Show trials and downright abuse of the law by no less than the attorney-general himself. All that now stands between judicial persecution of critics and opponents of the government are a few brave judges. If they are silenced or removed, what’s left of our democracy will surely die ~ Dennis Ignatius
The insolence of Gani Patail
Long the target of allegations of grave misconduct and impropriety by accusers ranging from Anwar Ibrahim to former top cops Ramli Yusoff and Mat Zain Ibrahim, Gani has nevertheless proceeded unperturbed like master sleuth Hoover, who nursed one secret too many about the powers-that-be, and coupled that arrogant aplomb with the amorality of Vyshinky, for whom the law was what the Marxists have always held it be – a masquerade for class interests.
On April 11, Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera, in a ruling that would have made Gani’s hair stand on edge, dismissed the AG’s attempt to strike out suits brought against him by Ramli and lawyer Rosli Dahlan for alleged malicious prosecution over corruption charges.
On April 25, a Court of Appeal panel composed of judges Mohd Arif Mohd Yusof, Mah Weng Kwai and Hamid Sultan Abu Backer unanimously ruled that the provision in the Peaceful Assembly Act (PAA) requiring an organiser to give police 10 days’ notice of intent to hold a demonstration was unconstitutional.
The ruling freed deputy speaker of the Selangor state assembly, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad (left), from a lower court’s finding of guilt on a charge of having illegally organised the Black 505 gathering at Stadium Kelana Jaya last year.
The landmark ruling enabled organisers of the ant-GST rally on May 1 to go ahead with their gathering unconstrained by the police who were not only adequately notified of the organisers’ intent to demonstrate but whose suggestion of an alternative venue for the demonstration was ignored.
The anti-GST rally was held as the venue the demonstrators had wanted – Dataran Merdeka, intended scene of storied gatherings in the past where demonstrators sought to drape their anti-government sentiment in the mantle of the country’s historic site of proclamation of its independence.
The word yesterday that Nik Nazmi would be charged today in court with alleged offences against the PAA and that DAP MP for Seputeh, Teresa Kok (right), is to be charged, also today, under the Sedition Act for releasing a video that had lampooned assorted policies and public figures, are the just the way the government and its leading counsel react when things don’t go their way.
Symptoms of a siege mentality
All these are proliferating symptoms of a siege mentality evident since the oppisiton Pakatan Rakyat bested Umno-BN in the popular vote at the 13 general election held on May 5 last year.
A government that had long since lost the moral legitimacy to govern was dependent on a gerrymandered plurality in Parliament and in a majority of the state assemblies to hold on to the reins of power.
The deficit in the popular vote meant that the government’s political legitimacy to govern was also eroded and this was conduced to a situation where its leading lawyer has had to resort to legal sorcery to sustain the edifice of dictatorial rule by law instead of democratic rule of law.
As a consequence, the AG has had to comport himself the way Vyshinsky did for the tyrant Stalin – frame charges against targeted members of the opposition which a supine press and compliant judges can be counted on to legitimise.
There are the show trials of an increasingly authoritarian state that cannot abide the notion that the lease on its tenancy in authority has expired.
A state and its lead counsel that are willing to usurp authority when the legitimacy of that authority has manifestly deserted them have proven their selves barbarous event if it does not resort to mass arrests and concentration camps