The Attorney General has been reduced to a caricature of absurdity, his double standards evident to many, writes Martin Jalleh.
In 2010, Gani Patail made it very obvious that all that he had pronounced, proclaimed and preached so piously with regard to upholding the rule of law was mere pretense and hypocrisy! Some examples are provided below.
No charges for Al-Islam magazine
Barely three months into 2010 and Gani’s double-standards began to show. On 5 March, the AG’s Chambers decided not to press charges against the two reporters of the Al-Islam magazine who had committed a most sacrilegious act against the Catholic community in 2009.
Lawyer/blogger Art Harun expressed his disgust over the decision and called it what it really was: “The blatant double standard. The plain hypocrisy of it all. The stupidity.”
The Malaysian Insider captured the public contempt for the decision: “In the eyes of the Catholic church, the desecration of the communion is an act even worse than the recent firebombing of places of worship.”
“Never before has the exhibition of double standards been so obvious…The irony is this message of hypocrisy comes at a time when the Najib administration is asking for support from non-Muslims.”
Documents for Ling, but none for Anwar
On 8 December 2010, Gani “promised the High Court here he will share top secret government documents over the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone scandal with the defence in the high-profile trial of Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik, who is charged with cheating Putrajaya for the land project.”
Art Harun brings out the hypocrisy and double-standards of the AG artfully: It is good to see the AG willingly disclosing all documents to the defence for once. In this case, those documents are deemed so important to the nation, so much so they were categorised as official secrets. The disclosure of these documents may even affect national security. That is why they are so categorised.
“However, in order for the court to arrive at a fair and just decision, the truth must come out. It is therefore only fair for the AG to declassify the documents so that the trial will run smoothly (as the AG is quoted to have said) and also to enable the defence team to prepare its defence properly.
“The willingness and the speed by which the AG agrees to declassify the documents and in releasing the same to the defence is however a far cry from the Sodomy 2 case, where the AG is unwilling to even release medical notes and reports to the defence team.
“The medical notes and reports are personal in nature. They are not categorised as official secrets. They are just about the accuser’s rectum, what it contains and how the rectum looks like. To put it bluntly, those reports and notes are about, well, to be crass, they are about a person’s ass. Nothing more.
“These documents are essential to the defence. They will serve to justify and verify the truth and accuracy of what the various medical doctors are saying in their testimony. The disclosure of these documents will no doubt ensure justice and fairness. It will reveal the naked truth.
RPK’s SD defamatory, Bala’s Ok
Another contradiction by the AG’s Chambers could be seen in the AG’s decision to close the file on private investigator S Balasu-bramaniam’s two conflicting statutory declarations.
Nazri had explained that both the contradictory statutory declarations (SDs) by Bala were “not an offence as they were not made for the purposes of court proceedings…. (and) did not affect in any way the Altantuya (Shaariibuu) case”.
Bala’s lawyer Americk Sidhu responded: “I have been made to understand that my client, Bala, has already written to the AG confessing that his second SD was not true and that an invitation to charge him for that transgression was tendered.
”Do you recall the statutory declaration that Raja Petra Kamaruddin made some time ago in relation to the information he had received concerning Rosmah Mansor’s presence at the scene of the Altantuya detonation? …there was absolutely no hesitation shown in charging Raja Petra for criminal defamation for this SD even though it was not made ‘for the purposes of court proceedings’.”
There just seems to be one sauce for the goose and a completely different one for Gani (the gander).
Martin Jalleh, a well known political commentator, is a regular Aliran Monthly contributor