PETALING JAYA: A former Malaysian Bar president has called for a halt to the “syndrome” of claiming that every prosecution of Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders by the previous administration was done in bad faith.
Zainur Zakaria said PH leaders and their supporters could no longer hide behind labels such as “selective prosecution”, “political harassment” or “conspiracy” to cast aspersions on the Barisan Nasional government, investigators and prosecutors.
“What is happening does not bode well for the PH government and there is a gradual public distrust in the current administration,” Zainur told FMT.
The senior lawyer said he was in full agreement with those who had expressed disappointment and disagreement over the decision of the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) to withdraw the case against Lim Guan Eng and businesswoman Phang Li Koon.
“The decision reflects badly on the AGC and the PH government,” Zainur said, adding that he wished to caution the PH government and its supporters against brushing aside or treating the criticism as unimportant.
He said it affected the integrity and credibility not only of the AGC and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) but also the government.
The MACC yesterday expressed shock over the AGC’s decision to drop corruption charges against Lim, now the finance minister, and Phang.
MACC had brought the charges against Lim in 2016 when he was the Penang chief minister.
Judge Hadhariah Syed Ismail Awang acquitted them of the corruption charges involving the purchase of a bungalow at below market price as well as the rezoning of a plot of land.
Lim was charged with using his public office to obtain gratification for himself and his wife by approving an application by Magnificent Emblem to convert agricultural land for residential purposes during a state exco meeting on July 18, 2014.
He was also charged with using his position to obtain gratification by purchasing a bungalow from Phang at below its market value.
Phang was charged with abetting him.
Over the last two months, the AGC has also withdrawn charges under the Sedition Act, Peaceful Assembly Act and the Communications and Multimedia Act against politicians and previous government dissidents.