The Putrajaya 101, or how not to answer questions


(TMI) – Why should any appeal court hear applications from two men who have refused to accept the jurisdiction of the civil law in family matters?

There are times when one waits for days to get an answer from Putrajaya. And sometimes, the answer is not quite what it seems.

So, the prize for a daft answer goes to…

* Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.

When asked about the disclosure by former chairman of Bank Rakyat Tan Sri Sabaruddin Chik that the bank allowed well-connected carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishan to repay a loan without paying the interest incurred, the politician from Johor said there was no such haircut.

He just offered a bare denial. This is in contrast to Sabaruddin who had documentary proof and even correspondence of the deal which happened at the instigation of Datuk Seri Hasan Malek, the minister in charge of Domestic Trade and Cooperatives.

Offering a bare denial seems to be the go-to strategy by the Najib administration. This approach may be acceptable for individuals or political parties with a reservoir of goodwill and credibility. But not from Umno and a government whose recent approval ratings barely touch 50%.

It is interesting that neither the bank nor Hasan has dared to challenge Sabaruddin’s version of sweetest of sweetheart deals in court. Perhaps they too accept that bare denials cannot be passed off as evidence.

* Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

In true fashion, the Najib administration has allowed these two cases to percolate for too long and now the PM appears confused by what has transpired during that time.

To recap, N. Viran (Izwan Abdullah) converted to Islam and that started the battle between him and his then wife, S. Deepa, over the custody of their two children. The High Court ruled in favour of the mother but the Shariah Court granted Izwan custody.

The Appeals Court last month dismissed Izwan’s application to set aside the High Court decision. But the police have refused to enforce the Appeals Court decision and Izwan has been cited for contempt by the court.

The police have also snubbed the decision of the Ipoh High Court to grant custody of a six-year-old girl to her mother, M. Indira Gandhi.

Her former husband, who converted to Islam, has been cited for contempt of court.

Najib last night said that parties involved in these two cases should appeal to the Federal Court and that once the decision of the apex court is made, everyone should respect it.

This approach is flawed on several levels.

Both cases are still at High Court level. And the next stage is the Court of Appeal, not the Federal Court.

But why should any appeal court hear applications from two men who have refused to accept the jurisdiction of the civil law in family matters?

In fact, these two men are in contempt of court and it is trite law, that the court not entertains those who seek any redress with dirty hands.

Najib says the welfare of the children is of utmost importance in these cases. Spot on. But why only intervene years later? The order by the Ipoh High Court was made on March 11, 2010.

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