Bersih and 48 groups urge PM, AG to let judiciary handle politicians’ corruption cases

A group holding placards reading 'Rule of Law' and 'No DNAA' in a group photo.

KUCHING, Oct 5: The Coalitions for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) along with 48 other organisations call on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the Attorney-General (AG) Datuk Ahmad Terrirudin Mohd Salleh to allow the judiciary to process the cases of politicians charged with corruption without the AG exercising his discretionary power under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution to discontinue any court proceedings.

In a joint press statement today, the group emphasised that the discharge not amounting to an acquittal (DNAA) for Deputy Prime Minister Dato Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi for his Yayasan Akalbudi case on Sept 4 is a “shocking” example of the discretionary power of the AG who doubles up as the public prosecutor (PP) under the current law.

“Apart from Zahid’s case, there have been a slew of corruption cases in the past several years involving politicians or those closely connected with them that have been DNAA or totally acquitted.

“These usually happened after a change of government or allegiance, and as such, it sends the message that one’s innocence is closely tied to one’s power. This cannot go on. The AG should not double up as the PP and reforms to separate the role of the PP from the AG must happen so that the PP is an independent office that is free from political interference,” they stressed.

Given that the AG, as the Prime Minister’s appointee, has such wide-ranging power to withdraw criminal cases as demonstrated in Zahid’s case, the group claimed that they together with the Malaysian public are extremely concerned about Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s three remaining cases related to 1MDB and income tax, as well as his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s RM7.1 million case of money laundering and tax evasion.

“Will the former prime minister and his wife be similarly released from their corruption charges, and in the case of Najib, to pave the way for his pardon in the SRC case?” they questioned.

“The Malaysian public expects a strong political will from Anwar to combat systemic corruption and uphold the rule of law, which must include allowing Najib, Zahid and others to undergo fair and uninterfered trials.

“If the new AG were to withdraw all charges against Najib and Rosmah in their ongoing trials, Anwar and the Madani government will be held accountable for allowing the AG’s colossal power to be abused to let off the kleptocrats under the PM’s watch. This would be the red line that Anwar must not cross to cause political and economic catastrophes to Malaysia,” they cautioned. — DayakDaily