The day the AG screwed himself, and Guan Eng, in the process

Posted on September 3, 2018


many-colours-one-dreamIMG-20180512-WA0040When Guan Eng was charged in 2016 by the MACC with abusing his position as chief minister in approving a land deal as well as purchasing a bungalow at below market price, most of us were convinced that he was going to get screwed by the system.

I was convinced that the unholy trinity of the MACC, the AG’s Chambers and the courts, all under the thumb of the UMNO/BN government, would see Guan Eng convicted and jailed well before the 14th GE.

Pending his conviction, UMNO/BN would, and in fact, did, go to town with his being charged in court, milking this to the maximum.

Recalling the number of people who asked my thoughts on the charge and if there was any basis for the same, it cannot be said that it had no impact on Guan Eng, perception-wise.

Then the 14th GE happened.

Out went the old MACC, and in came a new MACC.

And a new AG.

And, we hope, a judiciary that will abide by its oath of office.

We were all comforted that Guan Eng would not have to face a kangaroo court.

When the case last came up before this morning, it was postponed at the request of the prosecution.


The new AG’s Chambers would be studying the case.

They would come to court on the next day to inform the court that understood its oath of office that the charges were totally baseless, frivolous and trumped up and, for that reason, they were withdrawing the charges, and ask for the charges to be withdrawn and the accused persons acquitted.

The court which we hope understands its oath of office would take note of this, and acquit both accused.

And the new MACC would issue a statement later to concur with the views of the new AG.

This did not happen in court today.

Based on news reports, the prosecution only requested that the 2 accused be discharged on the charges, without being acquitted.

The reasons?

Nothing from the reports to indicate if the new AG proffered any reasons.

Then, quite bizarrely, the court which we hope understands its oath of office decide to acquit rather than, as requested by the prosecution, order a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

Things then got even more curious.

The Star reports that the new MACC issued the following statement after the acquittal of Guan Eng and his co-accused this morning :

“The MACC is shocked by the decision by the Penang High Court in acquitting the former chief minister of the charges of corruption in relation to the sale of a bungalow lot and the charge of conspiring with businesswoman Phang, after the prosecution retracted the case.

“The MACC would like to stress that the decision was made by the Attorney General’s office and not the MACC”.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am disturbed given the new MACC’s shock at the turn of events this morning

Does the new MACC think that that the charges brought by the old MACC were not trumped up charges?

Does the new MACC think that there was enough admissible evidence to warrant the charges being brought in the first place?

Did the prosecution offer reasons to the the court which we hope understands its oath of office and, if they did, does not the new MACC concur with their reasons for requesting the discharge?

These questions will all go to a matter of great importance to a person like Guan Eng.

Public perception amongst the thinking members of society.

I want to repeat here what I wrote on 18th May, 2008.

“One of the worst things that could happen to someone, especially a very public figure, is to be made the subject of public speculation of some great misdeed, and yet not be afforded the forum to vindicate oneself.

This subject cropped up at the Press Club a couple of nights ago.

I mentioned, half-jokingly, that if any of us was faced with some police investigation into the gruesome murder of a young woman whose body was then chopped up, the last thing such a person would want was a ‘NFA’ ( no further action ) on the investigation file, particularly if the public was openly discussing the matter and appeared to be convinced of that person’s guilt.

Unless you were in fact implicated in this horrible crime, in which case you would be grateful for the ‘NFA’. In fact, you would probably pay big time to have the matter ‘NFA’ed.

If, however, you were clean as a whistle and were being maligned by certain individuals with a hidden agenda and these individuals appeared to be successfully spinning your guilt in public space, you would want to be prosecuted so that you would have the very public forum of the courts to clear your name.

I know I would.

Take the Norita Shamsuddin murder.

Although the evidence was pathetic, there was still a charge and a trial.

And an acquittal.

And a man got to clear his name through the public forum of a court trial.

Had the AG’s chambers decided to not bring charges owing to the inadequacy of the evidence, someone would not have been able to clear his name and might have been convicted by the court of public opinion.

Most unfair!

And even if the AG’s chambers gets the flak for a failed prosecution, that should not deter such a prosecution as the purpose must be seen as two-fold, especially in a case that has generated wide publicity.

First, it shuts out the speculation whether the case was ‘NFA’ed because the prosecution was ‘got to’. Whether the police investigation team was ‘got to’ is another matter.

Second, it allows a man to clear his name out in the open.

This is of paramount importance”.

If this morning, the prosecution had not offered reasons as I have suggested above for wanting to discontinue the charges, and, given the reaction of shock by the new MACC to the discontinuance of those charges, the perception issues created by the UMNO / BN will not go away.

In fact, they just got worse!