Isa Samad should not have been forced to wear orange-coloured MACC lock-up uniform when taken to court for remand, but he should also not continue to hold the post of SPAD Acting Chairman
It wrong, improper, unconstitutional and most humiliating and demeaning to force Tan Sri Isa Samad to wear the orange-coloured MACC lock-up uniform when he was brought to court for remand proceedings as it breached a detainee’s fundamental liberty under the Federal Constitution.
I call on the MACC to immediately cease all such unconstitutional and demeaning practices especially as a member of the MACC advisory board, Datuk Mohd Noor Abdullah, a former Court of Appeal judge, yesterday stressed that a detainee’s fundamental liberty included being presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Mohd Noor Abdullah should find out from the MACC Chief Commissioner, Datuk Dzulkfli Ahmad whether the MACC proposes to immediately cease such demeaning practices, abuses of power and violation of the constitution, failing which he should requisition for an emergency meeting of the MACC advisory board to put a halt to such improper, unconstitutional and demeaning practices.
A week has passed since this deplorable practice was first condemned by the PKR MP for Padang Serai, N. Surendran, pointing out that MACC was acting unlawfully by forcing individuals arrested to facilitate graft investigations to wear the MACC orange lock-up uniforms, including DAP Penang Exco member Phee Boon Poh and Isa Samad.
As MACC is going around arresting public officers for “abuses of power”, I had asked whether the MACC Chief Commissioner, Datuk Dzulkifli Ahmad and top MACC officers would be arrested and investigated for abuse of power in unlawfully requiring individuals arrested to facilitate graft investigations to wear orange lock-up uniforms in court in remand proceedings?
It is most regrettable that MACC has taken a stubborn and obdurate position, insisting that it has the right to abuse its powers by ignoring fundamental liberties guaranteed in the constitution and challenging those who did not agree to get a clear-cut judicial pronouncement from the courts.
It is such hubris which are behind the rampant abuses of power in the country.
Can the MACC Advisory Board halt such MACC hubris and abuses of power?
Isa Samad should not have been forced to wear orange-coloured MACC lock-up uniform when taken to court for remand, but he should also not continue to hold the post of SPAD Acting Chairman.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri sent shock waves throughout the country when she said that it is “business as usual in SPAD”, as Isa stays as SPAD Acting Chairman as he has yet to be charged with any crime – rubbishing her earlier statement that an interim chairman for SPAD will be appointed following Isa’s arrest.
Is Nancy aware that her announcement is the biggest blow to MACC’s campaign to promote zero tolerance for corruption in all sectors of the public service?
Isa was Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) chairperson until his resignation on June 19, amid a corruption scandal plaguing the government-linked corporation.
On Aug 15, Isa was arrested by MACC under Section 16 of the MACC Act 2009, which deals with the receiving of gratification in relation to Felda Investment Corporation’s (FIC) purchase of hotels in Kuching and in London.
Following his arrest, MACC had reportedly raided his houses and offices, and seized RM100,000 in cash from his safe at home.
Isa was released on Sunday on RM150,000 bail after a five-day remand.
Many Malaysians are swirling with questions about the propriety of Isa continuing as SPAD acting chairman, and these questions are not just confined to the FELDA and FGV scandals, as for instance, whether the Prime Minister, who is directly responsible for the FELDA portfolio in the Cabinet, had no prior knowledge about the corruption and abuse of power in the purchase of the two hotels, one in London and the other in Kuching, by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC) – if not, what he had done to stop the two corruption deals; and if so, whether this constituted a gross dereliction of duty.
FIC, the investment arm of Felda focusing mainly on real estate, hospitality and the oil and gas sectors, is said to have bought the four-star Park City Hotel in upmarket Kensington, London, between 2013 and 2015, for an inflated price of RM330mil. It was renamed Grand Plaza Hotel.
It was learnt later that the price of the hotel was overpaid by at least RM110mil.
The other subject of MACC investigation was FIC’s purchase of a hotel in Kuching, Merdeka Palace Hotel & Suites, in 2014 for RM160mil, said to be RM50mil more than its actual value. The hotel has 213 guest rooms and apartment suites.
Was the Prime Minister completely in the dark and unable to check the corruption and abuses of power in purchase of these two hotels?
But these are not the only questions about integrity as far as Isa is concerned, for Isa was suspended for six years from UMNO in June 2005 after the UMNO disciplinary board found him guilty of seven corruption charges of money politics, viz:
- Allowed his political secretary Mohd Salim Sharif to pay RM300 to each delegate from the Telok Kemang division to the Umno General Assembly on or about September 2004;
- Allowed his agents to pay various amounts of money to delegates from the Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lipis and Bentong divisons to the Umno General Assembly on September 11.
- Allowed his agents to pay RM1,000 each to delegates to the Umno General Assembly at the Crown Princess Hotel at 11 pm on September 22 and the morning of September 23.
- Permitted his agents to pay RM1,000 each to delegates to the Umno General Assembly at or about 1am on Sep 23 at the Pan Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
- Allowed his agents to pay various sums of money to Sabah delegates to the Umno General Assembly about 1 am on Sep 23 at the Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
- Allowed his agents to pay RM300 to Sabah Umno delegates at the Tanjung Aru Golf Club and the ‘Kandarah” Court, both of which are in Sabah in early September.
- Allowed his agents to pay RM300 to Kedah Umno delegates at Holiday Villa Hotel, Alor Star and Kelab Cinta Sayang, Sungai Petani around two to three weeks before the 2004 Umno General Assembly.
The previous head of MACC had publicly declared that money politics is corruption and within the purview of the MACC.
As there is no statute of limitation for corruption offences, is MACC going to initiative investigations against Isa for these corruption charges in UMNO?
At that time, the former UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister, Tun Ghafar Baba lamented in an interview that money politics involved in UMNO elections for a Supreme Council position was not merely RM1,000 or RM2,000, nor RM1 million or RM2 million, but from RM10 million to RM50 million! (Sin Chew 19.6.05) Ghafar did not mention the astronomical sums expended for higher UMNO posts.
Isa had told the press in June that he had accepted the appointment to be SPAD Acting Chairman merely because Prime Minister wanted him there.
He said: “I don't know. I'm only going to SPAD because PM asked me to go.”
Najib should confirm whether it is true that despite Isa’s past background of corruption and money politics in UMNO and his recent arrest and remand by MACC for the two corruption cases involving the purchase of the hotels in London and Kuching, it is still his decision and wish that Isa should remain as SPAD Acting Chairman, and if so, why?