Here are the hidden messages behind Musa Aman’s acquittal
After GE-14, the rakyat had high hopes that corrupt politicians would be punished. The taxpayers’ money was stolen, but no-one was found guilty.
Pakatan Harapan may have been slow to implement their reforms, but they did initiate the investigation and arrest of corrupt politicians. The rakyat was euphoric when some politicians received travel bans, surrendered their passports, endured raids on their homes, made daily trips to the offices of the MACC for detailed questioning, and had their bank accounts frozen.
Over the last month, two people at the highest echelons of power, involved in high profile cases, have been freed and cleared of the charges.
The first signs of trouble emerged when disgraced Najib Abdul Razak’s stepson, Riza, was granted a Discharge Not Amounting to an Acquittal, (DNAA) for money laundering involving RM1.08 billion.
On 9 June, the former Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman, was granted a full acquittal for 46 charges relating to dirty money. These involved 35 corruption charges for which he allegedly received bribes of between US$28,500 and US$16,148,547, and 16 money laundering charges for allegedly receiving US$37 million from various individuals and timber companies.
The spotlight then fixed on the new Attorney-General (AG), Idrus Harun. Rightly or wrongly, he faces the wrath of the rakyat.
Despite the official statements issued by the AG and the former CM, it behoves us to read between the lines, to find the motivations of each man.
I. What it means for the A-G
Idrus said that prosecutors withdrew all 46 charges against Musa on 9 June, because former Attorney-General, Gani Patail had issued the affidavit in support of Musa’s application to strike out the charges. In 2012, Gani decided to take no action against Musa, because investigations showed that the money was for political funding.
In last month’s explanation for the DNAA awarded to Najib’s stepson, Riza, Idrus said that former AG, Tommy Thomas, had agreed, in principle, to Riza’s DNAA and was prepared to consider Riza’s offer of a deal.
Is Idrus unable to think for himself? Can’t he scrutinise and give a fresh airing to these high profile cases of national interest? He uses the decisions of former AGs to issue the final verdict. He has failed to give a good impression of his work performance and judgement.
The rakyat will wonder if he has been placed under tremendous pressure from the new PN administration, especially as most of the corrupt politicians in Umno-Baru have been rewarded for their loyalty, despite their tainted past.
After decades of institutionalised corruption, racism, extremism and injustice, the rakyat is eager for a fresh start, but the AG may have compromised their ideals.
II. What it means for Musa
An euphoric former Sabah Chief Minister, Musa, his family and supporters must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when he was freed. No-one would have missed the connection, that the affidavit was provided by the former AG, who is also a Sabahan.
Sabah is the poorest nation in Malaysia. Crooks steal from the people of Sabah, but no-one is found guilty, despite the wealth gained from petroleum, oil-palm, timber and tourism.
Musa played to the Muslim crowd and immediately thanked God for ensuring justice was served and that it was by God’s will that his name had been cleared. He said that God had put him and his family through a test and that God was fair and rewarded his patience.
He said that his innocence of the graft charges was “very clear” and “indisputable”; but the rakyat would like to know how.
Malaysians recall the cowardly Musa, sneaking into Brunei to take a flight to Singapore and thence to England. He was filmed in London, by Malaysians who recognised him, but he then claimed that he was abroad, for medical treatment.
If he was confident of his innocence, why did he have to go through the drama of running away, hiding and playing on the heartstrings of the gullible public, by returning to Malaysia, on a stretcher?
III. What it means for the rakyat
The rakyat compare theft on a grand scale, by politicians and their children, and the punishments they receive.
They note that the poor, who struggle to scrape a living to feed their families and are forced to steal, are given harsher punishments. The thief suffers, along with his family.
On the other hand, corrupt politicians who escape punishment, mock the courts and give the metaphorical two fingers to the rakyat. Is the whole judicial system compromised?
Or are there two sets of laws – one for the elite, and one for the ordinary man?
The two acquittals do not bode well for the nation, The rakyat will not be surprised if Najib and his spouse, the former, self-styled First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM), Rosmah Mansor will be freed, as will the others, such as Zahid Hamidi (former DPM), Abdul Azeez Rahim (Tabung Haji) and Isa Samad (Felda).
The A-G has a choice
The Attorney-General lives on a knife-edge. He either faces the wrath of the rakyat or will be forced to live in constant fear of the retribution from Umno-Baru politicians.
Can Idrus Harun live with his conscience if he fails to uphold justice, as he was trained to do? Will he protect the integrity of his office and his public role, in the interests of the nation and the rakyat?