04 October 2022

Banduan Pekan nak masuk Parlimen pulak...

Najib makes a mockery 
of our prison system...

On any working day, you will see prisoners being brought to court for their pending cases. They are attired in an all-white prison uniform, handcuffed and accompanied escorted by one warden, sometimes more. When the court adjourns or the case is disposed of, they are usually sent to court lock-up, and while waiting for transport back to prison, they are served nasi bungkus.

But there’s one prisoner who comes in a suit, a pressed shirt and a matching tie. He arrives and returns in an air-conditioned SUV at the end of each day’s proceedings. This is because Najib Abdul Razak, who is serving a 12-year jail term, was once our prime minister and the Prison Department has used its discretion to proffer these “privileges”.

But his lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah denied that he is special. “No, you will be surprised if he’s special, they don’t even give him a room here (in the courthouse) for him to sit down and eat,” he said.

But Malay Mail reported that Najib is believed to have been placed in a holding room attached to the courtroom during breaks in the court proceeding. He is also believed to have his meals inside there. His family members have also been seen going in and out of the holding room where he is placed on many occasions.

But yesterday, Najib upped the ante through his legal team - giving Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin an ultimatum that he has until noon today to respond to their appeal for Najib to be allowed to attend the current sitting of Parliament. Otherwise, Shafee charged that Najib’s legal team would file a legal action to allow the lawmaker to do so. His grouse is that the Prison director-general (whose name was not mentioned) did not allow Najib to attend the Dewan Rakyat on grounds of security.

For good measure, Shafee said if a judicial review is filed, then it would be the first such legal action in Malaysia as it could allow any lawmaker who has been convicted and sentenced but still has other related pending due processes (such as a review bid before the apex court or an application before the Pardons Board) to continue to serve his or her constituency as a lawmaker.

In 5 yrs when banduan Pekan was PM, he attended 26 days of Parliament. But now a prisoner, banduan Pekan crying, whining to want to attend Parliament. What a hypocrite!! - Richard Li

By all standards, it is an outrageous stipulation which borders on contempt and disrespect of the judicial system.The rules are simple. Any prisoner under detention needs an order to be produced in court or any other place. When he is produced, he must be handcuffed and security personnel must escort him as he is not a free man - he is not under a remand order but serving a sentence in a gazetted prison.

Remember Operation Lallang in 1987? Among those detained under the now-repealed Internal Security Act (ISA) were several MPs including the late Karpal Singh, the late V David, the late P Patto, Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng. They were never allowed to visit their constituency to deal with problems of the voters. Instead, party cadres manned the service centres independently without having to confer with personal or political aides.

The former Kota Shah Alam state assemblyperson and lawyer M Manoharan, who was an ISA detainee, made several attempts to seek permission to attend state assembly sittings. They were rejected and he was quoted by Malaysiakini as saying: “I was only a political detainee and not even a corrupt individual. I took the oath in the Kamunting Detention Camp.”

He remains a convict

On Sept 5, after Najib was sent to prison, Dewan Rakyat speaker Azhar Azizan Harun declared that the former remains an MP in view of the pardon petition filed under Article 42 of the Federal Constitution.

"Therefore, his disqualification as a member of parliament will only take effect as soon as the pardon petition is settled (if the petition is rejected). This means that the status of Najib as MP has not changed, for now, and will only be finalised when the pardon petition is resolved," he said in a statement.

Since this is not under the jurisdiction of Parliament, does it have the right to issue any order for Najib to be brought to Parliament? Can the court compel the House speaker to issue an order?

It must be noted that merely applying or filing for a pardon does not absolve one from his wrongdoings and conviction. Bluntly put, he remains a convict.

2015 - Prison Dept rejected Anwar's request too.
What so special with Mat Sakau?...

If we go by precedent, on March 3, 2016, the Prisons Department rejected an application by Anwar Ibrahim’s family for the jailed opposition leader to attend Parliament.

Besides filing an appeal to the department for Anwar to attend Parliament, The Star reported that the former deputy prime minister’s family also submitted an application to the palace for a royal pardon to prevent him from being automatically disqualified as member of MP for the Permatang Pauh seat in Penang.

So, what is and why a fuss when the highest court in the land, the Federal Court, has affirmed the decisions of the courts below and confirmed the sentence?

Prisons Dept rejected Najib’s bid to attend Dewan Rakyat...

Sentencing is the final stage in the criminal justice process. The principles of sentencing are aimed toward deterrence, rehabilitation, prevention and retribution.

The purpose of the punishment is to deter offenders from reoffending, discourage others from following their example, to prevent offenders from committing additional crimes by locking them up, and to reform them.

If criminals are allowed to be moved in and out of prison to attend to their personal or official duties, does it not make a mockery of the system and the punishment that was meted out? - R.Nadeswaran,mk

Banduan dalam penjara nak 
bahas dasar dan undang2 di Parlimen...

The main question is how and why a convicted criminal, who has already been thrown into jail, still remain a Member of Parliament?

According to the former Attorney General Tommy Thomas a convicted criminal who is sitting inside jail cannot appeal for a pardon until he has completed at least 1/3 of his jail sentence.  If a convicted criminal is serving 12 years, that means he must be in jail for at least FOUR years before he can apply for a pardon.

And since this is a legal matter it is best that the present Attorney General make a clear statement on this matter.  But is that a tall order? Congratulations to the Director of the Prisons Department for putting his foot down that convicts serving jail time will not be allowed to attend Parliament.

It is most likely that another circus will also begin. The convicted criminal could possibly start a legal challenge in Court that he wants to attend Parliament - then he can appear in public wearing his suit and tie.  

Then it is also possible that he will :

1. ask to recuse the prosecutor.
2. then the judge 
3. then fire his lawyers
4. then ask for more time to appoint new layers
5. then ask to delay so that the new lawyers can study the case files
and on and on. We have seen this before...

It is interesting to note that since the 'I have to be admitted to hospital' manouevre has been dealt with and he is back in jail the drama in the press has also subsided and the country is also at peace. For about two weeks now he has been sleeping in jail. There are 12 more years to go.  12 very,very long years.

Who shall be the Prime Minister in those  12 years? Who will be the party in power? UMNO? I dont think so. Can he survive 12 long years in jail? I doubt it.

Just plead guilty. Change your plea. Give back all the money that you and your convicted criminal wife have stolen. Name the names of ALL your co-conspirators. Do not leave anyone out. Give dates, places, amounts stolen. And return everything. Then you may have a chance at negotiating something.

You will not survive 12 years in jail. You may not even survive four years!!! - Syed Akbar Ali 

Dissolve Parliament – 
Agong might throw out request... 

Ahmad Zahid Hamid, president of UMNO, can heave a sigh of relief. He could finally see a light at the end of the tunnel after the High Court on Sept 23 acquitted him of all 40 bribery charges. He was so grateful that he boastfully said he has had faith in the judiciary since “day one”, when the hypocrite had wanted to sack the Chief Justice and Attorney General just before the verdict.
However, the former deputy prime minister isn’t out of the wood yet. The president of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO)  is still on trial in another corruption case where he is accused of 47 criminal breach of trust, corruption and money laundering charges. Attorney General Idrus Harun has decided to appeal against Zahid’s acquittal.
Still, Zahid isn’t worried though. He knew that the prosecution’s appeal against the High Court’s decision to free him was just another political drama. It would be too obvious if A.G. Idrus refused to appeal. It would show that the Attorney General’s Chambers had received orders from those who walk the corridors of power to deliberately screw up the case in order to free the crook.

PM Ismail Sabri has lost in the game of brinkmanship. Under tremendous pressure from his own party, the turtle-egg man blinked. The accidental prime minister is powerless against his party president, whose signature to sign the letter of candidacy (“surat watikah”) for all UMNO candidates to contest in the upcoming 15th General Election is more powerful than Sabri’s premiership.
That was the power that incarcerated former Prime Minister Najib Razak did not possess. If the party president’s signature isn’t required for UMNO candidates to contest in the national election, Zahid would be game-over ages ago. If only Najib had been smarter – contested the 2018 UMNO leadership election and won the presidency – he might not need to spend his time in prison today.
After the High Court set him free, Mr Zahid is not as desperate as before for the general election, which is not due till Sept 14, 2023. His remaining 47 corruption charges would take years to conclude. Even if the prosecution’s appeal against his acquittal succeeded, it would probably take 2 years before the whole appeal process through the Court of Appeal and Federal Court is finally exhausted.

Crooked Zahid just wanted the High Court to free him so that he can contest in the upcoming election. The Federal Constitution’s Article 48(5) says a person is “immediately” disqualified from being nominated, elected or appointed to be a federal lawmaker in either the Dewan Rakyat or Dewan Negara, upon the person’s conviction and sentencing to a minimum one-year jail term or a minimum fine of RM2,000.
Worse, under Article 48(3), a person remains disqualified from being an MP for five years from the day he or she is released from imprisonment. Had Zahid been convicted, his ambition to become the next prime minister will vanish. And he would be long forgotten after he served his jail sentence and walked out of the prison. His political career would be over.
So, why is Zahid still pushing for a snap election this year, with heavy rains and floods associated with the annual monsoon season, which typically starts around late November and could last until March (next year)? Last year, the country saw 8 of the 11 states hit by floods in December. At least 54 were killed, while 60,000 people were forced into relief shelters.

The arrogant UMNO president has mocked the Opposition’s rejection of election this year, arguing that they are afraid of losing, largely due to UMNO’s big win in the Melaka (Nov 2021) and Johor (March 2022) state elections. However, based on Zahid’s incredible confidence, UMNO could still win next year, could it not? So, what’s the difference if the election is called next year – after the monsoon season is over?

A week is a long time in politics. Zahid wants to become the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia as soon as possible. He has already set the record as the only UMNO president who is not the prime minister since independence in 1957 – a humiliation. But there are other strategic reasons why he is pushing PM Sabri, his junior party colleague, to call for a snap election this year.

First of all, Zahid and his minions believed that UMNO should strike when the iron is hot, taking advantage of the jailing of Najib to win sympathy votes from gullible Malays who still believe the crook is innocent. Second, UMNO typically wins when voter turnout is low, hence the best time is to hold an election when it floods. Third, it’s easier to cheat when dubious votes can be switched or swapped during monsoon season.

Fourth, the UMNO chief flexed his muscle to show that when he ordered Sabri to jump, the incompetent premier can only ask how high. On Friday (Sept 30), the top five UMNO leadership – party president Zahid Hamidi, deputy president Mohamad Hasan, and the three vice-presidents (Khaled Nordin, Mahdzir Khalid and Ismail Sabri himself) – met and agreed to dissolve the Parliament this year.

The lame duck premier said he agreed to UMNO’s call for the general election to be held this year. Even if people eventually perish due to floods, people’s anger will not be on Zahid alone. The turtle-egg man still has no clue that he is being made the “poster boy” to take all the blames when things go south. As the country’s leader, Sabri cannot point his finger at Zahid and claim ignorance.
Fifth, UMNO is absolutely afraid that inflation could get worse next year to the extent of triggering a recession. The local currency – Ringgit – is expected to continue its free fall for the remaining 2022, and even till middle of next year because the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to raise interest rates for at least another year. People are going to be very angry over skyrocketing prices of goods.

After losing power for the first time in history in the 2018 General Election, UMNO cannot afford another defeat. It also helps that the opposition parties are in disarray and failed to unite to avoid multi-cornered contests. On the same Friday Sabri was forced to agree to dissolve the Parliament, UMNO secretary-general Ahmad Maslan made a pre-emptive strike.

Maslan announced that UMNO vice-president, who is also PM Ismail Sabri, would meet the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (King) to dissolve the Parliament, paving the way for a General Election this year, widely speculated to be in November. However, the prime minister might not be able to convince the Malaysian King to dissolve the Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Representative).

While Article 43 of the Federal Constitution gives authority to the prime minister, who is the head of the executive branch, to decide whether to seek an audience and request the King to dissolve the House, the King may prologue or dissolves Parliament under Article 55 (2). This means PM Sabri could only advise the King, but it’s the monarch’s prerogative to dissolve the Parliament.

In fact, it was Ismail Sabri himself, who said in June this year that he cannot get ahead of the King by announcing the date for the 15th General Election. He also said that after discussion with the UMNO top leadership, and brought to the party’s Supreme Council and later Barisan Nasional Supreme Council, the matter has to be discussed in Cabinet, who would then give him the mandate to seek an audience with the King.

Interestingly, Ahmad Maslan has deliberately and prematurely announced that the PM would seek an audience with the King – even before the Cabinet agrees to UMNO’s plan to call a snap election. Therefore, it was already disrespectful to the monarch when UMNO bypassed the Cabinet. Heck, the power-hungry UMNO warlords have not even discussed with the Barisan Nasional Supreme Council.
Did Sabri lie when he said in June that he had to get the Cabinet’s mandate to seek an audience with the King? Or did he lie now that he can go directly to the King without the Cabinet’s mandate? It’s worth mentioning that it was the King who appointed a “Jemaah Menteri” (Cabinet of Ministers) and the Cabinet shall be collectively responsible to Parliament.

UMNO has only 38 MPs and even if included the entire Barisan Nasional, the coalition has merely 42 MPs. It’s not rocket science that PM Sabri or UMNO does not represent the majority of the MPs in the 222-seat Parliament. Without the mandate from the Cabinet, the King could assume that the Prime Minister ceases to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the House of Representative.
The King could order Sabri to table a motion of confidence in his leadership. There could be a new prime minister if the monarch disagrees to the request to dissolve the Parliament based on public order or national security – the same way how the King rejected then-PM Muhyiddin Yassin’s request for a Proclamation of Emergency in Oct 2020, consented on Jan 12, 2021, but refused to extend the emergency rule after it ended on August 1, 2021.
And this is the sixth reason why Zahid has pushed, and the moron Sabri has agreed, to call for the general election in the middle of unpredictable heavy rains. King Sultan Abdullah will get all the blames when lives are lost as people would surely question why the monarch was insensitive and agreed to an election at the wrong time. The UMNO politicians would just point their fingers at the monarch.

Sabri would create a new record as the first prime minister whose request to dissolve the Parliament is rejected by the King, who may not wish to become the fall guy if this year’s rainy season turns for the worse. The suspension of UMNO warlord Tajuddin Abdul Rahman and Alor Setar UMNO division chief Yusof Ismail was to send a message – Sabri could be suspended if he does not play ball. - FT

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