Saturday, July 20, 2013

Malaysia’s Mr No Further Action

Malaysia’s Mr No Further Action

News Analysis by The Malaysian Insider
July 20, 2013
Latest Update: July 20, 2013 09:56 am
Still waiting for Datuk Zulkifli Noordin to be charged with sedition or some law for uttering insulting words against Hindus? No Further Action.

Still waiting for Datuk Ibrahim Ali to be charged with threatening to burn Malay-language bibles? No Further Action.

Still waiting for Home Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi to be charged with causing grievous hurt? No Further Action.

Still waiting for Malaysia’s Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail to take action against the rich and powerful implicated in the judicial fixing appointments laid bare by the Royal Commission of Inquiry? Do Not Bother.

In the past 48 hours, the mercury has been rising over the sledgehammer and swift treatment meted out to publicity-seeking duo, Alvin Tan and Vivian Lee, for their mocking Facebook posts on Ramadan and conspicuous inaction against politically-aligned individuals.

Much of the blame has landed in the lap of the Royal Malaysian Police, historically a major player in nothing happening when the accused lives in a tony neighbourhood or has a few political cables.
But a picture is emerging that the biggest obstacle to fair play and justice being part of the country’s legal landscape is the man who has sworn to protect the integrity of Malaysia’s legal system: Attorney-General Gani.

At a press conference last night, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar deflected blame on the inaction against Perkasa vice-president Zulkifli for his cutting comments about Indians and the Hindu religion.

He said that the police completed their probe on BN’s stellar candidate for Shah Alam but were told by the AG that there was no evidence to charge him with anything. So the case involving the man who has enjoyed favourable ties with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak since he left Pakatan Rakyat has been classified as No Further Action.

No evidence? Maybe Gani and his investigators could have got away with that throwaway line in the pre-Internet days. Maybe.

But multitudes of Malaysians have seen Zulkifli insulting and demeaning Indians in a video clip that has gone viral. We have seen the evidence and it is damning, in the same way that thousands of Malaysians have seen that rubbish posted by Alvivi and have been mortified at the stupidity and crass insensitivity of the duo.

In the case of Alvivi, the AG charged them within a week of their Facebook post becoming public knowledge.  Great, Malaysians are all for speedy action.

So please explain what has happened to Ibrahim’s file?

On January 18, in Permatang Pauh, this is what he said: “Muslims must unite to protect their religion. They must seize those bibles, including the Malay editions, which contained the word Allah and other Arabic terms, and burn them.

“This is the way to show anger against the disrespect to our sensitivity."

This incendiary statement is seditious every day of the week. And yet, seven months later, still no action. Or No Further Action.

Of course, Ibrahim’s defenders such as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and greenhorn minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan said that it was not the Perkasa chief’s intention to insult the Bible.

He was merely articulating a common way to destroy an illegal publication. But here is where that ridiculous argument falls flat: it is not an illegal publication. Under the 10-point plan put forward by the Najib administration, it is permissible for Malay-language bibles to be imported into the country.
In any case, save the arguments about Ibrahim’s intention or motive for mitigation or the plea bargaining stage of the trial.

As former minister and noted lawyer Datuk Zaid Ibrahim wrote in 2011 that Malaysian AG’s assume two roles: legal adviser to the government and Public Prosecutor.

As Public Prosecutor, the AG has to ensure that the criminal justice system functions well and with integrity.  As a Public Prosecutor, the AG works for the rakyat, not Najib or the BN government.
“He is the barometer by which we measure our success as a country governed by the Rule of Law," said Zaid, who while he was the de facto Law Minister tried to persuade the then PM Tun Abdullah Badawi to make the AG answerable to Parliament.

Surprise, surprise but the Umno ministers and Abdullah were loath to consider changing the reporting structure of the Attorney General or alter anything to do with that office.

Why would they? Why change something when it ain’t broken, right?

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