Bersatu, Umno leaders slam AG for dropping LTTE cases
Published: 12:07 pm
Bersatu and Umno leaders have criticised Attorney-General Tommy Thomas’ decision to discontinue the prosecution of 12 suspects for their alleged links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a defunct separatist group in Sri Lanka.
Bersatu Malacca deputy chief Mohd Rafiq Naizamohideen accused Thomas (photo) of abuse of power.
“Thomas has interfered in the affairs of the executive, home minister and can be considered to have abused his power,” he said in a Facebook statement.
In an 11-page statement, Thomas had said the common thread among all of them was that they simply had photos of slain LTTE leaders, such as Velupillai Prabhakaran, in their phones or Facebook accounts.
He had also said that the home minister’s order declaring an entity a terrorist group is not meant to be permanent and should be reviewed every six months to find out whether there are still reasonable grounds for such an order to continue.
The LTTE became defunct in 2009 after it was defeated by the Sri Lankan army.
Meanwhile, Bersatu Youth exco Muzzammil Ismail said Thomas’ decision had challenged Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s credibility. Muhyiddin is also Bersatu president.
“As a result of dropping the cases, the people now have no confidence and are suspicious of the judicial system and the government,” he said.
Muzzammil questioned if suspects of other organisations recognised by the government as terrorist groups can now also ask that their cases be dropped.
“The AG does have absolute power in deciding whether a proceeding should be initiated or amended but the issue here is that Thomas has exceeded the powers of the prime minister and home minister.
“The bigger issue is the people’s perception, particularly among Malay Muslims, towards the government, which has deteriorated as a result of such decisions that are seen to be biased and have certain agendas,” he said.
Meanwhile, Umno Youth exco Mustafa Shah Abdul Hamid called for Thomas’ resignation.
“I am sure many people are shaking their heads at the AG’s decision.
“This is a serious matter involving national security. There can be no compromise in matters of national security and the AG’s decision has only raised concerns.
“Umno Youth demands that Thomas resigns as AG,” he said.
LTTE 12 – Tommy Thomas paints a bull’s-eye on his back
S THAYAPARANPublished: 8:28 am | Modified: 8:28 am
“Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government.”
– Edward Bernays
COMMENT | The attorney-general’s decision to discontinue proceedings against the LTTE 12 is welcome news. While the Bar Council rightly asks why charges were brought against the 12 in the first place and numerous political operatives have been expressing their relief at such a conclusion, a darker narrative is taking shape.
Already my inbox and phone have been inundated with messages from people crying foul about this decision. A well-known far-right personality called me up and wondered if Tommy Thomas (above) had “signalled” to the Indian community that these “terrorists” were going to be freed beforehand? Yes, the Indian community has our super-secret telepathy which we use to communicate amongst ourselves.
Another (Islamist) lectured me about the injustice of Muslim terrorists detained by the state when these “Indian” terrorists were set free. I suppose his argument is that we should not arrest any terrorist and leave them to carry out their plots without any interference.
Thomas was always in an extremely messed-up position. Let’s drop the politically correct kumbaya for a moment, shall we? When Thomas became the AG, the far-right and agents of the fascist state went berserk. This was exactly the kind of doomsday scenario of an “Indian” AG in charge that they envisioned.
If the AG went ahead with these horse manure charges, he would have been vilified by the minority communities and the far-right would have used him as further evidence that the non-Malays could not handle it when members of their own community were charged with terrorism-related activities. Hence, all these communist and LTTE narratives being peddled at the moment.
If the AG dropped the charges, his ethnicity would be used against him. Already we have public personalities like the Malaysian Muslim Solidarity movement (Isma) president calling for the “public” to ask for the AG’s resignation. Isma head honcho Haji Aminuddin Yahaya said this: “Ini sudah tentu memberikan mesej yang salah kepada rakyat yang menampakkan semua isu yang membabitkan penyokong DAP terlepas walhal kita yakin polis tidak akan tangkap tanpa ada bukti yang cukup.
“Apakah negara sedang menuju ke era keganasan dengan terbebasnya suspek-suspek yang terkait dengan organisasi pengganas dengan mudah sebegini? Masih selamat lagikah negara kita ini?”
Keep in mind that Aminuddin also writes for Malaysiakini and hislast column was about how the DAP was using local council elections: “Semestinya ini kerana mereka melihat ini sebagai peluang untuk menguntungkan kaum mereka. MCA dan DAP berpolitik dan berstrategi untuk kepentingan dan agenda kaum, bukannya parti semata-mata.”
The LTTE 12 was always supposed to be a counter-narrative to Islamic terrorism and, of course, a convenient method to muzzle dissent. Please refer to my earlier article where DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang reminds us of this when he eloquently dissected the actions of former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in the “Batu Caves 31” attempted murder case:
“What was the justification for the attorney-general leading the attack on Hindraf for its alleged terrorist links? Yesterday, Gani said his linking Hindraf to the LTTE in his argument at the Shah Alam Sessions Court on Wednesday was based on a police report. He said: ‘Somebody lodged a police report that there are grounds that these people have been going out to (establish) contact with this LTTE’.”
But forget about public personalities who are just the start of a propaganda campaign against the current AG. As reported in the Straits Times, an “intelligence source” said: “All our time and effort have gone to waste. We had a hunch that this would happen, especially when he (Mr Thomas) decided to drop the charges against Gunasekaran. But it’s still very upsetting,” the source said.
“Since the very beginning, Mr Thomas was quite reluctant to charge them, especially the two DAP lawmakers, even though we have presented him with enough evidence to try them in court. Fighting terrorism will be harder now since this case has set a precedent.”
Notice the similarity in the point this source raised and the kind of polemics coming from Yahaya and those who are aghast at the AG’s decision. This idea that the state security apparatus had put in time and effort to build a case only to have it thrown out by the AG.
I, too, have my own sources and while they may not be as stellar as the Straits Times‘, my sources tell me that they have no idea why they were wasting time on this when there are threats out there who pose a clear and present danger to this country. My sources tell me that all this has done is open the state security apparatus to allegations of torture and conspiracy theories which makes their job all the more difficult.
And then there are the false equivalency ploys like the one lawyer M Hafiz Zainol Abidin is propagating. Abidin is hoping to use this “reasoning” for the benefit of his Islamic State clients: “Today, the AG in his decision to discontinue proceedings against 12 suspects linked to LTTE, cited that having materials like photos and other representations of a terrorist do not make the supporter regarded as one or is planning a terrorist act.”
Well, that’s swell. Maybe he has clients who idol worship IS terrorists and have pictures of them for who-knows-what purposes. But he also has clients who were intent on causing harm to citizens of this country. In 2017, Hafiz represented a father and son in their appeal to reduce their 12-year sentence for their involvement in a criminal conspiracy to promote terrorism in Malaysia. Their appeal was rejected.
As reported in the Borneo Post, “The DPP pointed out that Abu Daud had incited terrorist acts by planning to create chaos in the country, planning to kidnap some of the country’s leaders and to raid army camps for weapons.
“During a meeting in Pendang on Jan 30, 2015, Murad Halimmuddin, his son and a few other individuals pledged to recruit at least 20 people to launch jihad in Malaysia. Abu Daud had also suggested at the meeting that they kidnap a few of the country’s leaders in exchange for certain individuals detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma).”
So, this false equivalency between the IS and the now-defunct LTTE is going to gain more momentum and the AG is going to be hardpressed to justify not taking action against people who idol worship IS terrorists but who have – so far – not planned anything against this country. Do you see how dangerous this situation is, especially when we have an Indian provocateur lurking in the background?
If I was paranoid, I would argue that all is going according to plan.
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.
Saturday, 22 Feb 2020 11:32 AM MYT
BY ZURAIRI AR
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 ― The Malaysian Muslim Lawyers Association (PPMM) has urged today for relevant parties to file a review challenging Attorney General (AG) Tan Sri Tommy Thomas’ decision to drop terrorism charges against 12 Malaysians who purportedly had links to the now-defunct group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The group also called for Thomas to step down from his position, failing so PPMM will call on the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to replace him with someone “more capable and transparent”.
“PPMM believes a court action must be done by any stakeholders to challenge the decision of the AG and as a signal to him to not wantonly use his authority without the correct legal considerations,” its president Datuk Zainul Rijal Abu Bakar said in a statement.
He said the powers of the AG are not “non-justiciable” and is therefore open to judicial review.
Zainul Rijal also claimed that a series of decision by Thomas have allegedly showed that he cannot hold the responsibility of the AG and the public prosecutor.
However, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was forced to hold its plan to separate the function of the public prosecutor from the AG post in 2018, as it requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament to amend the Federal Constitution.
Twelve Malaysians, including two DAP state lawmakers, were charged under Section 130 of the Penal Code with supporting terrorism for their alleged links to the LTTE and have been held at the Sungai Buloh Prison since.
They are Melaka state executive councillor G. Saminathan, Negri Sembilan assemblyman P. Gunasekaran, corporate CEO S. Chandru, V. Balamurugan, S. Teran, A. Kalaimughilan, S. Arivainthan, S. Thanagaraj, M. Pumugan, R. Sundram, V. Suresh Kumar and B. Subramaniam.
Yesterday, Thomas said the decision to drop the case was made under his constitutional discretionary powers after finding insufficient evidence to back its prosecution that would lead to a “realistic prospect of conviction”.
Under the law, they could have been sentenced to jail for life (which is a maximum of 30 years), or a fine and can have any of their properties used in the offence confiscated, if trial had continued and they were convicted.
In comparison to PPMM, the Malaysian Bar had yesterday urged the AG to explain why the 12 had been arrested and charged in the first place as they had been detained and refused bail under Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012, a preventive security law it described as “draconian” and an “affront to natural justice”.
The Bar added that it was disheartening for Malaysians to know they can be arrested, charged and locked up without bail for a prolonged period on charges when the prosecution’s chances of conviction were thin.