Demanding that the accused prove innocence is utter rubbish!

— P Ramakrishnan
The Malay Mail Online
August 13, 2013

AUG 13 — The accepted legal norm is that the accused is innocent until proven guilty. That is the basic law. That is the golden thread of the law. That is the basis of justice.

It appears that Ranjit Singh Dhillon, the Penang Bar Committee’s criminal law chairman, has totally ignored this time-honoured principle by demanding that Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Karpal Singh declare their assets to prove their innocence. This is ridiculous!

If this was Ranjit Singh’s personal view, that would be of no consequence. But this view was stated in his capacity as an official of the Penang Bar – that makes it preposterous!

Malaysians would like to know if the Penang Bar shares Ranjit’s absurd view or does it disassociate itself from this view? This must be stated immediately and clearly. Malaysians should not be left wondering what has happened to the Penang Bar. Isn’t justice and fairness the paramount concern of the Bar? This must rightly be so.

Ranjit’s sober position should have been to ask the accuser to make a police report and provide the MACC with the so-called evidence in his possession that suggests that there was corruption in the conduct of these two Pakatan leaders. In this manner, he would have facilitated the commencement of criminal investigation by both the police and the MACC. Unfortunately, Ranjit did not do this. He did not promote the cause of justice.

What are the facts?

The defeated candidate for the Permatang Pauh constituency during the GE 13, Dr Mazlan Ismail of the Barisan Nasional, had revealed on 2 July 2013 that he had received more than 6,000 anonymous letters alleging that Anwar had paid Karpal Singh RM50m since 2008 as fees and money to bribe the judges and prosecutors in order to be acquitted in the ‘Sodomy II’ case.

According to Mazlan, each letter was eight pages long and contained copies of savings account numbers of various banks and amounts belonging to Anwar. It was also mentioned that payment was made to Karpal via cheques.

In all, Mazlan amazingly received 48,000 pages! All these letters, it seems, had similar allegations. Why then the need for so many similar letters to state the same allegations? Was a syndicate involved in this scam to churn out letters and post them to denigrate opposition politicians?

It would appear that some mischief-makers are on the prowl, committed to a clandestine plot to defame these two opposition leaders. Incredibly, Ranjit takes this very seriously as though some damning evidence had truly been disclosed by these plotters which could seriously implicate Anwar and Karpal!

One would have expected the Chief Justice to immediately defend the good name of the judiciary and the integrity of the judges and condemn this bizarre allegation that Karpal had bribed the judges. It is sad that this wasn’t the case. Since Anwar was acquitted in the Sodomy II trial, what is the implication concerning the allegation? Was the allegation made to create the impression that the judges were indeed bribed to acquit Anwar?

It would have been keeping with justice had the Attorney-General ordered a full and thorough probe into this serious allegation. The public prosecutors from the AG’s Chambers have been accused of being bought. It reflects very badly on the AG’s Chambers. He is duty-bound to safeguard the integrity of his officials. But there is no evidence to suggest that he has acted in any meaningful manner to establish the integrity of his Chambers.

Shouldn’t the police and the MACC have investigated this allegation of bribing – which has profound consequences for our nation? After all, it has been disclosed that these letters contained details of the bank savings accounts and amounts involved. Why have these two institutions failed to act?

Instead of demanding that Mazlan should provide evidence to substantiate his allegations, Ranjit is demanding that both Anwar and Karpal disclose their assets. Is this how the judicial system functions – by asking the accused to prove their innocence? This appears to be cock-eyed justice that will not have any credibility.

As Anwar and Karpal are well-known political personalities, many are just waiting for this kind of trash to make political capital of it.

True to form, Utusan Malaysia jumped into the fray, picking up Ranjit’s version of justice and has gone to town with front page coverage demanding the very thing that Ranjit wanted, i.e., Anwar and Karpal to make public their assets.

Utusan wasn’t interested that these are baseless allegations without a shred of evidence to make them credible. It was not bothered that the reputation of the judiciary had been brought into disrepute by these reckless allegations. All they cared about was political opportunism to exploit this to the utmost.

Ranjit’s ridiculous position must be condemned in the interest of justice. His absurd and cock-eyed notion of justice has provided fodder for Utusan Malaysia to exploit a reckless and baseless allegation.

* P Ramakrishan is a former president of Aliran, and is now an Aliran executive committee member.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 7:40 am

    Shouldn’t the logic be that the accused be given a chance to prove his innocence AFTER proven guilty?

  2. #2 by Di Shi Jiu on Wednesday, 14 August 2013 - 11:45 am


    It is easy to see that Ranjit Singh Dhillon has been practising law for a very long time in Malaysia – he seems to believe in guilty until proven innocent.

    I am sure Ranjit Singh Dhillon will do well in Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan, Haiti, Liberia and other similar countries.

    Keep it up, Ranjit Singh Dhillon. We need to be reminded regularly of how the Malaysian justice system works or does not :)

  3. #3 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Thursday, 15 August 2013 - 12:26 am

    I don’t want to know where Ranjit studied his law.

    Penang Bar – with an illustrious lawyer like Ranjit, wouldn’t that be a smear on this Pearl of the Orient?

    What would international investors say, eh?
    Penang bar Chairman, kononnya.

  4. #4 by Noble House on Thursday, 15 August 2013 - 1:47 am

    It is excusable if such an absurd view were taken from one of those UMNO goons. But when it is someone as the Penang Bar Committee’s criminal law chairman, then it is all the more inexcusable. How did you get elected anyway, Ranjit?

  5. #5 by waterfrontcoolie on Thursday, 15 August 2013 - 10:31 am

    When you are desperate any rumor is a fact if none is available then create one. With today technology, Mazlan could only generate 48,000 pages? I thought he would have printed 480,000 pages or even 4.8 million pages of lies. Unless you tell the respondents that they are rewarded, you can’t even get 2 replies! Just ask those experts in this field!

  6. #6 by sheriff singh on Thursday, 15 August 2013 - 4:36 pm

    ‘Penang Bar’. is It that drinking hole on Penang Road?

  7. #7 by mauriyaII on Thursday, 15 August 2013 - 10:14 pm

    This Ranjit fellow might have had a few (or is too many) shots at the Penang Bar before he decided to show off his legal knowledge! Well, we have real legal lions such as Karpal and at the same time we have dimwits like Ranjit to bring down the good name of the Singhs in the country.

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