in the rule of law is vital, not just to foreigners but also to Malaysians. And this must be as per international standards, not according to his warped views nor those of his Chief Justice Zaki Azmi!
But sadly, what people see when they look at the country these days is the corruption, which has not changed, the police brutality, which has also not changed, the sham trials in the Perak crisis, which are new, and the overt manipulation in the sodomy case against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, which has recurred.
Is it surprising then that they see in Malaysia a country that can no longer be TRUSTED? For this deterioration, Najib will have to take the blame .
Even in the dismantling of the PPSMI, the policy of teaching Math and Science in English, his government looks insincere by setting a far-off 2012 implementation deadline instead of 2010. After wasting six years and at least RM4 billion of taxpayers’ money, will Najib really make the switch or will he find a new excuse later on?
A preference for form rather than substance
It has also become obvious in the past 100 days that ‘face’ is important to Najib. A vain personality, he has shown ruthlessness in standing his ground even when he is in the wrong.
Flashy overseas trips, including to China and South Korea, plus incessant talk of his “late father” were his reality. All these while ordinary Malaysians were struggling with a fast-sinking economy, job losses, gross abuse of power by the police, tensions in Perak and merciless crackdowns on democracy.
In his first 100 days, Najib also arrested more people than even ex-PM Mahathir Mohamad during the infamous Operasi Lalang in 1980s.
Ask yourselves, which other Malaysian PM has ever resorted to banning people from wearing black shirts? Indeed, this triviality is the real revelation of his calibre, not the obligatory round of cheers ringing through the Umno-BN media. That is merely sham praise for a sham PM.
For a true PM would listen to the people and try to correct the wrongs and reinforce the rights. He would build, not destroy.
The Pakatan Rakyat did not have to do anything to whittle down his 1Malaysia concept, he did it all himself with his doublespeak. It is on record for Malaysians to assess for themselves if he is indeed a leader whom they can trust.
PULAU PINANG, 9 Julai (Hrkh) – Barisan Nasional (BN) dan bekas Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon merupakan punca sebenar konflik yang berlaku di Kampung Buah Pala, Gelugor ketika ini dan bukannya Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat sepertimana yang gambarkan oleh media.
Ketua Menteri Pulau Pinang, Lim Guan Eng dalam sidang medianya tengahari semalam menyifatkan, kenyataan Koh Tsu Koon yang menyalahkan Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat kerana tidak memperdulikan keresahan penduduk di kampung terbabit adalah taktik terbaru bagi menutup kesilapannya menjual tanah tersebut pada sebuah syarikat swasta setelah hak milik tanah ditukar kepada Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan sepenuhnya apabila baki premium dibayar pada 27 Mac 2008.
Jelas beliau lagi, sepatutnya Koh yang juga Ahli Parlimen dari negeri ini tambahan lagi pernah menjadi Ketua Menteri harus masuk campur dengan membawa usul ini ke kabinet agar penyelesaian dapat diatasi.
“BN, Koh Tsu Koon dan barisan exconya kena dipersalahkan dalam hal ini kerana tindakan mereka menyebabkan penduduk Kampung Buah Pala dalam dilema. Padahal peristiwa melaksanakan projek besar tidak timbul sekiranya kerajaan BN waktu itu bersikap mesra dan tidak menipu, ” ujarnya.
Beliau juga mengesahkan Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat tidak mampu menyelamatkan kedudukan kampung terbabit kerana ketandusan kewangan melainkan berharap Kerajaan Pusat menebus kembali dengan membayar pampasan kepada syarikat Nusmetro Venturues (P) Sdn Bhd kerana didakwa mengalami kerugian tidak menjalankan projek yang dirancang ekoran penduduk menghalang dengan membawa ke mahkamah.
Namun, pada awal Jun lalu setelah syarikat berkenaan berjaya mengemukakan penghujahan di Mahkamah penduduk masih tidak mahu keluar dari kawasan seluas 6.5 ekar berikutan hak mereka dinafikan menerusi jalan penipuan sedangkan mereka tinggal di situ melebihi 100 tahun.
“Sebagai kerajaan baru yang memerintah, kita tidak boleh buat apa-apa kerana Pejabat Tanah dan Galian Negeri telah memberikan hak milik tanah kerajaan kepada Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan bertarikh 9 Januari menerusi rujukan mereka PTG/PMP/DTL/274 yang ditandatangani oleh Pengarah Tanah dan Galian Pulau Pinang, Haji Arifin Awang, ” terangnya.
Lim dalam kenyataan juga menyebut Kerajaan Negeri akan menggunakan Akta Kanun Tanah Seksyen 116 di mana sekyen 116 (1) (D) menyebut mana-mana tanah yang menjadi milik kerajaan apabila hendak dibangunkan mesti mendapat kebenaran secara bertulis sebelum pembangunan dibuat.
Beliau juga menafikan Kerajaan Negeri cuba lari daripada tanggungjawab sebaliknya Kerajaan Negeri sedaya upaya mencari jalan bagaimana untuk menyelamatkan kedudukan kampung itu daripada terus ditipu oleh BN.
Kerajaan Negeri juga berpendapat sekiranya mana-mana keluarga mahukan pampasan mereka harus bersabar kerana kerajaan sedang berusaha mendesak pemaju membayar pampasan sebanyak RM200 ribu kepada setiap keluarga.
Perkara itu sedang dibincangkan dengan semua pihak termasuk pemaju sehingga tarikh 2 Ogos akan datang dan selepas itu kerajaan akan mengkaji pampasan yang akan diberikan.
Menyentuh mengenai tuduhan seorang penduduk yang mengatakan jangan persalahkan Najib dalam hal ini sebaliknya menunding jari pada Kerajaan Pakatan Rakyat kononnya menandatangani perjanjian dengan pemaju pada 27 Mac 2008 iaitu selepas peralihan kuasa beliau berkata, Kerajaan Negeri tiada sebarang urusan dengan pemaju melainkan Kerajaan BN terdahulu bersama Koperasi Pegawai Kerajaan.
Ini bermakna Exco Kerajaan BN telah meluluskan dua kali tanah tersebut pada Koperasi iaitu pada 2004 dan 2006.
“Kerajaan Negeri Pulau Pinang sekarang tidak pernah merestui peristiwa yang berlaku di Kampung Buah Pala tetapi apa boleh buat nasi sudah jadi bubur. Kerajaan BN patut bertanggungjawab dalam kes ini, ” katanya penuh harap.
Turut hadir dalam kenyataan akhbar itu ialah Timbalan Ketua Menteri, Dr Mansor Othman dan Profesor Ramasamy serta Ahli Parlimen Bukit Gelugor, Karpal Singh. – mks. _
SHAH ALAM: Former Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is again embroiled in controversy, this time over his sprawling bungalow in Section 7 near here.
The still empty bungalow which was estimated to cost RM24mil, was said to have been built on two bungalow lots.
It was claimed that Dr Mohd Khir had bought the lots for RM2.9mil and RM900,000 respectively before building his bungalow.
He was also alleged to have spent about RM20mil on fixtures as well as furniture imported from Bali.
The issue on Dr Mohd Khir’s bungalow first surfaced in a blog during the run-up to the Umno election early this year.
The blog also carried aerial photographs of the bungalow.
Yesterday, Sekinchan assemblyman Ng Suee Lim accompanied members of the media to view the bungalow from up close.
He also raised questions on how Dr Mohd Khir had financed its construction.
From a small hill behind the bungalow, several other smaller buildings could be seen around the bungalow which was surrounded by a beautifully manicured lawn.
The whole area is protected by a very high wall, part of which seems to made of broken marble.
The front gate is massive, and of ornately carved steel while the side entrance of the gate is a carved wooden door.
Ng claimed the bungalow has a swimming pool and a playground, although they could not be seen from the hill.
Ng questioned how Dr Mohd Khir could afford to build such a huge bungalow on his Mentri Besar’s salary.
Urging the Malaysian Anti-Corrup-tion Commission to investigate the matter, Ng also questioned how Dr Mohd Khir could have purchased the second bungalow plot for only RM900,000 when its market price was much higher.
“He was only a dentist and had even lived in a rented house in Sekinchan before becoming an assemblyman. How could he have amassed so much money to buy this property?” he asked.
Ng also passed to reporters copies of land search documentation, which he claimed confirmed that Dr Mohd Khir and his wife Datin Seri Zaharah Kechik were the owners of the land where the bungalow was built.
This is the latest controversy that Dr Mohd Khir had to contend with since the last general election when Barisan Nasional lost Selangor to Pakatan Rakyat.
In March he was summoned before the Select Committee on Competence, Accountability and Transparency (Selcat) regarding the disbursement of state agency funds to Balkis – the Wives of Selangor Assemblymen and MPs Welfare and Charity Organisation – when he was the Mentri Besar.
In May, he was suspended for a year from the state assembly without privileges for his refusal to appear before the committee. – (THE STAR)
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
A partial view of the mansion which former Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo is allegedly building. — Picture by Jack Ooi
SHAH ALAM, July 6 — Selangor’s opposition leader is in the spotlight again, this time for allegedly building a palatial mansion which dwarfs the infamous Istana Zakaria built by the late Port Klang assemblyman Datuk Zakaria Md Deros.
DAP’s Ng See Lim today revealed documents which allegedly confirms allegations which first surfaced over the Internet months ago that Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Khir Toyo owns the mansion on Jalan Suasa 7/1L in Shah Alam.
The Sekinchan assemblyman said the resort-like home of the former mentri besar had been built on two plots of land measuring over 50,000 sq ft or 1.17acres.Ng, who produced documents from the State Land Department said, Dr Khir had purchased one lot measuring 31,794 sq feet for RM2.9million while another lot measuring 20,427 sq feet was purchased for RM900,000.
He further alleged that the mansion, which sits behind high walls, was built at a further cost of RM20 million.
“I would like Dr Mohd Khir, who was a dentist before becoming mentri besar for eight years, to explain how he accumulated so much wealth that he could afford to build the house that cost at least RM24 million.”
Pictures of a palatial mansion surfaced on the Internet just before the Umno elections.
Asked about it then, Dr Khir said it was the work of his enemies in Umno.
Photographs of the property which show a swimming pool and several buildings first surfaced on the antikhirtoyo.blogspot website on March 20.
Dr Khir, who had been a frontrunner in the Umno Youth chief’s contest, eventually lost the election to Khairy Jamaluddin.
By Kenny Gan
There are some events in a nation’s history that have deep and lasting effect, causing ripples that radiate outwards and affect the thoughts and feelings of future generations.
Some are joyful and a cause for annual celebrations while others are tumultuous events that leave deep scars in the national psyche like a troubling memory that will not go away.
The Americans have to live with the psychologically disturbing aftermath of the Vietnam War while the rise of Nazism still haunts the German soul. Decades later, Americans are still traumatized by the assassination of John F. Kennedy while the British will forever be touched by the untimely death of their beloved Princess Diana.
So it is that in Malaysia, the political, social and legal turmoil caused by the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim and his subsequent sham trials will forever be etched into our national consciousness with deep scars of shame and regret that will not easily heal.
But despite the hurt and pain, they can either give us useful lessons to guide our future if we are brave enough to confront them or none at all if we are foolish enough to pretend they never happened.
The Court Proceedings of Augustine Paul
Augustine Paul was a judicial commissioner in the Melaka Sessions Court before he was promoted to the High Court weeks before Anwar trial specially to hear the case although concerns were expressed over how such a junior figure could be selected to preside over a case of such magnitude.
Anwar was charged with four counts of corruption which involved him as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister asking the police to take action against two individuals (his wife’s ex-driver Azizan and one Ummi Hafilda) who slandered him with accusations of sodomy in poison pen letters.
The trial began in November 1998. From the beginning, judge Paul illegally restricted Anwar’s defence team from raising the defence of political conspiracy although there was a fallout with Mahathir and an intense political storm before he was arrested and charged.
The prosecution tried its best to prove all manner of sexual misconduct involving men and women against him by presenting affidavits from police officers and hearsay evidence. Azizan the star witness was the only one who claimed to have had first hand evidence of Anwar sexual exploits, claiming he had been sodomized by Anwar.
A mattress said to contain seminal stains was carried in and out of court daily as a tawdry display of the prosecution’s most important physical evidence.
During the trial, judge Paul tried his best to protect the government by disallowing any embarrassing evidence or testimony from being tendered with cries of Irrelevant! This was to be his signature call throughout the trial.
There were sordid side shows that ran in parallel to the trial. Anwar’s tennis partner, Nallakarupan was arrested and slapped with a bizarre charge which carried the mandatory death sentence for forgetting to renew his license for 125 lousy bullets.
He later claimed that the Attorney-General, Mokhtar Abdullah had bargained a lighter sentence for him if he would implicate Anwar in sexual indiscretions. He refused and one of Anwar’s lawyers who brought this to the attention of the court was jailed for 3 months by judge Paul for contempt. This must be the first and only time where someone has been found guilty of contempt of the prosecution.
Anwar’s speechwriter, Munawar Anees, his adopted brother, Sukma Darmawan and Mior Abdul Razak, a fashion designer were seized by police and confessions of allowing Anwar to sodomize them were coerced out of them.
They were sentenced to 6 months jail each. As soon as they were released, they repudiated their confessions which they claimed were extracted under torture. Munawar filed a damning statutory declaration which detailed the manner in which he was psychologically and physically abused to extract his confession.
The relentless attack on Anwar’s character continued. The ex-driver gave dramatic accounts of being forced to be Anwar’s sex slave but his story was variable and unconvincing. Even more damning was that he admitted that there was no sodomy under cross-examination.
Chemist Lim Kong Boon testified that the stains on the mattress contain Anwar’s DNA mixed with several women. However in a brilliant cross-examination, his methodology and expertise were demolished and he was forced to admit that Anwar’s DNA could have been planted. The judge expunged the whole DNA evidence.
By mid-trial it was obvious that the prosecution could not sustain any of the allegations of sodomy or sexual misconduct. Undeterred, they sought to amend the charges to make it unnecessary for them to prove the truth of the sexual allegations.
In effect, the prosecution did not have to prove that Anwar committed a crime to convict him for asking the police to clear his name for the alleged crime. But if Anwar did not commit the crimes mentioned in the poison pen letters, was it wrong for him to ask the police to clear his name? Against the strenuous objection of the defence team, judge Paul allowed the amendment.
Having ruled the sexual evidence was irrelevant, judge Paul refused to allow Anwar the opportunity to rebut them although his character had been damaged by all the sexual allegations and the massive media coverage.
The trial proceeded with judge Paul disallowing the defence from tendering a taped evidence of political conspiracy. Reported evidence was inadmissible as hearsay when the defence tried to introduce them. Yet the prosecution was allowed to introduce double hearsay. In the grand finale, ten of the defense’s witnesses were disallowed from testifying.
When an application to disqualify the judge for being biased mysteriously vanished from the court registry, Anwar’s legal team had enough. They refused to participate any longer and told the judge they would not make the final submission for Anwar. Judge Paul chastised them for “obstruction of justice” and ruled them in contempt.
In a final parody, Augustine Paul declared that he was “answerable to God” before he convicted Anwar and handed him a harsh sentence of 6 years. The severity of the sentence for technical non-monetary corruption shocked observers. The U.S. State Department called the trial an abuse of human rights.
The Court Proceedings of Arifin Jaka
Not satisfied with their disreputable success, the prosecutors led by Gani Patail proceeded to charge him with sodomy. He was charged with sodomizing his wife’s ex-driver, Azizan Abu Bakar.
Judge Arifin Jaka ran a different court from Augustine Paul. He did not restrict the defence from introducing witnesses and evidence like Paul did though he allowed the prosecution tremendous leeway. He allowed the defence of political conspiracy. As a result, a lot of evidence which were embarrassing and critical of the government were exposed in court.
The star victim-witness proved to be an unreliable witness, changing his story many times under cross-examination and was scolded by judge Arifin for doing so. He claimed to have been sodomized 15 times but still visited Anwar’s family for 5 years after leaving their employment. There was no medical examination to prove that he had been sodomized.
The date of the offence was originally fixed as one night in May 1994. When Azizan testified that he had not been sodomized after 1993, the charge was changed to one night in May 1992. When the prosecution pointed out that Tivoli Villa, the place of the alleged offence had not been constructed yet in 1992, the charge was changed to one night between January and March 1993.
Despite the blatant manipulation of the dates to suit the testimony, Judge Arifin allowed it, saying it was just a simple amendment of a charge. The long interval of the latest date made it difficult for Anwar to defend himself by alibi.
To bolster their flimsy case, the prosecution tendered Sukma’s confession as evidence although Sukma had repudiated it as false and extracted under torture. Still, the judge allowed the evidence to be admitted.
In the end, Anwar was convicted on the unreliable testimony of one accuser whom judge Arifin maintained, “had no reason to lie” although it was brought to the court’s attention that Azizan had become a company director after making his allegation public. The judge handed down a savage sentence of 9 years to be served after the corruption sentence.
The Last Umno Prime Minister
The shoddy way in which the trials were conducted left no room for doubt that justice had not been served. There was no finesse, no artfulness, no pretense of partiality. They were parodies of justice.
If Anwar is to be convicted for sodomy again, it must be with another sham trial as there is simply no other way when two independent hospitals have found no physical signs of sodomy on the alleged partner.
Although things remain calm on the surface, civil society is traumatized by such naked display of power and crude perversion of justice.
The trust between the government and the people is broken and the government’s respect and legitimacy bleeds away. Deep undercurrents of discontent are created which must eventually manifest in some ways.
The social forces unleashed will take time to play out but there will also be immediate effects. Our law enforcement agencies which are already low on public confidence will be dragged even lower which will affect their efficiency and effectiveness. Court orders will not be respected and may not be obeyed. Public cooperation with the police will drop and crime and lawlessness will increase.
The cruel treatment of Anwar in 1998 led to the dawn of ‘Reformasi’ and the birth of the National Justice Party, later to become Parti Keadilan Rakyat. The stage was set for Mahathir’s early departure and it sowed the seeds of BN’s shocking loss of their precious two-thirds majority in 2008.
If Umno wants to maintain its hold on power in the post-tsunami era, the worst thing it could do is to undermine itself by heaping injustice on a popular Malay leader when support for BN among the non-Malays is at its weakest.
If Anwar is convicted again in another shoddy show trial, the social forces unleashed will ensure that Najib becomes ‘The Last Umno Prime Minister’.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIDER
Malaysia saw its performance drop in four categories — voice and accountability (level of democracy), political stability, regulatory quality and control of corruption.By Lee Wei Lian
KUALA LUMPUR, June 30 — A study by the World Bank suggests that Malaysia’s governance has deteriorated since 2003. The country fared worse in four out of six good governance categories in the World Bank study and improved in only two as of 2008.
The nation also lags well behind the scores of high income countries such as Australia, Japan and Switzerland. It scored better than Indonesia but remained far behind Singapore. Indonesia, however, saw its governance scores improve across the board since 2003.
Malaysia saw its performance drop in four categories — voice and accountability (level of democracy), political stability, regulatory quality and control of corruption.
In terms of its relative position to other countries, Malaysia also fell further behind countries in the same categories. It recorded an improvement in performance and relative position in only two categories — government effectiveness and rule of law.
The World Bank study uses a percentile method to show the relative ranking of a country. For example, a country with a ranking of 60 means that its score is higher than 60 per cent of countries in the study.
Malaysia has a rank of 32 (2003 ranking — 38) for voice and accountability, 50 (57) for political stability, 84 (80) for government effectiveness, 60 (70) regulatory quality, 65 (63) for rule of law and 63 (65) for control of corruption.
It is an indication of the divergent paths that Malaysia and Singapore took upon their split in 1965 that Singapore is the highest ranking country in three categories and near the top in all except for voice and accountability, where it ranked in the bottom third with Malaysia.
While Indonesia ranked in the bottom half for all categories, it nevertheless saw both its relative position and raw scores rise in the past five years. Significantly, Indonesia appears to be doing better than both Malaysia and Singapore when it comes to the practice of democracy.
While the study does not make a link between a country’s income and good governance, broadly speaking, countries that enjoy high incomes such as Australia, Canada, Sweden and Switzerland tend to score and rank near the top in all categories, while the poorest countries are likelier to cluster near the bottom.
Malaysia’s numbers suggest that the government’s emphasis on service delivery over the past five years is gaining traction but it is losing the fight against corruption despite numerous promises to eradicate the scourge.
Voice and accountability, defined as the extent to which a country’s citizens are able to participate in selecting their government, as well as freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media also deteriorated during this period.
In the category of political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, which measures the perceptions of the likelihood that the government will be destabilised or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including domestic violence and terrorism, Malaysia peaked in 2005, the year after the ruling Barisan Nasional government won its biggest ever mandate.
It went downhill from there and reached its lowest point in the last five years in 2008, which saw protestors and police clash on the streets and was also the year that the opposition made record gains at the ballot box.
The World Bank study, called the Worldwide Governance Indicators project, reports aggregate and individual governance indicators for 212 countries and territories over the period from 1996 to 2008.