Investigating the PM and the rule of law
18 August 2015
Lawyers for Liberty views with extreme concern Abdul Rahman Dahlan, BN’s Strategic Communications Director’s interview in The Star Online, “Swimming against the tide to get to the truth”, 16 August 2015, that raised a number of contentious matters regarding the 1MDB scandal.
In particular, he said there was an attempt to “criminalise” the Prime Minister via a draft charge sheet (that may or may not be authentic or adhered to the usual process) and therefore they had to “take some pre-emptive steps so that it doesn’t happen.” In doing so, he justified the removal of Gani Patail as Attorney-General, disbanding the 1MDB taskforce and the arrest, detention and transfer of MACC officers who were then involved in the investigations.
This is extremely shocking and appalling to say the least as he seemed to be saying that the PM cannot or should not be investigated as the investigations had amounted to “criminalising” the PM or even “toppling the government”.
This is clearly an exaggeration, an incredible assertion that cannot be taken seriously. No one is above the law including the PM and no investigation against him should be misrepresented to the public as “criminalising” or “toppling the government”.
It goes without saying that when any enforcement agency starts an investigation, the aim is to always build up a case by collecting evidence and in the process, a suspect can be “criminalised” and prosecuted. It would be preposterous for any enforcement agency not to “criminalise” a suspect in any investigation (provided there is sufficient evidence) as that would defeat the purpose of having an investigation in the first place.
What is further shocking and appalling is his admission of the “pre-emptive steps” taken – had clearly amounted to among others, a prima facie criminal offence of obstruction under section 186 of the Penal Code and/or section 48 of the MACC Act.
Instead of protecting the PM at all cost, the government should come clean with supporting documentation, and explain properly the RM2.6 billion that were deposited into the PM’s personal account rather than allowing the PM and his ministers to make one outlandish statement after another.
One of the clearest indicators of a civilised and progressive nation is the rule of law i.e. a nation that is governed by laws instead of arbitrary decisions of individual government officials and that every citizen is subject to the law, including those in government.
However, the government’s excessive and brutish behaviour in recent weeks has left a huge question mark on the rule of law in Malaysia. Arbitrary decisions were made with no regard to the law and due process, and consequently, our nation is surely falling down the slippery slope into a failed nation without the rule of law.
Lawyers for Liberty
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