PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is legally obliged to report those who pressured him to clear certain individuals from criminal charges, says the Malaysian Bar.
In a statement today, its president AG Kalidas said that if true, whoever had approached Muhyiddin to intervene in court matters is procuring the commission of a criminal offence.
Kalidas said according to Section 25 of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2009 (Act 694), any person who is given, promised or offered any gratification shall report this to MACC immediately.
“‘Gratification’ under Section 3(f) of Act 694 includes any service or favour, and this includes protection from any penalty from action or proceedings. It is evident from the law that the prime minister is legally obliged to report such an incident immediately to MACC,” said Kalidas.
“The police and MACC must promptly commence investigations into these incriminating accusations.
“The prime minister’s claims are serious allegations of attempts to persuade him to break the law and abuse his prime ministerial powers, and these have acute implications on the rule of law and the administration of justice in our country,” he said.
Kalidas also said Muhyiddin owes a duty to the rakyat to provide a “full and frank disclosure” of the identities of these parties and bring them to justice, adding that failing to do so may give rise to unnecessary speculation or perception concerning the prime minister himself.
In a national address yesterday, Muhyiddin claimed he was under pressure from “certain parties” to intervene in court matters.
“This included pressure for me to… release several individuals who were charged with criminal offences,” he said.
Meanwhile, an Umno Youth chief has lodged a police report against Muhyiddin, stating that the premier’s statement was “very serious” as it involves the interference of the executive branch in the judiciary’s affairs.
In a statement on Umno’s Facebook page, Syed Mohd Johan Rizal Syed Unan, who heads Umno Youth in Alor Setar, said Muhyiddin’s claims have undermined the doctrine of separation of powers – which he said is the foundation of the nation’s democratic system.
“If misinterpreted, the statement seems (to suggest) the country’s legal and justice system can be traded, thus damaging the image, integrity and prestige of the judiciary,” he said.
“The prime minister has to prove his allegations. If he doesn’t, it seems as if he is just firing empty bullets to kill the character of certain individuals because of political differences.
“The burden of proof is on the prime minister after he made those allegations public.”