Monday, July 7, 2014

Gov’t concern over NZ trial's fairness

10:23AM Jul 7, 2014By Mariam Mokhtar

Doctors claimed that the alleged rapist, Muhammad Rizalman Ismail, the junior diplomat who was accused of burglary and sexual assault in New Zealand, could not travel, because he was depressed and “not looking good”. What about the trauma of his victim?

Why should Rizalman be afraid? Isn’t he innocent until proven guilty? He should rest assured that in New Zealand, he will have a fair trial. Perhaps, that is what he and the Malaysian authorities are afraid of - a fair trial.

For decades, the Malaysian government has made use of a corrupt judiciary. It is open knowledge that justice is the prerogative of the highest bidder and trials are rigged. Even the election results are worked out, months before the ballots are cast.

A proper and fair trial is an anathema to the Malaysian government. Being scrutinised in a proper court of law and being held accountable in a proper system of justice is for them, like charting virgin territory. Such irony!

Malaysians are angry that the authorities tend to the needs of the alleged rapist, and insist that a detailed “psychiatric evaluation” is conducted on Rizalman. The Malaysian authorities have conveniently forgotten about the suffering of the victim, a 21-year-old New Zealand woman, who was allegedly burgled and subjected to a sexual attack on May 9, 2014.

Hishammuddin Hussein, who is the Defence Minister, denied the allegations made by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, in the New Zealand media. Anwar had alleged that the government had sealed documents relating to the matter.

Hishammuddin said, “For him, everything is a cover up.”

The problem with Hishammuddin is that he is part of the corrupt system and is blind to any wrongdoing perpetrated by government representatives or government cronies. He and his peers have much to lose. He is only protecting his and his party’s interests.

What extra proof do Hishammuddin and the diehard Umno Baru and BN supporters need to prove that an injustice has occurred and cover-ups are common in Malaysia? The unexplained deaths of Teoh Beng Hock, A Kugan, Aminulrasyid Amzah and Ahmad Sarbaini Mohamad are proof of cover-ups.

There have been many people who were denied justice, such as the families of people whose bodies were snatched by Muslim organisations, the farmers who did not receive any of the RM250 million aid in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal and the Ibans who were turfed out of their homes and lost their livelihoods, so that a megalomaniac could build a mega dam in their ancestral heartlands.

The poor handling of the disappearance of MH370 is not one of the Malaysian government’s greatest successes.

What is wrong is wrong

Hishammuddin spoke of the dangers of “trial by media”, when discussing the case of Rizalman and said, “Justice is not only for the accuser, but also for the accused. What is wrong is wrong. That is why justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done. That is why we made the decision to send him back to New Zealand.”

It now appears that Rizalman’s extradition to New Zealand has been delayed because he is not fit to travel. It is clear that the government is running scared. Is the delay to buy time and falsify evidence, intimidate witnesses and attempt to bury sordid details which Malaysia does not want the world to know about?

Perhaps the alleged perpetrator, Rizalman, has a previous conviction for a similar offence which could be revealed in a trial?

What is top on the list of priorities of the Malaysian government? That justice is served? That the alleged victim is not forgotten? That Malaysia protects its image?

Do you remember the gang-rape of an Indonesian woman, in November 2012, by three Malaysian policemen, in a police station in Prai? Do you recall when a maid was allegedly raped by a minister and paid off to buy her silence? A few months later, the police appeared to be harassing NGO Tenaganita for reproducing a media statement on the allegation.

Remember too, the Malaysian tenpin bowler, Noor Afizal Azizan, who was not given a jail term despite raping a 13-year-old girl in a hotel room in Ayer Keroh, Malacca in June, 2012.

These are the ones we know about. What about the ones which the government managed to keep secret?

If Islam in Malaysia is under threat, if people have only contempt for Malays, and if Muslims are reviled, blame the government of Malaysia. Blame Umno Baru, and the hypocritical Muslims who keep quiet, when crimes and injustice are perpetrated by Malays and Muslims.

If a non-Malay had said this, the Muslims would say, “How dare you criticise Muslims and Islam.” Then, threats of violence would be made, as a ploy to silence them.

A Malay who criticises will be accused of being a traitor to his race and religion, and of being manipulated by non-Malays. He will also be told that he knows nothing about Islam because he did not study Islam at university.

It does not take a genius to realise that Malays and Muslims, cherry-pick certain issues from their religion and race, like the ‘Allah’ word ban, and Ketuanan Melayu.

Muslim NGOs, ulamas and ministers are silent about rapes, corruption, theft, incest, and other crimes which are committed by Malays. They are bad, but worse are the Muslims who condone such injustices and crimes, by their silence.

If a Malay commits a rape, there are others who cover-up for him and delay justice for the victim. These people are accessories-after-the-fact. So, if you are a Muslim, are you happy with the image projected by these Malays and Muslims?

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). 

~ Malaysiakini

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