PENANG: A “legitimately elected” prime minister who commits a crime ceases to be legitimate until he or she is cleared by the courts, lawyer Haniff Khatri Abdulla argued today.
Haniff, who is former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s lawyer, was commenting on Education Minister Mahdzir Khalid’s remarks that there were foreign elements trying to decide how the country should be administered, alluding to attempts at toppling a legitimately-elected PM.
“The government, inclusive of the ministers, and of course the PM, were ‘elected through a legitimate process’, to govern the nation, and not to commit crimes against the nation.
“Hence, any legitimacy of the election of the PM comes to a stop when there is crime involved.
” These allegations remain until the criminal agencies have completely cleared him after thorough investigations, and until the decisions of those agencies being challenged have been decided by the courts of law,” Haniff said in a Facebook status update today.
Last month, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed lawsuits claiming that over US$3.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.
In its lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles, the DoJ said it sought to seize assets “involved in and traceable to an international conspiracy to launder money misappropriated from 1MDB”.
Mahdzir had told Bernama that “outside parties” should not meddle in Malaysia’s affairs and those who leaked information could “destroy the nation”.
Mahdzir also said stern action should be taken against those who leaked information and which subsequently invited foreign intervention in the nation’s affairs.
He also saw the foreign intervention as a means “to determine who its leaders should be and how the country should be administered”, since PM Najib Razak was legitimately elected.
Haniff said there was no such foreign intervention as suggested by Mahdzir, just criminals committing crime in a foreign land.
Haniff added that when these foreign agencies acted, they were merely carrying out enforcement of their law, as the individuals implicated had “flouted the law of that foreign nation”.
“In fact, if it is true as you allege, that there is foreign intervention, then you should advise the PM to summon the diplomat of that country to show cause why diplomatic relationship with that country should not be severed.
“Until that is done, you have no right to claim foreign intervention. So, please walk the talk and enough of beating behind (sic) the bush, dear minister.”