Friday, March 12, 2010

Anwar's trial: Najib's 'Catch 22' in AG Chambers

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is said to have played a major role in diffusing the tensions in the Attorney-General's Chambers to ensure that the best man helms the prosecution team in Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's sodomy trial.

According to PKR supreme council member Badarul Hisham Shahrain, the premier had walked the extra mile to retain the services of legal stalwart Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden.

Quoting a source from the AG Chambers, Badarul penned in his blog that Yusof and Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail were not exactly the chummiest of mates.

“Gani was uncomfortable and intimidated by him since Yusof is the most intelligent person in the AG Chambers. Yusof had even memorised the MLJ (Malaysian Law Journal),” he said.

At one point towards the end of former premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's tenure, the posting stated that Yusof had grown weary of the feud and submitted his resignation letter.

This apparently had Najib squirming uncomfortably in his seat, since he was banking on Yusof to lead the charge against Anwar.

New post created

Caught in a "Catch 22" dilemma, Badarul said the Prime Minister could not refuse the resignation since senior public prosecutor and Gani's strongman Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah had already moved into Yusof's office and carried out renovation works.

Furthermore, he noted that Tun Majid was the chief prosecutor in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial and was privy to many secrets.

The other option was to promote Yusof, but this would mean having him replace Gani as attorney-general -- an impossible move.

In view of this, Najib and the Cabinet decided to create a post for Yusof and subsequently appointed him as the country's first Solicitior-General II.

In return for his new posting, Badrul said the legal stalwart agreed to captain the prosecution team in Anwar's trial.

The Opposition Leader, who is facing another blow -- this time possibly fatal -- to his political career, has repeatedly accused the government of authoring a conspiracy similar to the one in 1998.

Anwar is charged with sodomising his former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in a condominium in Kuala Lumpur. If found guilty, the 63-year-old politician could face up to 20 years imprisonment.

In 1998, Anwar was stripped of his deputy premier post by then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. He was subsequently charged with sodomy and abuse of power.

Anwar spent six years in jail until the Federal Court overturned his conviction in 2004.

Four years later, the former Umno leader steered the opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat to a landmark performance in the March 2008 general election, which saw Barisan Nasional losing five states and being denied a two-thirds majority in Parliament for the first time in history.

In August of that year, Anwar reclaimed his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat and was elected Opposition Leader.

Certain quarters have alleged that BN's fear of being ousted from power in the next general election had led to the "trumping up" of the new sodomy allegation, which surfaced in July.

Not many willing to take the job

Meanwhile, Badarul claimed that Najib was hard pressed to find a candidate to lead the prosecution team since most of the capable prosecutors were removed by Gani.

Secondly, he alleged that not many of the prosecutors were willing to take up the job, given the repercussions.

So Yusof was the only choice, despite the senior prosecutor being accused of "falsifying evidence" in Anwar's 1998 "black eye"' case.

Another senior prosecutor on the five-member team Hanafiah Zakariah is said to have accepted the task in order to provide a fresh impetus for his controversy-tainted career.

According to the source, the ambitious Hanafiah's reputation took a hit when a domestic dispute erupted in the office, allegedly involving his wife and a female contract staff in the AG Chambers.

Hanafiah was also involved in the alleged "falsifying of evidence" in Anwar's black-eye case.

courtesy of FreeMalaysiaToday

1 comment:

Chauncey Gardener said...

Why is it that the prosecution team consists of so many people with "dark" histories ? Is this the quality of Malaysia's Attorney General's resources ?