Establishment of a Tribunal to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib as Attorney-General

Establishment of a Tribunal to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib as Attorney-General

I am writing to officially ask you to raise in the Cabinet on Wednesday, 17th January 1990, the question of involving Article 145 of the Constitution to establish a Tribunal to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman as Attorney-General.

Never before in the history of Malaysia has an Attorney-General suffered such nation-wide loss of public confidence, credibility and even legitimacy as a result of his improper, unjustifiable and unlawful decision in January 1989 to destroy the eleven videotapes and four envelops of 2,000 photographs recovered by the Police in connection with the robbery in the house of the Deputy Speaker, D.P.Vijandran on August 3,1988.

As the Constitution provides that the Attornet-General can only be removed by the establishment of a Tribunal by the Yang di Pertuan Agong as in the manner for the removal of Supreme Court Judges, the Cabinet should make this decision to advise the Yang di Pertuan Agong on the need to establish such a Tribunal to remove Tan Sri Abu Talib.

Tan Sri Abu Talib should be removed as Attorney-General on three grounds:

Firstly, in destroying the eleven videotapes and the four envelops of 2,000 photographs, the Attorney-General has obstructed the process of justice. This has now hampered police investigations into various police reports that had been lodged in connection with these videotapes and photographs. Or as the CID Director, Datuk Haji Zaman Khan, told the press on Wednesday: “How can we proceed with the investigations without the tapes?” If someone can provide the tape we may be able to continue.” It is apt to describe the destruction of the videotapes as the destruction of justice.

Secondly, the surreptitious, secretive and mysterious manner in which the eleven videotapes and 2,000 photographs were destroyed under the directive of the Attorney-General where even the Deputy Home Minister, the Inspector-General of Police, the CID, Directors and other senior Home Ministry and Police officials were kept in the dark about the destruction and were to lead to make statements misleading the Cabinet, Parliament and the whole country for over a month about the videotapes. Clearly, the Attorney-General was hoping that the whole controversy would blow away and he would not have to reveal that the tapes and photographs had been destroyed on his directive. It is only when Tan Sri Abu Talib realized that the controversy would not blow away that he belatedly confessed to the destruction of the videotapes and photographs. Such surreptitious, secretive and mysterious conduct is most unbecoming of a person holding the high office of Attorney-General.

Thirdly, in deciding that the eleven videotapes and four envelops of 2,000 photographs should be destroyed, instead of returning them to their owner, D.P.Vijandran, the inescapable conclusion is that the Attorney-General did this because the tapes and photographs were pornographic. In failing to charge D.P.Vijandran under Section 24(1) of the Films (conserships) Act 1952 which makes possession of obscene videotapes a serious offence punishable by a fine up to $10,000 or maximum jail sentence of six months or both, Tan Sri Abu Talib has demonstrated bias, favouritism and therefore abuse of his prerogative as Attorney-General on criminal prosecutions.

Appointment of independent Special Prosecutor for all cases connected with destruction of Vijandran tapes

Police reports have been lodged against the Attorney-General for having committed a criminal offence for destroying the eleven videotapes and the four envelops of 2,000 photographs. It is unimaginable that Tan Sri Abu Talib should be placed in a placed in a position where he would decide on these police reports lodged against him, advising the Police how it should conduct its investigation and finally deciding whether he himself should be arrested and charged in court.

It is a fundamental principle that justice must not only be done but seen to de done. For this reason, it is imperative that the Cabinet should appoint an independent Special Posecutor to be the final authority to deal with all cases connected with police reports lodged against Tan Sri Abu Talib for destroying the videotapes.

Public confidence in the independence, impartially and integrity of the administration of justice will be irreparably damaged if no steps is immediately taken to satisfy the public that tan Sri Abu Talib would not in anyway influence the Police on investigation into the police reports lodged against him or participate or influence the decision on whether he should be arrested and prosecuted for the obstruction of justice in ordering the destruction of the videotapes.

Removal of Vijandran as Deputy Speaker

I am also asking you as Prime Minister and leader of the Barisan Nasional to agree the immediate removal of D.P.Vijandran as Deputy Speaker. The government cannot and should not use the defamation suilt filed by D.P.Vijandran against Karpal Singh as an excuse for inaction on the allegation of Vijandran’s featuring in the pornographic tapes.

The eleven videotapes concerned were in the custody and care of the police from October 1988. The Government, through the Police investigations and viewing of the videotapes concerned, knew what was on the tapes. The government has a moral and political responsibility to act on the information in its possession, though the police and the Attorney-General, to safeguard the good name and reputation of the country.

This is an issue which has nothing whatsoever to do with the defamation suit filed by D.P.Vijandran against Karpal Singh. Similarly, if the government has clear information that a Minister or Deputy Minister is corrupt, it has a moral and political responsibility to rid the Government of such a Minister or Deputy Minister, and not wait for civil litigation to prove such corruption- even the if it had failed to file corruption charges in court in the first places.

There is a growing sense of moral outrage among the people at the government’s stand on the D.P.Vijandranissue, where the Government, from the Prime Minister downwards, seem to be solidly behind D.P.Vijandran.

The Government must not shrink its duty and responsibility to the people and country by hiding the defamation suilt of Vijandran, which might take a few years before it could be disposed off. The responsibility before the Government is not to wait to see who will win in the Vijandran-Karpal defamation suit.

The Government’s pressing responsibility is to safeguard the honour and reputation of the country. With the information in its possession as to the contents of the eleven videotapes, the Government must either publicly and categorically state that the videotapes are not pornographic or that Vijandran did not feature in them, or take the only honourable and responsible way out to remove the D.P.Vijandran as Deputy Speaker of Parliament.

If the government is not prepared to publicly exonerate D.P.Vijandran although it had information in its possession about the nature of the eleven videotapes, the Malaysian public can only conclude that D.P.Vijandran is not fit to continue as Deputy Speaker and Member of the Parliament. The Government has only itself to blame if this public feeling is further strengthened by the scandalous destruction of the eleven videotapes.

Your Government was started in 1981 on a high moral tone with the slogan of ‘Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Administration. It will be most ironic if the government has reached a stage where it is not prepared to publicly exonerate its Deputy Speaker of grave moral charges, by declaring whether the eleven videotapes which the Police had taken possession and custody were pornographic and featured D.P.Vijandran – and yet all the Ministers and the entire Government are giving full support to such a person to remain as Deputy Speaker.

I am not asking you to pre-judge D.P.Vijandran in the Vijandran-Karpal defamation suit or to convict him without trial. I am asking you to do your duty to the country on the basic of the information the Police and the Attorney-General possessed about the nature of the eleven videotapes to inform the country whether D.P.Vijandran is fit to remain as Deputy Speaker.

Otherwise, the government seems to be taking the highly immoral position that even if Vijnandran featured in the pornographic videotapes, the governments is not prepared to take many action unless someone has been able to prove it to the satisfaction of a court in a civil defamation case, after it had created further obstacles by illegally destroying the tapes, and which is serious about its moral and political responsibilities.

Your Government must be prepared to publicly state, on the basic of its information on the eleven videotapes, whether Vijandran is fit to continue as Deputy Speaker, and the government must be prepared to stand or fall on the veracity of this stand. If with the information in its possession, the Governemnt is not prepared to exonerate Vijandran on the videotapes, then you should do your duty to the country by agreeing to the immediately removal of Vijandran as Deputy Speaker.

For A Truly Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy Government.