Making Assumptions And Silencing Free Speech
The Court of Appeal took judicial notice today that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has been cleared by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the attorney-general, the police, the MACC and Bank Negara with regard to allegations on the 1MDB scandal.
Justice Yaacob Md Sam said this in dismissing the appeal by Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua to set aside an interim injunction imposed on him by the High Court.
The injunction was granted to Najib against Pua’s claim in a Facebook Live session last April that the tabling of amendments to the Syariah Courts (Criminal Jurisdiction) Act (Act 355) by PAS in Parliament was to divert attention from 1MDB.
“The court recognises that any MP can introduce a private member’s bill on any matter and it is the discretion of the Speaker (of the Dewan Rakyat) to allow the tabling.
“The allegation of a collusion with PAS is merely an assumption by Pua as he should know that, for any private member’s bill, the MP can crave leave from the Speaker of the House to table it,” Justice Yaacob said.
The judge accuses the member of parliament (and member of the PAC referred to) of making assumptions.
However, the judge goes on to make some pretty big assumptions of his own, on which he bases the odd decision to allow the censorship of the member of parliament’s valid opinions on a highly controversial matter.
The judge opines that the Bank Negara, MACC, PAC and Attorney General had all ‘cleared’ the Prime Minister over 1MDB. Yet that is an assumption, since the first three all pointed out serious concerns over 1MDB and called for further investigations, which have been blocked by the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General.
The Attorney General did indeed ‘clear’ the Prime Minister, however only after his predecessor had been sacked at gunpoint as he was about to press charges naming the Prime Minister for stealing money from 1MDB. It ought to be noted also, that it is not the AG’s position to ‘clear’ the PM, only to decide whether or not to prosecute him, over which he ought to take the advice of investigators, but refused to do so (presumably in the light of what happened to his predecessor).
The Appeal Court judges also owe their positions to the influence of the Prime Minister, who has also just unconstitutionally extended the tenure of the present Chief Justice. This might just explain the sort of decisions we have seen, including this and indeed the outrageous reversal of a High Court acquital of the opposition leader, which was in total violation of judicial procedures.
Recalibration and reform appear necessary.