PKR threatens to report Shafee to Bar Council

(The Malaysian Insider) – PKR today threatened to lodge a complaint with the Bar Council against lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah if he and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak fail to clarify the ongoing mystery over the former’s alleged “sensitive legal assignment”.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said if Najib had not sent Shafee on the “assignment” abroad, the prime minister should also lodge a formal complaint with the legal body, and urge action against the lawyer.

“But if they continue to keep silent, PKR will appeal to the Bar Council to investigate Shafee for breach of discipline,” the Machang MP told a press conference here, saying the party would wait for one week before lodging its complaint.

He pointed out that Shafee had successfully used the alleged assignment to seek adjournment of his cases, as applied for in the latter’s March 23 letter to several top judges.

“Therefore, if Shafee was neither appointed by the Malaysian government, nor as the PM and his wife’s personal lawyer, and was never in New York, London Dubai, Paris and Basel as he claimed, but yet succeeded in getting his adjournment, then we urged the PM to lodge a complaint against Shafee with the Bar Council,” Saifuddin (picture) said.

The PKR lawmaker had been the first to expose the March 23 letter, allegedly penned by Shafee, during debates in Parliament last week.

In the letter, addressed to Chief Justice Tan Sri Ariffin Zakaria, Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Shafee had sought to postpone all his cases from April 1 to 25 due to a “sensitive legal assignment” abroad.

According to Shafee, in the letter the assignment was commissioned by Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and entailed travel across the globe to cities like New York, London, Paris, Dubai and Basel, in Switzerland.

Saifuddin noted that when Shafee responded to the issue yesterday by calling the allegations “utter rubbish”, the prominent pro-Umno lawyer had failed to verify the validity of the letter or state if he had indeed attended to the assignment between April 1 and 25.

The PKR leader pointed out that a separate letter, which surfaced the day after the first correspondence was exposed, had stated that Shafee needed to attend the Commonwealth Regional Law Conference in Sydney from April 18 to 22.

In the second letter, sighted by The Malaysian Insider, Shafee had again applied for another adjournment, but this time using the four-day conference as his excuse.

The Malaysian Insider reported this morning confirmation from a source that the lawyer had indeed attended and even spoke at the law conference.

“Shafee only needs to answer if it was true that from April 1 to 25, as stated in his first letter, was he really in New York, London, Dubai, Paris and Basel… or was he merely in Australia to attend the law conference, as stated in the second letter on April 9?” Saifuddin asked.

He also demanded Shafee explain if his alleged travel to Paris was due to the ongoing Scorpene submarine sale probe by the French authorities.

According to Bar Council chairman Lim Chee Wee last week, if a lawyer is found lying over his reason for seeking a postponement for his cases, this would be tantamount to “professional misconduct”.

Recent media reports have pinned Najib to the RM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal by French authorities, which has also been linked to the brutal murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Altantuya’s alleged one-time lover Abdul Razak Baginda, said to be a close associate of Najib’s, was acquitted of a charge of abetting two Special Action Squad members — Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar — to commit the 2006 murder.