KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission has no power to record statements from lawyers who accompany their clients during interviews with the commission, the High Court held.
Judge Datuk Zaleha Yusof also quashed two notices issued by the MACC to two lawyers to record their statements in relation to a corruption case.
She also allowed an application by the lawyers, Latheefa Koya and Murnie Hidayah Anuar, to get the court’s declaration that the notices dated March 19 were wrong, invalid and an abuse of power under the MACC Act 2009.
“I did not see any logic ordering the applicants (Latheefa and Murnie) to give statements on the pretext of assisting investigation when they are merely lawyers attending to their client.
“To me, the issuance of the notices is clearly an act of intimidation and an abuse of power,” said the judge.
Zaleha added that MACC’s action was an attempt to obtain privilege information between a lawyer and a client.
The judge made no order as to costs.
Senior federal counsel Effandi Nazila Abdullah told reporters that he would seek instructions from the Attorney-General whether to appeal against the court’s decision.
In their judicial review application, Latheefa and Murnie named the MACC, the government and MACC assistant superintendent Suziana Ali as respondents.
They claimed that they were issued with the notices when they accompanied their client, former National Feedlot Corporation consultant Datuk Shamsubahrin Ismail, to the MACC office.
They stated that Shamsubahrin was there to give his statement in relation to his corruption allegation against NFCorp executive chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail.
They alleged that they were served with the notices after Shamsubahrin insisted their presence with him during the interview.
Speaking to reporters, counsel R. Sivarasa who acted for the lawyers said he hoped that the court’s decision would stop future repetition of such abuse of power by investigating agencies.
“This is important because we have observed regular abuse by the police, MACC and other investigating agencies by insisting on recording statements from lawyers who are present when statements are being recorded from their clients,” he said.
Read more: Court quashes MACC’s notices to record lawyers’ statement – Latest – New Straits Times http://www.nst.com.my/latest/court-quashes-macc-s-notices-to-record-lawyers-statement-1.210239#ixzz2JdQfyMhc
By Irdiani Mohd Salleh, New Straits Times, 30 January 2013