Why probe when there’s no criminal element in audio clip, lawyer asks IGP

(FMT) -The viral audio clip allegedly featuring opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is not a “seizable offence” and thus police have no power to investigate, a lawyer says.

Sankara N Nair, a Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer, questioned whose decision it was to commence an investigation, as he claimed there was no legal basis for the probe.

“There is one, and only one, provision as provided in Section 110 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), which empowers the inspector-general of police to invoke his powers to commence a criminal investigation.

“And this is upon police receiving a report that discloses a seizable offence,” he said in a statement.

Yesterday, IGP Abdul Hamid Bador said an investigation had been opened into the audio clip allegedly involving the two political leaders.

Nair said for simplicity, a seizable offence is generally a serious offence where there is no requirement to have a warrant to effect an arrest, adding theft and robbery are among the examples.

Only in such instances where a seizable offence is reported, he said, are the police authorised to exercise their powers to record statements from the relevant witnesses.

“In the present case, how does a mere purported casual telephone conversation, authenticated or not, with no relation to a crime, fall within the meaning and classification of a seizable offence?”

He called on the IGP to explain how he is authorised to summon Anwar and Zahid to record their statements, as calling them in could be a breach of the CPC and Penal Code.

Both Anwar and Zahid have denied they were the ones featured in the audio clip which discusses matters related to the Umno general assembly held last month, especially the “No Anwar, no PPBM, no DAP” stand in forming any alliance to face the next general election.