MP Gobalakrishan gets earful for comments to media

(New Straits Times) – Padang Serai member of parliament N. Gobalakrishan was reprimanded by a judge for commenting in the media on the ongoing Banting murder trial.

High Court judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir summoned the politician to court after he had made comments on the trial in Utusan Malaysia and TV3’s Buletin Utama in August this year.

The report, specifically in the Bahasa Malaysia daily, titled Manjeet Selalu Memburukkan Kerajaan (“Manjeet always criticises the government”).

The article referred to defence counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon.

Akhtar may have let Gobalakrishnan off with a stern warning, but he did not spare him from an earful.

“As a politician, you should know not to comment on an ongoing trial. It is sub judice.

“Nobody, not even politicians, should make any remarks.

“Worst of all, the remarks you made were not truthful.

“You have not stepped in this courtroom before.”

Akhtar also pointed out that he did not summon Gobalakrishnan to court on behalf of Manjeet.

“What I am concern about is that you have projected the court as being easily manipulated for political mileage,” said the judge.

“Judges in Malaysia are more independent than you think. We are not fools just sitting here and allowing the deputy public prosecutors and defence counsel to do as they like. We go according to the law.”

Akhtar said he did not intend to take any action against Gobalakrishnan as he believed everybody deserves a second chance.

“This is your first warning and let it be your last. Do you have anything to say?”

Gobalakrishnan said: “I don’t remember…”

But before Gobalakrishnan could finish his sentence, Akhtar cut him off and said he did not want an explanation from him.

“I’ve called the reporters and I have no reason to doubt them.

“You made the remarks and if you are man enough, you would have apologised.

“I do not want to waste my time. You can go if you want to.”

Gobalakrishnan, who wore a blue buttoned shirt and black pants, however, did not apologise and walked calmly out of the courtroom.

Gobalakrishnan was not the first person to be summoned to court over the sub judice report.

On Aug 26, Utusan Malaysia’s editor-in-chief Datuk Abdul Aziz Ishak and reporter Raja Syahrir Abu Bakar were also let off with a warning.

Proceedings then resumed with testimonies of four witnesses. Among them was:

– DiGi Telecommunications principal engineer, Chong Chee Wah, 50, who said he conducted two site tests in March and July this years pertaining to call detail records of three mobile number users. The site tests were conducted in a farm in Tanjung Sepat and in Subang Jaya.

– Medical officer Dr Amir Saad Abdul Rahim, from Kuala Lumpur Hospital forensic department, testified that he was instructed to take samples from victim Noorhisham Mohamad’s wife and three children — Suzana Radin Pangat, Muhammad Faiz Rizmi, Muhammad Azri Shahzan and Nor Neesah Salbiah — on Sept 19.

Hearing continues today.