UMNO and MACC strangling each other

By Pak Bui

Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) head prosecutor Abdul Razak Musa made a humiliating spectacle of himself in front of the coroner’s court during the hearing into the death of Teoh Beng Hock.

His self-abasement is a terrible setback for UMNO’s efforts to regain votes in the next general election. The MACC has plumbed the depths of public mistrust, and in so doing has reflected badly on its masters in UMNO.

Public anger towards the MACC will also be directed against UMNO, since Malaysians of all races understand that the MACC behaves as a political weapon, wielded by UMNO and its allies against their opponents.

The MACC’s move to attack celebrated Thai pathologist Dr Pornthip Rojanasunand appears to have backfired. Abdul Razak Musa was ill-prepared, and cracked under the intense pressure on him to cast doubt on the Thai doctor’s findings that Teoh’s death was no suicide.

Abdul Razak inexplicably mixed up ‘dead’ and ‘unconscious’. He blurted out irrational statements and questions, drawing laughs and jeers from the public gallery, and even from the coroner himself.

He asserted that a man could “strangle himself” (as Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim was said to have given himself a black eye during his persecution a decade ago). He also insisted a man would weigh more when unconscious than conscious.

In short, he brought shame to the Malaysian legal profession, and to our nation as a whole. He also embarrassed his masters in UMNO. UMNO and MACC are now caught in a fatal embrace that is suffocating both institutions. UMNO has lost votes, while the MACC has lost credibility in the midst of this mutual strangulation.

Only a change in government can improve the MACC and, for that matter, UMNO itself. Any rehabilitation efforts will mean wholesale reforms and changes of leadership: it will take years to repair the damage inflicted by UMNO warlords’ domination.

Lawyers’  duty to search for truth

Razak refused to speak to the press after the hearing, realising perhaps that his catastrophic performance had done more harm than good for UMNO apologists, in the shambolic coroner’s investigation.

The MACC’s Abdul Razak and Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail have made a mockery of the process of justice. The Attorney-General tried to submit a so-called ‘suicide note’ to the coroner, nine months after the inquiry began. Teoh’s family members have told the press the note is a forgery. The prospect of a Royal Commission into his death appears ever more distant.

Abdul Gani has also supervised the removal of a Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) from Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial, following reports of a sexual affair between the female DPP and the prosecution’s star witness, Saiful Bukhari. There has been irreparable harm done to the credibility of the trial, with this potential breach in confidentiality of the prosecution’s information and lack of impartiality.

The MACC, the Attorney-General’s Office, and their masters in UMNO, have made Malaysia, our judiciary and legal profession a laughing stock worldwide. Our worldwide reputation now matches that of the Singaporean legal profession, infamous for its meek subservience to the executive.