KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 20 – The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections (Bersih) today demanded the government no longer seek conditional acquittals for politicians charged with crimes, fearing that one of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s trials could end this way.
The electoral reform group’s steering committee said discharges not amounting to acquittal (DNAA) have become a familiar term for Malaysians following the number of politicians who have been granted these.
“Bersih fears that this development will erode the people’s trust in law enforcement institutions, especially the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“To make matters worse, the attorney general’s statement on Monday that the public prosecutor does not need to provide an explanation when applying to withdraw charges is completely unacceptable.
“Especially when the case involves public interest and implicating politicians at the highest level of our country’s administration,” read the statement today.
Bersih’s demand was in reference to Najib’s money laundering case involving funds from SRC International Sdn Bhd amounting to RM27 million, where he was told yesterday that he could apply for full acquittal or DNAA in September if prosecutors are unable to decide by then on his representation to drop the charges against him.
Earlier, Bersih together with their non-governmental organisation (NGO) partners and youth, held a flash mob event near the Masjid Jamek LRT station here to insist the attorney general immediately stop applying the DNAA to corruption cases involving politicians.
The coalition urged those who are facing corruption charges to defend and vindicate themselves in court, rather than using DNAA as escape routes.
“This is an urgent demand while awaiting the outcome of the federal government taskforce regarding the proposal to separate the attorney general’s office and that of the public prosecutor.
“In line with that, Bersih also urge Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to announce a timeline for the particular separation, as well as other reform agendas such as the reform of the the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Political Financing Act,” the group said.
In September 16 last year, Bersih called for a suspension in applying for a DNAA in high-profile criminal trials, such as those involving politicians.
As part of a Malaysia Day message, Bersih said this historic day would be “meaningless without the rule of law and a clean government”.