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Monday, July 26, 2010

My Advice to MACC’s Abu Kassim: Emulate Dato Shafee Yahya

MACC Chief Abu Kassim should emulate Dato Shafee Yahya

by Din Merican

Shafee Yahya and Dr Kamsiah at Kalsom Taib Book Launch

I have finished reading ‘The Shafee Yahya Story: Estate Boy to ACA Chief”, a biography on the former ACA Chief as authored by his prolific writer and wife, Datin Kalsom Taib.

It is an inspiring story, not for all the achievements that most biographies attempt to do in glorifying the personality being written about, but because of the sobering yet simple and fundamental message being emphasised throughout. It is sobering because a person, in this case a civil servant, can be victimised and maligned even when he is just doing what is right and honest.

Dato Shafee Yahya: A Model Civil Servant

This fundamental message about being a civil servant is explained in the foreword by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah thus : “ I believe it should not be blind loyalty if the instructions are not right and not in accordance with government policy and general orders. In other words a civil servant must be direct, be truthful and be brave enough to say “no” if asked to do things that are not right”.

Dato’ Shafee Yahya was all that. He was the epitome of the civil servant as described by Tengku Razaleigh – direct, truthful and brave. More than that, his own personal values are peppered throughout this book by reference to legal and moral maxims in the numerous Quranic verses and hadiths. At the end of his career, Shafee Yahya was embroiled in a controversy when he raided the office of the D-G of EPU, Tan Sri Abul Hassan, and found large sums of money in the latter’s drawer. Despite all that, Abul Hassan went on to become the Governor of Bank Negara while Shafee suffered being maligned, by no less than the then Prime Minister, Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, for doing his job and for doing what is right.

The moral strength of Shafee’s personality is illustrated a page 274 of the book when he recounted the scolding he received from Dr Mahathir who accused him of trying to fix the D-G EPU at the instigation of Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Shafee’s reply was firm: “ I replied that it is totally wrong because it is totally wrong in law to fix anybody. As a Muslim it is a big sin to fix anybody.”

His uncompromising stand on such fundamental values is further amplified when he contemplated resignation three months short of his contractual retirement upon complaining the matter to the Chief Secretary of the Government (Ketua Setiausaha Negara) thus: “In my whole career with the Government, this was the first time my boss accused me of trying to fix somebody and also my disillusionment with the way the PM was interfering with my duty.”

Shafee Yahya was dragged into the Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s (DSAI) series of cases when his name was specifically mentioned in the charge against Azmin Ali as having abused his powers to close investigation in that matter. To Shafee, he would only state the truth in a court of law. He would tell it as it happened. He would tell the truth as it is regardless that it would put him on a collision course with the most powerful Prime Minister Malaysia ever had. And yet he did not waver, he remained direct, truthful and brave.

Mahathir the Fixer Extraordinaire

In March 2008, this matter was revived in a “Letter War” that erupted between Dr Mahathir and Dato’ Param Coomaraswamy about Dr Mahathir’s interference in an ACA investigation by Shafee Yahya. Already, Dr Mahathir’s demolition of the independence of the judiciary in the Tun Salleh Abas saga had struck fear throughout the whole arms and organs of the executive. The same was being done to ACA Chief Dato’ Shafee Yahya whose testimony in court was deemed “favourable” to DSAI’s defence. Shafee was set to be destroyed in the same manner that Dr Mahathir had done to Tun Salleh’s judiciary.

Instrumental in this demolition exercise was IGP Musa Hassan, the ACA and A-G Gani Patail, the same antagonists in other conspiracies against civil servants who were merely discharging their duties fearlessly. At page 280, under the subtitle “ AG closed the EPU and Dr Mahathir case”, the passage that is so prominent reads: “One wonders how the IGP and AG could have come to that conclusion.” That chapter sets out clearly how IGP Musa Hassan, AG Gani Patail and the ACA Investigation Director Datuk Mohd Shukri Abdul were involved in fabricating events to support their conspiracy. That chapter concluded- “There is something very unsettling about the statements of these three high officials of our enforcement agencies as reported in the media”.

Kalsom’s Book is a must read

I will not reveal more as I want Malaysians to buy and read this book. I want all Malaysians to support books which fill in the gaps in the untold history of our country. In this case, it is about a civil servant involuntarily embroiled in a conspiracy to get rid of a Deputy Prime Minister. It is frightening when the whole machinery of the government is used to destroy an individual.

It is frightening when the law enforcement agencies and the AG are the principal actors in the conspiracy. Instead of being a check and balance against each other from committing such abuses, they combine together to commit these abuses. They are parties to Amr Mungkar Nahmy Ma’aruf, the total antithesis of Amr Ma’aruf Nahy Mungkar. Ask Penang Chief Minster, Lim Guan Eng, who has adopted the correct Islamic maxim as the pillar of his government. It is in the context of upholding the truth in the face of adversities that individuals like Shafee Yahya stands tall.

Sodomy II goes on

DSAI is now facing Sodomy II. My friend, John R. Mallot, former US Ambassador to Malaysia, has written a piece of what this actually meant to Malaysia and Malaysians. As such, I will not say more on this as we must await DSAI’s continued trial on August 2, 2010. I wish to only highlight a most strange twist when a member of the prosecution team, DPP Farah Azlina, is rumoured in RPK’s recent posting to be “bonking” the main victim, Saiful Bukhari. The response of SG II Dato’ Yusof Zainal Abidien as reported by The Malaysian Insider’s Shazwan Mustapha Kamal almost all but confirmed this rumour to be fact. It is as if there is divine will at play to undo the Prosecution’s case piecemeal.

Back to 2007: Rosli’s Humiliation by MACC Thugs

Indeed, fate has a strange way of intertwining people and events. In March 2007, the mainstream media (MSM) went to town with the story of the “RM27 million Cop”. To add credibility, that story went on for months quoting sources deep within the ACA/MACC. Then in October 2007, during Ramadan just one day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Lawyer Rosli Dahlan was brutalised, arrested and charged. The MSM sensationalised that story and made it appear that Rosli was charged for hiding Dato’ Ramli Yusuff’s assets, the so called “RM 27 million Cop”, after the ACA investigation concluded that Ramli did not have that asset after all! Why else, after all that much sensationalised digging of Ramli’s assets, were the two charges against Ramli was for nothing more than a schoolboy’s joy ride truancy and omission to declare some small change. As against Rosli, the MACC have now admitted he was just wanted as a witness!

To understand why all of this happened to Rosli and Ramli, one has to know that at that time, Dato’ Ramli was the Director of the Commercial Crimes Investigations Dept. He was closing in on the heels of IGP Musa Hassan’s involvement with the Along loan shark and other prostitution and gambling syndicates.

Rosli was Dato’ Ramli’s lawyer trying to prevent an onslaught against the beleaguered Director CCID. Rosli thought he was doing national service by helping the CCID to prepare various affidavits to prevent the release a criminal Goh Cheng Poh better known as “Tengku Goh”.

Unknown to Rosli, IGP Musa Hassan and AG Gani was behind the attempt to release Tengku Goh, whose “Tengku” prefix to his name already suggested that Goh would enjoy royal immunity of the underworld. A few days later, six rank and file policemen were charged. IGP Musa Hassan accused them of trying to fix him up. Others became frightened when they saw six policemen and Lawyer Rosli being charged while the criminal Tengku Goh went scot free at the behest of the AG Gani Patail.

This prompted Dato’ Ramli to give a Press Conference of the grave and present danger that was besieging the PDRM when his men in blue were not defended by the Force but were instead hounded and pounded by their own IGP and the AG using the ACA/MACC. Dato’ Ramli hinted at a conspiracy to bring him down. That night, AG Gani was quoted in the all the mainstream electronic media as saying that Dato’ Ramli would be charged. And he was, the minute he came back from his umrah. Such haste, and they haven’t even interviewed any witness at that time!

Dato’ Ramli has since been acquitted without his defence being called. Both the courts in Kota Kinabalu and in KL made it very clear that there was no case against Dato’ Ramli. Judge Supang Lian wrote a damning judgment against IGP Musa Hassan as being an “incredible witness whose evidence is not to be believed”. Despite all that, Musa’s contract was extended. This was a repeat of the DG EPU, Abul Hassan, being made Governor of Bank Negara despite being raided and found to be with huge sums of money. Dato’ Ramli was maligned just as by Dato’ Shafee Yahya was maligned. Different scenario and players but the same script – you will be destroyed if you go against those in the corridors of power.

But more uncanny is the fact that Dato’ Ramli was Deputy Director of CID when DSAI was assaulted. Dato’ Ramli held back IGP Rahim Noor from further assaulting DSAI. Dato’ Ramli gave ointment to treat DSAI when his request to bring in a doctor to treat DSAI was refused. This black eye incident disclosed fabrication of evidence by Musa Hassan and Gani Patail. Dato’ Mat Zin, the investigator of the black eye incident swore an affidavit to detail the fabrications. And yet despite all that, these two rose and remained unscathed as the No.1 law enforcers in the country. What an irony!

Rosli Dahlan in the MAS versus Tajuddin Ramli Case

What is less known in this episode was that since 2001, Rosli has been the lawyer for MAS tracking the abuses of Tajudin Ramli which caused MAS to suffer losses of RM 8 billion. Rosli not only defended MAS in a RM300 million suit fought out in Switzerland, but Rosli had also advised MAS to sue Tajudin in several multi million ringgit suits.

These cases are still pending in the Malaysian courts. At the same time, MAS, while still under Idris Jala, instructed Rosli to lodge Police reports against Tajudin and various Police and AGC officers who colluded to NFA (No Further Action) the criminal cases against Tajudin. Like the closing of the DG EPU case, AG Gani Patail directed Dato’ Ramli to close the police case and to refer the case to the Securities Commission (SC) with a direction that the SC offer to compound Tajudin with a RM20,000/- fine. Very amusing, a RM20,000/- fine for an offence of RM 8 billion! No wonder Tajudin is still the wealthy man he is today, able to buy his way through his freedom.

Unhappy with AG Gani’s decision, Dato’ Ramli then accompanied Idris Jala with other prominent members of the MAS Board of Directors to meet PM Abdullah Badawi to complain about these things. As in everything else about Abdullah Badawi, nothing happened. But in this case, something did happen. Abdullah Badawi did the unthinkable by extending IGP Musa Hassan on a two year contract although crime was at an all time high. This was the beginning of all things ominous for Dato’ Ramli and Lawyer Rosli Dahlan.

In April 2009, Idris Jala’s successor in MAS, Tengku Azmil directed Shahari Sulaiman, the MD of MASKargo, to lodge an MACC report. RPK had posted the MACC report in his blog. Until today, nothing is heard about this. This further explains why AG Gani Patail is bent on finishing off Lawyer Rosli for relentlessly pursuing with a matter that he wanted close. Was there a pact between IGP Musa, AG Gani and Tajudin?

You may wonder why I am writing about all these. I am doing this because I am infuriated after reading The Shafee Yahya Story. I am rather pissed after reading today about Dato’ Abu Kassim, the Anti-graft chief denying there is selective prosecution. I am annoyed with his own sense of grandeur and self -delusion that the public perception of the MACC is improving.

To Abu Kassim I have this to say to you- who are you trying to delude? To Abu Kassim I say – perception is not what you think and say, but what the public think and say of you and your MACC. Unfortunately Abu Kassim, the public has nothing nice to say of you or your MACC. The Malaysian public does not believe nor trust you. It matters very little that the Government has hired for you the best public relations firm in Fox or APCO. It matters little that you have gone on long road shows to beat your own bragging drums of your achievements.

What matters is when you as the MACC Chief behave directly, truthfully and bravely as was shown by Dato’ Shafee Yahya. What matters is when witnesses no longer die in the custody of MACC like Teoh Beng Hock and there is no attempt at cover-ups. What matters is when professional people like Rosli is not fixed up or brutalised and intimidated by the MACC. What matters is when your officers like DPP Kevin Morais and Investigating Officer Saiful Ezral stop lying in court. They are bound to be caught in their lies as was shown in the Trial of Lawyer Rosli Dahlan. What matters is when the MACC do not act with blind loyalty if the instructions are not right and not in accordance with law.

The Trial of Rosli Dahlan has shown just too clearly that the MACC had acted not just rashly and negligently but was used to persecute an upright citizen and member of society. If you want to show integrity, act on the EPU DG case; act on Dr Mahathir’s interference with Shafee Yahya’s ACA investigation; act against Tajudin Ramli, the Police and AGC officers who NFA’d his case; act against IGP Musa Hassan and AG Gani Patail for fabricating evidence; act against all of these big sharks! Only when you do, then only will the public believe you. Then only will the public believe that the MACC is serious about eradicating corruption and abuses of public powers. Until you do, I suggest do not be delusional about gaining public confidence.

And by the way, your pictures adorned many pages of the book – The Shafee Yahya Story. I hope you will buy and read the book. And when you do, read Chapters 11 to 14. Read the evidence of all the abuses by IGP Musa Hassan and AG Gani Patail which will be staring you in the face. Let us then see if you can emulate Shafee Yahya!

courtesy of Din Merican

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