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Shafie’s arrest has legal basis, says lawyer

 | October 21, 2017

'The remand is part of the investigation process and may result in the clearing of suspicions.'

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PETALING JAYA: Constitutional lawyer Nizam Bashir has dismissed doubts about the legality of Shafie Apdal’s arrest and detention under a remand order.

He told FMT the Criminal Procedure Code allowed for both the arrest and remand.

Yesterday, human rights lawyer N Surendran questioned the arrest of the Parti Warisan Sabah president in connection with investigations into the alleged misappropriation of RM1.5 billion in funds from rural development projects in Sabah.

Surendran acknowledged that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had a duty to investigate suspected corruption, but he said arrests and provisional detentions should be the exception, not the norm.

He pointed out that the Semporna MP had gone to the MACC office voluntarily and had repeatedly pledged his full cooperation with the agency.

He said Shafie was not a flight risk and there was no suggestion he would interfere with witnesses.

“Therefore, what is the legal basis for his arrest?” he asked.

But Nizam said the arrest and remand did not mean Shafie was guilty. He also said the remand was part of the investigation process which, he added, could result in the clearing of suspicions.

The MACC is reportedly scrutinising some 70 projects under the ministry of rural and regional development for suspected embezzlement.

The RM1.5 billion was said to be part of RM7.5 billion allocated for water, electricity, and road projects.

Shafie was the 11th person to be arrested in the case.

Surendran, who is the MP for Padang Serai, said the MACC seemed to have resorted to “automatic arrest and remand”.

“It must be remembered that the liberty of the individual is sacrosanct and protected by Article 5 of the Federal Constitution,” he said. “There must be the strongest reasons to tamper with anyone’s liberty.”

He called for the immediate release of the arrested persons. “This will not affect the MACC’s investigations as they would be available to be interviewed when necessary,” he said.


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