ONE of the major beneficiaries of Tommy Thomas’ exposé could be Azilah Hadri, who faces the death sentence for the murder of the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaaribuu. Both Azilah and co-accused Sirul Azhar, who escaped to Australia, could have their sentences reviewed or annulled based on the new evidence and allegations revealed in the book. Both the Special Action Unit members took orders from their superiors and should be exonerated of blame. No members of the police or armed forces are charged for obeying the orders of their superiors. I hope NGOs like Patriot will rally for the duo to be freed. Even though it was a heinous crime against the pregnant Mongolian woman, it is their superiors and not them who should be fully blamed for the crime. A lot of crucial evidence, it appears, had been suppressed. The new turn of events is good reason for the on-going calls for the abolition of the capital punishment in the country as it shows a high probability of a miscarriage of justice in our legal and judicial system due to various reasons.One has strong feelings and sympathy for the late Muhammad Adib Mohd Kassim’s family, who are of the view that Adib was assaulted in the melee that occurred at night in the Seafield Temple.However, as Thomas stated in his book, despite serious and in-depth investigations by the police nothing tangible was unearthed to warrant charges against anyone for the death of Adib. If anyone should be charged, it should be the developer who hired a bunch of Malay troublemakers to demolish the Hindu temple knowing full well the sensitivity and gravity of the religious issue. The coroner’s decision can be strongly disputed. The ex-attorney general has called the decision bizarre. As the English jurist William Blackstone said: “It is better that 10 guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. This principle should be applied to the Adib case when there is so much uncertainty surrounding the episode. If the demise of Teoh Beng Hock cannot be resolved until now, even though he died while in the custody od the MACC in its office in Shah Alam, what more Adib’s death, which occurred during a commotion at night with no witnesses to offer an account of what took place? Meanwhile, the arrests over supposed support for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam were on flimsy grounds as Tommy Thomas has stated. At the height of the Sri Lankan Civil War most Malaysian Tamils, including Sri Lankan Tamils, were supporting the LTTE, which was fighting against the oppression of the Tamil minority by the Sinhalese community. It is very much like Malaysia supporting the Palestinian and Rohingya cause. The US labelled the LTTE a terrorist organisation after 9/11, and anyway who are the Americans to call the LTTE terrorists when they have supported militants and terrorists as and when it suited their interests. Keeping LTTE memorabilia, especially after the civil war ended in 2009, cannot be an offence and charges would be untenable in a court of law. Freeing the 12 accused was also politically correct as Indian votes will be a deciding factor in the next general election.Thomas’ revelations about the bloated Attorney-General’s Chambers are spot-on, having derived his conclusions first hand and within a short duration. It is well known that the AGC has more quantity than quality as the number of DPPs has vastly increased over the last few decades without a corresponding increase in expertise, efficiency, and capability. In the last 20-30 years one can observe how civil and criminal cases in which the government had a 99% chance of winning were inexplicably lost because the defence had the 1% needed to defeat the prosecution. What is the point of having so many attorneys when defence lawyers can easily find loopholes and other weaknesses through better gathering of evidence, case preparation and articulation? The AGC needs to be trimmed down and streamlined to retain only dedicated, competent and expert lawyers, who could be an asset to the government.Legislative reforms were a keen issue with Thomas and the Pakatan Harapan government. However, the PH component parties’ infighting and dithering as well as strong challenges by the opposition put paid to hopes of major reforms being implemented. Many of the draconian laws are still there to hound and haunt us. First to be reformed should have been the Official Secrets Act for the country to have a clean public administration. Presently, all abuses of power, corruption, lack of transparency and accountability can be traced to the over-protective and secretive OSA. For better administration the OSA should not be applied to 99% of government matters but for only 1% of government processes mainly involving highly confidential and national security matters. Unfortunately, it is the other way round now and this has really harmed the country irretrievably. Politicians, civil servants, government departments, local authorities and ministries have all benefited from the OSA which prevents transparency and accountability.It is hoped that Thomas’ book, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness is not a voice in the wilderness and that the people and government will look into the truth of the revelations and learn from the mistakes and shortcomings for the future wellbeing of our country. Malaysians really need a book like this to arouse them from their deep slumber. Banning the book or lodging a police reports is not the best way as Thomas must have solid evidence to back up his allegations, and it could be more damaging to the aggrieved parties the cases are brought to court. – February 9, 2021.* V. Thomas reads The Malaysian Insight. * This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight.
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