Sun. Jul 21st, 2024


The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) ultimatum to Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to issue an apology within 48 hours over his reference to the detention of Penang EXCO member Phee Boon Poh as being a “penahanan haram oleh SPRM” (illegal detention by MACC) at a recent press conference as reported by Malaysiakini in its report titled, “MACC gives Guan Eng 48hrs to apologise over ‘illegal’ detention remark” on 25.8.2017 is ill-advised as there can be no doubt that the said statement was made having regard to the prevailing circumstances and as such, was certainly justified.

In this regard, it must be noted that Judicial Commissioner Datuk Abdul Wahab Mohamed, in setting aside the 5-day remand order issued against Phee and two others on 12.8.2017, effectively ruled that the detention of the said trio based on the said detention order was illegal since the said detention was based on an invalid order. Since the trio were detained based on an invalid order, the effect of the learned Judicial Commissioner’s decision was that they were indeed detained illegally by the MACC 24 hours after their arrest.

In the circumstances, there can be no doubt that the CM was justified in describing the said detention as illegal.

Further, it is obvious that the CM was not saying that the arrest of the said trio was illegal since he did not use the words “penangkapan haram”. In other words, it is clear that the CM was referring to the continued detention of the said trio 24 hours after their arrest by the MACC which was clearly based on an invalid order.

The position is further compounded by the fact that the officer who appeared on behalf of the MACC at the remand proceedings on 12.8.2017 actually conceded that the learned Senior Assistant Registrar had erred in issuing the said 5-day remand order without affording counsel for the said trio a right to be heard yet, sought to defend the validity of the said detention order during the revision of same before the learned Judicial Commissioner two days later!

The MACC further claims to have filed Notice of Appeal against the decision of the said learned Judicial Commissioner to the Court of Appeal in its statement yesterday and further warned that commenting on the said decision of the said learned Judicial Commissioner may be in contempt of court as the matter may be sub judice.

To date, I can confirm that neither YB Phee or his lawyers have received a copy of the said Notice of Appeal and as such, are not aware that such notice has been filed as claimed in the said statement of the MACC.

In the circumstances, the question of the CM making comments which may be sub judice and possibly being in contempt of court does not arise for the simple reason that the MACC has not even bothered to notify Phee or his lawyers that it has appealed against the said decision! Even assuming commenting on the said detention order is sub judice, how can the CM be said to be in contempt of court if he is not aware that an appeal is pending since we have not been served the said Notice of Appeal?

The MACC should cease and desist from issuing baseless threats to the CM and instead explain how information regarding the freezing of four bank accounts of Phee was leaked and made public. Since the said information was obtained directly by MACC, there is an irresistible inference that the leak must have been caused by MACC as well.

It is baffling as to how the MACC could have allowed such information to have reached the public domain as not only could this jeopardise investigations but it can also endanger the lives of Phee and his family.

In the circumstances, I can see no reason for the CM to respond to such a baseless ultimatum by the MACC although it is open for him to do so. On the contrary, an explanation ought to come from the MACC for the reason stated above.

Dated 26th August, 2017.