Why is Nazri Aziz speaking for Gani Patail?

I am responding to a press statement by Nazri Aziz, minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

I am appalled by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Mohd Nazri Aziz’s response to my call for attoney-general Abdul Gani Patail to clear the air on the mounting issues affecting the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC).

I respect Nazri for taking the stand of being a “Malaysian First and Malay Second”. I was amongst the first to applaud his stand, which I viewed as being truly Malaysian. Likewise, I pray that Nazri will display similar wisdom in this matter and not emotions.

1. On Nov 30, I gave a press conference to clarify the role of MACC vis-a-vis the AG Chambers, touching, amongst others, on:

a) allegations of selective prosecution and victimisation;

b) acquittal in high profile cases for failure to establish the threshold of a prima facie case;

c) failure to institute prosecution in the losses suffered by Malaysia Airlines during the time of Tajudin Ramli;

d) allegations surrounding AG Gani Patail’s personal conduct in consorting with  the proxy of Tajudin Ramli during a recent Haj pilgrimage;

e) allegations by former Kuala Lumpur CID chief, Mat Zain Ibrahim, of manipulation and tampering with evidence in the ‘Anwar Black Eye Incident’ by AG Gani Patail and former Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan.

2. A report in Star quoted Nazri Aziz saying -  “I don’t have to explain to him (Phang). I am not accountable to him and there is no necessity for him to pressure me.”

3. Let me be clear that my statements were directed to the AG Gani Patail and not to Nazri Aziz. As such; the issue of me trying to pressure him should not have at all arised. In fact, I am surprised that the he considers my statements being any form of pressure. Therefore, I am saddened that Nazri Aziz has seen it fit to rebuke me for trying to hold AG Gani Patail accountable for these matters which are already in the public domain.

4. If press reports are accurate, I am also saddened by the minister’s statement that “he owed it to Parliament to reply on the issues, but not to any ordinary citizen on the street.”

These are very harsh words coming from a senior minister directed to a senior citizen like myself; likening me to someone in the street. I would like to remind the him that respect begets respect. Not too long ago, we heard the slogan popularised by the Government “Yang tua dihormati, yang muda disayangi.” We would not want our younger generation to be nurtured into a “kurang ajar“ (disrespectful) generation.

5. More importantly, I would like to remind the minister that he is an elected representative of the people. His own honorific title ‘Yang Berhormat Wakil Rakyat in the Dewan Rakyat’ are clear enough that the government, and indeed all public functionaries, are accountable to the people - the ordinary citizen, who voted them into Parliament and into power. I therefore appeal for circumspection in the statements made by the minister.  

6. Surely but truly, the Rakyat would like to ask these questions:

a) What is so wrong in me voicing the people’s concern and frustration over these matters, which are already in the public domain?

b) Why is the minister shielding Gani Patail from explaining his actions which may constitute to conduct unbecoming of a public officer?

c) Does the minister consider it not improper for Gani Patail to consort with people who have been implicated in investigations by the law enforcement agencies?      

7. I also repeat my questions to Gani Patail to answer to allegations that he is consorting with a certain Shahidan Shafie, said to be a proxy of Tajudin Ramli, for the Haj Trip. Blogs have published documents to show that these people have been implicated in a recommendation made by former police director of Commercial Crimes Investigations Dept (CCID), Ramli Yusuff, to former premier Abdullah Badawi for causing the losses suffered by Malaysia Airlines.

8. As a senior citizen and a social worker, I should echo to the minister and the AG that the AG’s relationship with Shahidan Shafie breeds more than just suspicion. The public is questioning whether the AG has been compromised by the relationship.

I also do not need to remind the AG of section 16(B) of the MACC Act that it is an offence “IF” he, as a public officer, forbears to prosecute Tajudin Ramli because of his relationship with Shahidan Shafie.  Section 23 of the MACC Act also makes it an offence “IF” AG Gani Patail uses his office to receive gratification for himself, his family or his relatives.

9. These are matters of paramount concern to the public. The personal conduct of the AG must be beyond reproach if the institutions of government are to have any credibility. Otherwise, the public will perceive that the allegations made by Mat Zain Ibrahim in the following words to be true:

“It only shows that MACC and the chambers are prepared even to go to the extent of affirming false affidavit to screen Gani Patail from legal punishment.”

10. Civil servants and politicians are definitely answerable to the Rakyat and it would be wise for the Government of the day to listen to them.

Lastly to quote and unquote, “Humbleness is good virtue, arrogance shall fall, the meek will rule the world”.

The writer is a justice of the peace and chairman of the Social Care Foundation.