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Monday, January 9, 2017

Please, minister, don't insult our intelligence!



Free Malaysia Today reported Minister in the Prime Minister's Deparment Abdul Rahman Dahlan as having said that an investigator should not assume the role of prosecutor at the same time.
This statement was apparently made in response to the former director of MACC's Special Operations Division, Bahri Mohd Zin, who opted for an early retirement due to his purported frustration with the lukewarm reaction of the present government in handling the investigation into SRC International.
In so far the Rahman's statement on the dichotomy of the investigator and the prosecutor is concerned, I fully concur with his view.
In this connection, apparently his official statement was much better than that of his colleague, Ahmad Maslan.
However, there is a popular saying attributed to the Fourth Caliph of Islam, Caliph Ali, which runs as follows: "One may say something correct, but such a statement is nevertheless intended for wrong reasons" - to support tyranny, for example.
Be that as it may, I believe one has to judge the statement by Rahman (photo) in the light of such a popular saying of the Caliph Ali. Why do I say this?
The answer may be found in his flawed reasoning. Maybe, if we still live in a primitive world, we would easily buy his argument. But, mind you, Rahman Dahlan, we are in 2017 now!
In defending the decision of the attorney-general (AG ) in not preferring any criminal charge against any perpetrator in the corruption involving SRC International, Rahman reasoned that not all the investigations should have ended with prosecution despite the fact, according to Bahri, there was smoking gun proof that chunks of money had been misappropriated.
Rahman also contended that the absence of prosecution was due to myriad of reasons. They were, inter alia, due to lack of merits in the case or incomplete investigations.
With due respect, such reasons, viewed from any perspective, are very very fragile. Incomplete investigation, in my view, should have not ended with "no further action".
If at all it is true that the investigation was not complete, the AG would definetely have other recourses or remedies. Certainly, there is no law barring the AG from returning the incomplete investigation papers to the MACC for it to duly complete the investigation.
After all, that has been the customary practice so far. Unlike a civil suit, any criminal prosecution does not involve any limitation period.
Political survival of the PM
Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows for a fact that SRC International has links with IMDB and in turn, with the prime minister. When it involves the prime minister, it will also, by extension, involve his political survival. Thus, the prime minister has every reason to keep the SRC fiasco away from him.
Therefore, one is fair to ask: "Was the lack of prosecution due to the absence of evidence or green light from the prime minister?"
Truth be told, the present legal framework has also put the AG in a precarious position. This, in my view,also contributes to the absence of prosecution against the prime minister.
At present, the AG is assuming dual roles, thus jeopardising his independence and impartiality, which come with the job.
First, the AG is a legal adviser to the prime minister and his government. Secondly, the AG is also, at the same time, the head of any criminal prosecution. To add salt to the injury, the prime minister has also a say in the appointment of the AG.
All these elements have caused a lot of problems for the AG to perform his prosecutorial task independently.

MOHAMED HANIPA MAIDIN is the MP for Sepang.- Mkini

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