Why Is The Bar Council Now Silent
(FMT) – Chief Justice Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat must call on Attorney-General (AG) Idrus Harun to show cause why he should not face contempt of court proceedings over a controversial letter issued by his office to the High Court, says a former law minister.
Zaid Ibrahim said this is despite the deputy public prosecutor’s (DPP) retraction of the letter in court this morning.
He told FMT that Tengku Maimun must also seek an explanation from the DPP who wrote the letter.
He was referring to a letter dated Aug 29 authored by DPP Abdul Malik Ayob to the secretary to judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah which went viral on Monday.
“Such a letter seeking to dictate the priority in which cases should be heard by any court is unprecedented and is surely contemptuous,” he said.
“This morning’s retraction was not because the author felt it was wrong and showed any remorse.
“It was only withdrawn because it had raised alarm overnight after a copy of it went viral on social media.”
Zaid said the specific nature of the request was “alarming” and was a clear show of “political interference in the judiciary”.
A copy of the letter which has gone viral.
The letter reads: “I am instructed to request that (the judge) give priority to the above case (PP v. Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) in preference to the trial of the 1MDB case (involving former prime minister Najib Razak) which is also before Yang Arif Dato’. This request is made to enable the defence’s case to be concluded as quickly as possible.”
Zaid noted that the letter stated that the DPP was writing it “on instructions, which must mean that he had been instructed by the AG to do so”.
He said it was “wholly wrong and unacceptable” for the AG to dictate to any court the order in which cases ought to be heard.
“The request reeks of political interference. The prosecution is clearly shown as wanting to expedite the Umno president’s case in preference to jailed former prime minister Najib’s 1MDB trial which is also ongoing.
“The inescapable inference, which has already been drawn by various persons both within and outside Umno, is that this has been done for political gain,” he said.
He said the AG must immediately explain his involvement in the request and the real reasons for it.
Zaid also called on Malaysian Bar president Karen Cheah to state the Bar Council’s stand on the matter.
“The Bar president was quick to attack my colleagues and me for what she claims was an abuse of process on our part in Najib’s SRC International appeal in the Federal Court. Now is the time for her to prove her true worth,” he said.
He also called on opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to condemn the executive’s interference in the judiciary “strongly and in no uncertain terms”.
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