Razak Bagindas bond a grave mistake

Sulaiman Rejab

Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

The decision of the High Court to free Abdul Razak Baginda, who allegedly abetted in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Sharibuu, certainly raises many questions on the non-discriminatory role of the Malaysian judiciary.

What is so special about Abdul Razak that he can be freed on a bond? Perhaps not many Malaysians know that there is a difference between being released on bond and being freed on bail.

Those who make bail will have to deposit a sum of money as stipulated by the court. However, in the case of a bond, the accused does not have to cough up the money. The person who places the bond just needs to promise the court that the specified sum of money will be paid if the accused does not show up in court. In the case of Abdul Razak, it is RM1 million. You don't even to have to raise any money to put up a bond.

My question is: Why the discrimination? Abdul Razak may be sick, but he can be taken to the hospital under the watchful eyes of the policemen or personnel from the prison authorities. If one goes to the third-class ward of the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, one can see many prisoners being warded there with their hands handcuffed to the bed. Why doesn't the court release these prisoners on bond too? They are genuinely sick!

Was the High Court being fair or was it just practising double standards when it released Abdul Razak? Is it because Abdul Razak belongs to a think-tank linked to the deputy prime minister?

To my mind, the High Court made a grave mistake. A man facing the gallows is capable of anything. The case also involves a victim who was a citizen of another sovereign state. The court must not only be fair in its decision but must be seen to be fair. Its judgments can cause a diplomatic row.

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