AGC and judiciary still controlled by Najib

KUALA LUMPUR – More than 100 days after being ousted as Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Razak still looks like he has control over the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and the judiciary.

Datuk Seri Najib Razak

Mohamed Haniff Khatri Abdulla, a lawyer close to Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, made this claim, according to a report by FMT.

“There was interference in the AGC over the representation to drop charges against accused persons”.

He cited a case where Attorney-General Tommy Thomas had personally requested more time to look into a representation, but found that the request made to his office was rejected by an officer within three days.

“This leaves the question of whether there are elements in the AGC trying to sabotage the administration of justice without Thomas’ knowledge,” Haniff Khatri was quoted as saying.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas

NMT believes that his statement had been in relation to a recent case involving a director of Supermax, Datin Seri Cheryl Tan Bee Geok, whom Haniff Khatri had represented.

Cheryl, who was then an ED of APL Industries was convicted, fined RM7 million, and sentenced to a five-year prison term on Aug 9 for passing non-public information to her sister between Oct 23 to Oct 31, 2007.

Her sister, Tan Bee Hong was convicted of disposing of 350,000 APL Industries shares after Cheryl tipped her on audit adjustments proposed by APL Industries’ auditors, which resulted in the company registering a higher loss for the financial year ended June 30, 2007 compared to the previous unaudited 4Q report for the same financial year.

NMT was told by an observer who declined to be named but was present at the trial, that the prosecution did not prove that Cheryl’s sister had non-public information prior to selling her shares in the company.

The observer added that while the prosecution called many witnesses, none of them testified that Cheryl gave non-public information to her sister. The prosecution produced itemised phone bills to show that the two sisters had spoken over the phone. No phone recordings were produced to prove what transpired in the phone calls, therefore making the evidence circumstantial at best.

Politically-motivated charges

Cheryl’s case was said to have been another politically-motivated charge by the previous government to punish Datuk Seri Stanley Thai of Supermax, for openly supporting Pakatan Rakyat in GE13 five years ago.

Stanley, who had also been charged, convicted, fined and sentenced to five years in prison had attended and spoken at Pakatan ‘ceramahs’ prior to GE13.

He had also allegedly sponsored PKR campaigns, including putting up an expensive billboard in support of PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar for her parliamentary contest at Lembah Pantai.

Stanley, Cheryl and her sister were subsequently charged not long after GE13.

Photo: Billboard for Nurul Izzah, allegedly paid for by Stanley Thai.

On May 22, PPBM’s MP Syed Saddiq spoke out on Astro Awani about how Barisan National used scare tactics on the Supermax family, including charging them with insider trading.

Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz also came out on BFM radio station saying BN pressured the Supermax director, by forcing Stanley to make a public apology for supporting Pakatan.

Rafidah resigned as Chairperson of Supermax within 10 minutes of learning what had transpired between Thai and the then-government.

Mahathir previously announced that Pakatan Harapan will ensure that all politically-motivated charges as well as tax claims against Pakatan politicians, activists and supporters by the previous government will be looked into.

However, Cheryl’s conviction after three months of Pakatan Harapan taking over Putrajaya shows that the new government had not been able to look into such cases having failed to take full control of the AGC and the judiciary system.

Securities Commission Chairman replacement

Also, three days after Cheryl’s conviction, Utusan Malaysia reported that the Securities Commissions Chairman, Ranjit Ajit Singh will be replaced.

NMT wrote to the Securities Commission asking why is Ranjit being replaced, and if it has any connection to Cheryl’s case, however, we have not received a reply after a week.

SC Chairman, Ranjit Singh

Ranjit is seen to have selectively asked for Supermax directors Stanley and Cheryl to be persecuted under criminal charges instead of in a civil lawsuit. All this while turning a blind eye to clearer conflicts of interest and much bigger insider trading and other wrongdoings done by Barisan-friendly parties, among them the 1MDB bond issuance.

More interference in the judiciary and AG chambers

Furthermore, according to FMT, the late Karpal Singh’s daughter has lodged a police report following another claim by Haniff Khatri that the decision on the veteran politician’s sedition appeal two years ago was altered due to judicial interference by a senior judge.

Haniff Khatri also questioned the outcome of the investigation into reports that senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah allegedly received RM9.5 million from former prime minister Najib Razak.

“There has been no public revelation on investigations or prosecution although whistle-blower site Sarawak Report broke the story a year ago,” he was quoted as saying.

He added that it would be difficult if the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) were asked to investigate the alleged interference in the judiciary and AGC.

“I am suggesting that a special task force be formed to conduct a preliminary inquiry in the judiciary and AG chambers with a view to recommend the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI),” he  told FMT.

Other senior lawyers have called for an RCI on judiciary misconduct; among them are Arun Kasi and Malaysian Bar President, George Varughese.

By Mujahidin Zulkiffli, NMT.