Backdoor Speaker Art Harun Might As Well Request Judge To Let Najib Skip Prison To Attend Parliament
July 21st, 2020 by financetwitter
Some simpletons thought newly bulldozed Speaker of Dewan Rakyat (Lower House of Representative) – Azhar Azizan Harun – should be forgiven when he allowed racist remarks to spread like Coronavirus in the Parliament on the first day of his job. Some naive people thought the new speaker, popularly known as Art Harun, was probably still learning the rope.
But Art Harun wasn’t born yesterday. He is a lawyer by training and a long-time social activist. He had criticised those who label individuals or groups as “liberals” or “secularists” for advocating a way of life, arguing that the concept of liberalism was well embraced in all other parts of the civilised world. He even had condemned Malaysia’s religious inequality.
So how could a good guy like Azhar Azizan Harun allow a well known thug like UMNO MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim get away after he threw deplorable racist remarks – “Dark (gelap), can’t see!” – against Opposition MP Kasthurirani Patho, who is of Indian ethnicity? It was clearly an afterthought that Art Harun told his new racist colleague Azeez the next day to apologize.
The new speaker should reprimand Azeez on the spot. But one doesn’t need a rocket scientist to tell that Art Harun was all along a fake social activist after he started spinning and twisting the Standing Order 4(1), arguing that since there is no provision for the removal of a speaker, it can be done. He sounded very desperate for the job, to the extent of becoming a backdoor speaker.
Some said it didn’t matter if it was a front door or a backdoor, as long as the person can do his job. But there’re differences between a backdoor speaker and a front door speaker. This is not about a black cat or a white cat’s ability to catch mice. This is about getting the job through the right procedure and earned the respect from both sides of the divide.
As expected, before the dust of his controversial appointment as the Parliament Speaker settles, Art Harun has done it again. At the center of yet another fiasco, Harun wrote a letter to High Court Judge Collin Lawrence Sequerah to grant an adjournment for former PM Najib Razak in order for him to attend the Parliament and deliver his debate – in the middle of his 1MDB trial on July 16.
Again, Speaker Azhar Harun shamelessly defended his decision to write the letter to Judge Collin, denying he was giving an instruction to the judge. He argued it was a request, not an order to the high court judge. Azhar, furious that his decision has been criticised, said – “I requested his honourable judge’s consideration, I did not give him any instructions.”
Perhaps the new speaker thought everyone was stupid except him and his brother, newly appointed Attorney General Idrus Harun. The fact that High Court Judge Collin had initially rejected Najib’s request to skip court to attend Parliament, only to grant the request after Speaker Harun produced the letter, suggest that the judge has been somehow intimidated or pressured.
In an initial application to excuse Najib’s presence in court, hotshot defence lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had actually argued that preventing an MP (Member of Parliament) from carrying out his duties may tantamount to contempt of Parliament. The threat forced Judge Collin to ask – “Are you saying I will be held in contempt of Parliament if I don’t allow this?”
Shafee then appeared to remind the judge that it would be a breach of privilege which is punishable under the laws of Parliament, citing the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952. After the judge ignored the defence lawyer’s threat, Najib’s team went to the Speaker for the so-called “letter of support” with an ill-intention to pressure the judge.
After viewing the letter from Speaker Harun, Justice Sequerah said – “What I’ve decided to do, if your client’s supposed to be there at 3.30pm, I have decided to go on, continue without lunch break. I’ll stop at 3.15pm. Your client can proceed to Parliament, it’s just around the corner.” The simple fact that the judge changed his mind after digesting the letter means the letter probably contained some element of intimidation.
As a lawyer, Art Harun should understand the basic concept of separation of powers, a doctrine of constitutional law under which the three branches of government (executive, legislative, and judicial) are kept separate. For the speaker to produce a letter to support Najib’s request is perceived and seen as interfering with the independence of the Judiciary system.
Exactly why should a Speaker of the Parliament agree to produce a letter on behalf of an MP who is currently on trial of money laundering and corruption and criminal breach of trust (CBT)? The speaker should allow the judge decides without fear or favour, whether to grant Najib the request to skip court to attend Parliament. Art Harun’s failure to do so means he did not practice impartiality, independence and neutrality.
On the contrary, Art Harun’s decision to write a letter suggests that he was hired by the backdoor government to facilitate crooks like Najib to enjoy special privileges and to give an impression that the Executive and Legislative are working hand in glove to pressure the Judicial. It sends a wrong message that even the Parliament is bending backwards to defend the disgraced Najib.
Yes, Art Harun has essentially bent over like a prostitute so that a crook like Najib and his lawyer can take turns screwing him over and over again. And the whole episode has gotten so hilarious and pathetic that even Rais Yatim, who was sworn in as a Senator and to be appointed Dewan Negara (Upper House of Representatives), has mocked and insulted Speaker Harun.
Mocking the speaker’s decision, Mr. Rais said the incident might set a precedent which would allow MPs to be given special exemption from scheduled court proceedings. He said – “This speaker is incredible. What does an MP have that a normal person doesn’t? Has the speaker forgotten Article 8 of the Federal Constitution?” (Article 8 says that all Malaysians are equal before the law).
No one actually expects Rais Yatim to belittle and ridicule fellow colleague Azhar Harun. After all, both men were appointed by the same backdoor prime minister to bend the rules in favour of the backdoor government. For Rais to look down on Art Harun speaks volumes of how screwed up the speaker has become. What else is the speaker willing to do just to make PM Muhyiddin happy?
Was Najib’s attendance in the August House so important that it could not proceed without his presence, as if the world revolves around him? Speaker Harun might have the discretion to do what he did. But he should know the consequences of involving in a high profile criminal trial as serious as 1MDB scandal. Heck, Art Harun might as well request the judge to let Najib skip prison to attend Parliament.
Let’s hope the despicable Speaker will not write a similar letter to his brother, A.G. Idrus Harun, to drop all corruption charges against all UMNO crooks just so that his boss could maintain his premiership in the fragile Perikatan Nasional government. No matter how Art Harun would like to argue his case, he has clearly interfered in due process by writing to a judge. Perhaps this is another example of “Cash is King”