CILISOS CONTEST: “First one in the comments that can tell us precisely how many times we used the word alleged or allegedly or alleganything wins two bottles of our new CILISOS“
[UPDATE 22/2/2019]: Prime Minister Mahathir has announced that there will indeed be a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) set to be carried out to investigate the claims of judicial misconduct. To find out why it’s so serious, you can read the original article below.
The Malaysia court system have just been dealt a huge shocker.
Datuk Dr Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, a senior court judge, recently filed a 65-page long affidavit in support of Karpal Singh’s daughter Sangeet, who’s suing a Chief Justice. Spoiler alert – Hamid’s allegations aren’t just about one particular case (although he does talk extensively about Karpal’s and Anwar’s), but is accusing the entire Malaysian judiciary system of being corrupt.
Among the many controversial things that Hamid claims in his affidavit include:
- The alleged systematic bullying of lawyers
- That Anwar was convicted despite the prosecuting team allegedly failing to prove his guilt beyond doubt
- That the judge presiding over Karpal’s sedition case may have been forced to change the verdict
- That Mahathir’s 2017 attempt to challenge several judiciary appointments might have been unfairly dismissed
But even though those other allegations are being talked about, there’s one thing Hamid mentioned that (if true), could be one of the biggest scandals ever to engulf Malaysia’s judiciary system.
Hamid claims Malaysia has been laundering money thru… ‘fake lawsuits’?
Well, not really fake.. the lawsuits are real, but the reasons allegedly aren’t.
Let’s first take a look at the section from Hamid’s affidavit that makes this claim – section 108. In it he points out that a lot of his judgments that support the govt have been criticised by other top judges… despite a lot of his affidavit stating his dislike for how the others often side with the govt. This is because according to Hamid, there is a whole modus operandi for ‘political nominees’ given govt contracts by certain politicians only for them to later ‘defraud public funds’. In his (many) words:
“The govt will enter a contract with a political nominee with no intention of honouring it. Subsequently, the govt will terminate the contract and the nominee will sue the govt for breach of contract. The govt may record a consent judgement accepting liability and agreeing to assess damages. This modus operandi was going on directly to deprive the exchequer by false claims,” – Hamid Sultan Abu Backer, as quoted from the affidavit
Okay we know that’s a lot of big words but hold on k we’ll try to simplify.
The first concept for y’all to know is Money Laundering. Since contracts and everything need to be documented, if there are large sums of money that seem to be disappearing from books (allegedly for bribes), then people will know something is wrong. E.g. if a company’s declared revenue and bank accounts don’t match, then that raises a red flag that something is fishy.
That’s why we have people attempting money laundering – which essentially uses funny ways to make revenue seem legit. E.g. cybercafes deal in cash, so they can say the cybercafe is full, but in actuality it’s empty… the cash is coming in from other sources. So here’s a brief (non-legally binding) way to understand what Malaysian courts have allegedly been doing.
Essentially, what Hamid is alleging is this:
- A crony would allegedly be given a contract by his friend in the govt for a govt contract.
- However, the crony won’t actually fulfill the contract in any way, and the govt would then have to cancel the contract.
- The crony would then sue the govt for cancelling up the contract,
- The govt would allegedly accept the lawsuit by paying the crony an amount of money as ‘settlement’, when in actual alleged fact it was just a scheme to take money from the Treasury into the pockets of the cronies.
To resolve this, Hamid suggested the Attorney General to look back into these cases and deem if the judgments were fair.
“It is time AG Chambers looks at judgments where Federal or State Govt or its agencies were ordered to pay money on govt contracts and analyses whether it was correct in principle…. Judgments against govt for the benefit of private parties in the nature of nominees or the like must be revisited to rule out any form of corrupt practice in obtaining those judgments,” – Hamid, as quoted from the affidavit
Damn… that’s a really big claim. Can believe this guy onot?
Okay so here’s the thing – if you actually read the affidavit (which has been circulating widely on social media), you might be taken aback by some of Hamid’s statements.
“On a serious note, I’d like to be remembered not as any Hamid, but Justice Hamid Sultan bin Abu Backer, who served the Malaysian Judiciary without Fear or Favour with meritocracy, integrity and also gumption, displaying Judicial Dynamism at the fullest,” – Hamid, as quoted from his affidavit
Yep, so this guy is a little… unorthodox for sure. He also claims that:
- he’s a huge fan of the current Prime Minister Dr Mahathir, calling him a ‘political, medical and religious miracle’. Oh, and a ‘Lion Heart’.
- He reminisces about his time as a chef able to prepare briyani for 10 thousand people and how if he’s found dishonest he’d alledgedly start a chain of restaurants called Janab’s Briyani House
Now, all this stuff might make you think Hamid is as credible as a random Malaysian blogger in the UK making bets about GE14 predictions, but there’s a key difference here. Hamid didn’t just publish these claims on a blogpost, but he submitted a signed affidavit – which is a written statement given by someone voluntarily under oath. It’s as serious as appearing in court and giving testimony, except maybe without the talkback.
So the main difference is that IF it is untrue, the signer of the affidavit is committing the crime of giving the court false evidence, WHICH under section 191 of the Penal Code may be fined and/or jailed for up to 7 years.
So now that he’s made all these big claims about things allegedly wrong with the judiciary… can fix ah?
The problem here lies in how close our courts are to our government
Now for those who answered A, it’s probably due to our history when it comes to these things. If you paid attention in high school Sejarah, (congrats, that makes one of us) you’d know that the govt is supposed to have three arms: the judiciary (Court), the executive (Cabinet), and the legislative (Parliament). Initially, this was how it was – the courts have been pretty independent of the other arms of govt since Merdeka. However, this all changed in the late 80s.
The then-PM Mahathir and the BN-led govt was dealing with massive problems in UMNO, with the party split down the middle in an internal power struggle. Long story short, amidst the civil war, the court got involved, and in a stunning decision made UMNO illegal. Mahathir would then respond with several constitutional changes allegedly aimed at cutting down the judiciary’s powers. This kinda
allegd allegedfly allegedly kickstarted off a long journey to where we are today.
And speaking of where we are today, as for the actual case that spawned Hamid’s affidavit in the first place? Well for starters, following Sangeet Kaur suing a Chief Justice for messing about in Karpal’s sedition case, there was seemingly an internal investigation carried out. However, that investigation has been suspended because the judiciary has lodged a police report against Hamid over what he alleged in his affidavit.
The MACC is also set to, er, have kopi with Hamid soon. BUT, Hamid tho doesn’t want to meet with them or the police… yet. He’s made it clear that he wants a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to be carried out before he’ll say anything more. He’s not the only one who wants an RCI either; the Malaysian Bar, National Patriots Association and Lawyers for Liberty have all been asking for an investigation into the matter.
“It is time for the Chief Justice to accept responsibility to call for RCI before his retirement and allow the appointing authority to appoint a new Chief Justice who is not aligned to previous Chief Justices…. Setting up the RCI is necessarily a must to ensure rule of law and arrest kleptocracy from continuing through patronage of judges,” – Hamid, as quoted from the affidavit
In the meantime, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens next in Malaysia’s allegedly biggest legal drama in decades. Suits and House of Cards eat your heart out.