Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday, October 24, 1994 on th third 1994 supplementary operating and development estimates
Attorney-General Datuk Mohtar Abdullah shoul openly apologise to the 15-year-old schoolgirl an her family for the injustice he has done to the in revealing police reports alleging she had se with 14 other men
This is the third set of 1994 supplementary estimate for operating and development expenditures totalling some RM84 million.
Whenever the Government comes to Parliament for ap proval for government expenditures, whether for annual budgets o supplementary estimates, it is the duty of Parliament to examin and monitor as to whether the Government had acted in conformit with the principles of a good, effective and responsible government, or to use the Barisan Nasional’s own slogan 13 years ag which had largely been forgotten by Barisan Nasional leaders – ‘A Clean, Efficient and Trustworthy’ Government!
Recently, the credibility of the Government as a good clean, efficient, responsible and trustworthy government wa again thrown into question following the announcement by th Attorney-General, Datuk Mohtar Abdullah last Friday that he ha directed the police to close investigations into the allegatio that the former Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Youth Leader, Ta Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, had committed the offence of statutory rap with an underaged schoolgirl.
I have studied the three-page statement of the Attor ney-General at his press conference last Friday and the trap script of his 45-minute question-and-answer session with pressure and I get two very strong impressions: firstly, that the Attor ney-General was very protective of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik an secondly, that Datuk Mohtar Abdullah was very unfair to the 15 year-old girl.
Malaysians of good taste and good sense are question ing why the Attorney-General had revealed that the girl ha alleged that 14 persons had sexual relations with her and ha lodged 17 police reports against them, as this has no relevant whatsoever with the allegation as to whether Rahim Tamby Cik ha committed the offence of statutory rape with an underaged schoolgirl.
Mohtar had no qualms about revealing the girl’s background but became very squeamish when questions are asked about Tan Sri Rahim
The Attorney-General had no qualms in revealing the girl’s background, that the girl had alleged that 14 persons ha sexual relations with her, but Datuk Mohtar suddenly became ver squeamish when questions are asked about Tan Sri Rahim and in particular about her allegations against him, as shown in the following transcript:
“Q: Did Tan Sri Rahim deny having sex with the girl?
“A: I can’t reveal that statement …
“Q: How many times did the girl allege she had sex with Tan Sri Rahim?
“A: I can’t reveal.
“Q: Once, more than once?
“A: I think you understand that what I can reveal, I will let you know. Any more questions?”
The point I want to make here is why the Attorney-General could be so selective in what he chooses to reveal, refusing to disclose matters which have a direct bearing on the investigation as to whether Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik had committed the offence of statutory rape of an underaged schoolgirl, while very carefree with revelations about matters which have no rele¬vance to the allegation whatsoever – but which are calculated -to undermine or destroy the credibility of the schoolgirl.
If the girl’s background is relevant to the Attorney-General’s decision to close the case, did Mohtar also take into account Tan Sri Rahim Tambv Cik’s own background?
It is clear that the Attorney-General had breached the legal maxim that ‘Justice must. not only be done but must be, seen to be done’!
More than ‘justice’ was as done to Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik which was why the former Malacca Chief Minister came out with a celebratory’ statement immediately after the Attorney-Gener¬al’s press conference, while ‘justice’ was not done at all to the 15-year-old schoolgirl.
This was why even the girl’s father, Mohd Yusop, had publicly criticised the Attorney-General for revealing police reports alleging that she had sex with 14 other men.
This is most unusual, as Mohd Yusop had been so reticent’ about the police handling of the case and the custody of his daughter that he gave the impression that he was not concerned about the girl’s fate, in contrast to the love and care shown by the girl’s maternal grandmother, Pendek Ahmad, who had been so courageous and articulate to stand up for the welfare and the rights of her grand-daughter.
Mohtar said that the girl’s background was taken into consideration in the police investigations. If the girl’s background was relevant to -the Attorney-General’s decision, did Mohtar take into account Tail Sri Rahim Tamby Cik’s background?
Mohtar said that the 14 men who were alleged to have sexual relations with the girl, did not include Rahim. Does that mean that the girl had alleged that 15 men had sexual relations with her, including Rahim?
This is an example where the Attorney-General had been very unfair to the underaged girl and overprotective of Rahim, as the effect of such statements is to undermine the girl’s credibility and to place Rahim in a better light.
Should this be the job of the Attorney-General when exercising his discretionary powers under Article 145(3) of the Federal Constitution to decide whether to “institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings for an offence”?
The Attorney-General’s revelation that the girl is pregnant also raises the question as to what relevance has the girl’s pregnancy to do with whether Rahim Tamby Cik had committed the offence of statutory rape with an underaged girl?
It is obvious that the girl was ‘required’ by the police to lodge 17 police reports against 14 men for having sexual relations with her and having committed the offence of statutory rape.
Why didn’t the Police similarly ‘require’ the girl to formally lodge a police report against Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik for statutory rape, as the Attorney-General had admitted that the initial report was made by a senior police officer to be a “covering report for the purpose of commencing investigation based on the report in the mass media”.
Mahathir was the first person to publicly refer to the allegation of Rahim having an affair with a 15-year-old schoolgirl
In fact, the first person to be reported in the mass media as referring to the allegation of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik’ having an affair with a 15-year-old girl was none other than the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamed himself, in Langkawi on 25th August – which was given extensive coverage in the mass media, both printed and electronic.
At that time, Mahathir took a very aggressive position as the next day in Genting Highlands, he said that there was no need for a police report before investigations can proceed against Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik’s alleged affair with a 15-year-old girl, with the following remarks:
“If something is wrong, we sometimes do not wait for reports. When we see a robbery, do we want to see whether a report has been made before we start investigations?”
Some ten days later, when he was back in Langkawi on September 6, Mahathir berkata Tan Sri Rahim tidak menafikan bulat-bulat semua dakwaan yang dibuat terhadapnya.
Mahathir berkata, Rahim membuat pengakuan itu kepadanya dalam sate pertemuan dengannya beberapa hari yang lalu.
“Dia kata ada yang betul (dakwaan terhadapnya) dan ada yang tidak betel… apa yang betul itu tidak perlulah saga huraikan disini.”
Is this why when the Attorney-General was asked by the press whether Tan Sri Rahim had denied having sex with the girl, Mohtar declined to reply.
One would have thought that if Rahim had denied the allegation, Mohtar would not have withheld such an answer.
On the contrary, if Tan Sri Rahim had made an admission, then his position would be the same as the eight men who had allegedly admitted to the police to having sexual relations with the girl and it should be sufficient basis for the prosecution of Tan Sri Rahim for the offence of statutory rape with an underaged girl!
Of course, Mahathir changed his tack a month later when he excoriated certain elements in UMNO and the mass media for not treating Tan Sri Rahim fairly and condemning him before being proven guilty.
Nonetheless, did the Polie interview the Prime Minister to ask him for his sources of information so that the Police could interview them – as in this case, it was not the girl initiated the allegation against Tan Sri Rahim but certain quarters who must have gone all the way up to the Prime Minister himself.
The Malacca Chief Minister, Datuk Mohd. Zin Abdul Ghani made a very serious allegation on Saturday when he alleged that certain people with ulterior motives had conspired to topple Rahim Tamby Cik as Malacca Chief Minister by concocting the allegation that Rahim Tamby Cik had committed the offence of statutory rape with an underaged schoolgirl because they are jealous of Rahim’s capabilities and achievements.
Was the Attorney-General influenced by these political considerations when he arrived at his decision on police investi¬gations on Tan Sri Rahim’s case?
Is there a vindictive high-level plot to punish the 15-year-old girl for the downfall of Tan Sri Rahim, where there is a reversal of roles with Sri Rahim being regarded as the ‘victim’ instead of the girl
Be that as it may, it is most unfair that the Attorney-General should try to undermine and destroy the credi¬bility of the girl by revealing her background when she was not the one who initiated the allegation against Tan Sri Rahim in the first instance, and was only a victim of a power play inside UMNO.
The girl had been unfairly treated right from the beginning, placed in police custody and losing her freedom of movement since August 30 while Tan Sri Rahim was allowed full freedom even to go overseas for holidays during the entire peri¬od.
To the the Attorney-General., Tan Sri Rahim and the girl seemed to have reversed roles, with Tan Sri Rahim being regarded as the ‘victim’ instead of the girl!
This is most preposterous and I call on Datuk Mohtar Abdullah to openly apologise to the 15-year-old girl and her family for the injustice he has done to them and to return the girl to her family.
It is most shocking to read in today’s Star that the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Abdul Hamid Othman stating that the 15-year-old girl would have to face charges under Islamic laws of having illicit sex and being preg¬nant out of wedlock.
Will Tan Sri Rahim be charged under the Islamic laws for having illicit sex either with the 15-year-old girl or with others, or is there one law for the Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Ciks and another law for the 15-year-old girls?
This confirms the public disquiet that there is now a vindictive high-level plot to punish the 15-year-old girl for the downfall of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik, where the victim is now being treated as if he is the accused, while Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Cik the accused is now treated as the victim!
Is this the justice of the Barisan Nasional Governmeat?
I fully support what the Minister for National Unity and Social Development, Datuk Napsiah Omar said yesterday that the girl should be spared further agony and public scrutiny!
Rahim should be restored as Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Youth Leader if lie was not guilty of the allegation and this was the only ground for his relinquishing all party and government posts
Rahim’s seven-paragraph ‘celebratory’ statement after the Attorney-General’s press conference last Friday is most interesting and even revealing, especially where he said:
“Based on the statement by the Attorney-Geneeral, it is clear -that there is no case against me as proven by the investigation on the allegations made by the girl. This means that I am not guilty of the allegation.”
If Tan Sri Rahim is not guilty of the allegation – and the new Malacca Chief Minister has endorsed this statement – then ‘he should be immediately restored as Malacca Chief Minister and UMNO Youth Leader if this is the only ground on which he had to give up these posts.
This is because despite the ten corruptions reports which the DAPSY National Chairman and DAP DIP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guars Eng, had lodged against Rahim in the past 18 months on his unusual and extraordinary wealth completely disproportionate to his known sources of income, the UMNO leadership had not regarded them as a ‘liability’.
In fact, he was a pillar of the ‘Pasukan Wawasan’ in the UMNO leadership elections last year and won the UMNO Youth Leader’s post.
Rahim case raises the question whether Attorney-General practises double-standards when it comes to prosecuting Barisan Nasional and Opposition leaders
The Rahim case raises the question whether the Attorney-General and the Government have double-standards when it comes to prosecuting Barisan Nasional political leaders and opposition personalities.
The Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan case is the best example. When Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan was regarded as a ‘thorn in the flesh’ of the Barisan Nasional for being a leading PBS decision-maker, he was charged with numerous counts of corruption. But once he defected from the PBS ‘sinking-boat’ and joined the Barisan Nasional, the corruption charges were withdrawn for inadequate evidence.
It would appear that the most important criteria whether one is guilty of corruption depends on whether one is in the Barisan Nasional or in the Opposition!
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister’s Department, Othman Abdul told the July Parliament that the seven corruption charges against Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, for which he had been released on bail for one million ringgit, were withdrawn by the Attorney-General because the Anti-Corruption Agency failed to get approval form the Hong Kong court to obtain evidence and documents.
Did this mean that Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan had’ been arrested and charged in court for corruption when there were inadequate evidence – that it was a clear case of political victimisation?
With such a history and background of double-standards, the Government and the Attorney-General’s Chambers have a great credibility problem with regard to their decisions as to whether Barisan Nasional leaders should be prosecuted for corruption or other criminal offences.
The people have a right to ask when it comes to the question whether Barisan Nasional leaders should be prosecuted for corruption, the Attorney-General’s Chambers imposed impossi¬ble standards while in the case as to whether to prosecute Oppo¬sition personalities for criminal offences, very low standards of proof are sufficient.
Challenge to Mohtar to declare whether he regards unusual and extraordinary wealth completely disproportionate to known sources of income as prima facie evidence of corruption
The Attorney-General’s explanation that no decision had yet been taken on the ten corruption reports lodged against Rahim Tamby Cik is also a matter of public concern.
Datuk Mohtar said that he had directed the ACA to continue further investigations and that the ACA had not resubmitted its investigation papers to his chambers.
The Attorney-General should declare his stand whether he regards a Minister, Chief Minister and Mentri Besar who had accummulated unusual and extraordinary wealth completely disproportionate to his known-sources of income as having committed a prima facie offence of corruption.
If Mohtar regards unusual and extraordinary wealth completely disproportionate to one’s known sources of income as prima facie evidence of corruption, why is the Attorney-General riot, taking firm action to wipe out corruption in high political places – by making an example of Rahim’s case as well as giving approval to the ACA’s earlier proposal for tougher and more powerful anti-corruption laws in the country?