Shah Alam High Court judgement quashing Ezam's OSA conviction the most exciting judicial event for over a decade, allowing Malaysians again to hope for the roll-back of the regression in the justice system and the restoration of national and international confidence in a just rule of law and a truly independent judiciary
by Lim Kit Siang (released from DAP Hqrs)
(Nanking, Friday): The Shah Alam High Court judgement of Justice K. N. Segara, yesterday quashing the Official Secrets Act (OSA) conviction of Parti Keadilan Rakyat Youth leader, Mohd Ezam Mohd Nor, is the most exciting judicial event for over a decade, allowing Malaysians after endless disappointments to again hope for the roll-back of the regression in the justice system and the restoration of national and international confidence in a just rule of law and a truly independent judiciary.
Justice Segara's indictment of Section 16(A) of the OSA 1972 which allows an authorised government official unquestionable discretion to issue a certificate certifying that certain documents had been classified, as "meaningless, obnoxious, draconian and oppressive", is fully in keeping with the true and unperverted meaning of the rule of law and in the highest tradition of judicial rectitude and courage to protect democratic principles and good governance which constitute foundation principles of the Rukunegara, recently reaffirmed by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the Barisan Nasional in the 2004 general election.
I am in Nanking for an eight-day private tour of South Yangtze, visiting Shanghai, Suchow, Nanking and Hangchow, which includes three DAP MPs, six former DAP elected representatives and two DAP parliamentary candidates in the recent general election to "recharge our batteries", and we had intended to keep our tour very private and low-key.
However, we are so excited by the Shah Alam High Court judgement because of the promise it holds out for the restoration of national and international confidence in a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law, that we had a short discussion in Nanking over breakfast this morning, and we decided to collectively express our fullest support for the landmark decision.
I had received a telephone call from the Keadilan President, Datin Seri Dr. Azizah Wan Ismail last night, but she had not known earlier that I was in China and I had not known about Ezam's historic victory, and I was therefore unable to congratulate her and Ezam for the great Shah Alam judgment.
The 11 DAP leaders on the private South Yangtze tour who wish to express our "excitement" and great hopes at the Shah Alam High Court judgement in upholding Ezam's appeal and quashing his conviction and two-year jail sentence as well as our public commendation of Ezam for his unswerving battle against corruption and unjust and undemocratic laws like the OSA, are:
The Attorney-General, Tan Sri Gani Patail should accept the Shah Alam High Court decision in good spirit and even relief as a proper vindication of the rule of law and good democratic governance, and should announce that there will be no appeal against the decision.
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri
Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should also make clear his acceptanceor and relief
and joy at the Shah Alam High Court judgement, and that there will be no
pressure of any kind on the Attorney-General to appeal against the landmark
Shah Alam High court judgment.
Ezam was convicted in August 2002 and sentenced to two years jail by the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court for committing the OSA offence of exposing secret documents of corruption investigations, including one pertaining to Rafidah Aziz, viz: that the previous Attorney General had been satisfied with the investigations carried out by the Anti-Corruption Agency and was ready to prosecute Rafidah Aziz on five corruption charges in connection with the allotment of 1.5 million Leader Universal Holdings Bhd. shares and 4,173,190 units of FACB shares to her son-in-law, Fazrin Azwar bin Mohd. Nor but this was not done because of the interference by the then Prime Minister.
Ezam's prosecution under the OSA could only mean the truth and veracity of the allegations against Rafidah which was made public by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his police report on Rafidah Aziz in 1999. If this is the case, how could Rafidah continue to serve as a Minister in Abdullah's Cabinet of integrity?
Abdullah owes the Malaysian public the duty of transparency and a satisfactory accounting of ACA investigations into Rafidah's case. So far, the ACA has not revealed the outcome of its investigations into Anwar’s report on Rafidah. Had the ACA questioned or informed Anwar about the outcome of his police report on Rafidah Aziz, as the ACA had announced a new policy of transparency in July last year to be more responsive towards public demand for information about its investigations, including keeping all complainants informed on the status of investigations as well as issuing statements about cases under investigations which are of public interest.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor