Malaysian Bar: PM ‘legally obliged’ to divulge those who sought his intervention in criminal cases

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The Malaysian Bar today called on Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to disclose the names of people he claimed had asked him to intervene in criminal court cases.

Its president AG Kalidas cited Section 3(f) of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Act 2009, also known as the Act 694, which details the law on “gratification” and the action that is required.

According to the provision cited, any person who is given, promised, or offered any gratification — including promise of political support — must report the matter to the MACC without delay.

“It is evident from the law that the Prime Minister is legally obliged to report such an incident immediately to the MACC,” he said in a statement.

Art Chen/The Star

Kalidas said that in the current context, “gratification” includes protection from any penalty from action or proceedings, so that the police and anti-graft officers can initiate investigations.

He was responding to Muhyiddin’s disclosure yesterday when he promised to table a motion of confidence in the next Dewan Rakyat sitting next month.

The PM alleged that some people were uncomfortable with him not complying to their demands — which included him intervening in court matters to exonerate them from criminal charges. However, he did not disclose the names in his statement.

In addition to police and MACC investigations, Kalidas called for the immediate setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into Muhyiddin’s claims.

“This is a matter of critical public importance, and under no circumstances should the independence of our justice system be compromised.

“The Prime Minister’s claims are serious allegations of attempts to persuade him to break the law and abuse his prime ministerial powers, and these have acute implications on the rule of law and the administration of justice in our country,” he said.

He added that if Muhyiddin did not provide a “full and frank” disclosure of the identities of the people involved in his allegations, it could give rise to “unnecessary speculation or perception concerning the Prime Minister himself”.

Kalidas added that the act of obstructing public servants, including judges and officers of the court, in the discharge of their public functions is a criminal offence under Section 186 of the Penal Code.

Muhyiddin’s remarks came on the heels of his audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah yesterday, ahead of the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The Agong had attested to receiving letters from eight Umno politicians, who said they no longer backed the Bersatu president to lead the country.

A day earlier, Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi held a press conference along with 10 other Umno MPs announcing that they had withdrawn support for Muhyiddin and the Perikatan Nasional government.

Ahmad Zahid is currently facing over 80 criminal charges, including criminal breach of trust, corruption, money laundering and receiving bribes involving millions of ringgit. – MMO