Bersih: Prosecutors must explain why Najib allowed to bar media from covering court proceedings over pardon

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — The Deputy Public Prosecutor's Office should explain to the public its decision to approve former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to block the media from covering his court case yesterday, electoral watchdog Bersih said today.

In a statement, the civil society emphasised that proceedings of high-profile cases should be transparent to the public who has the right to know of their status.

“If it's not, it may give rise to perceptions of double standards that can erode public confidence in the government and our justice institutions.

“Bersih once again emphasises that the principles of equal justice and transparency must always be upheld as the main principles to preserve the justice system and the rule of law in our country,” it said.

The electoral watchdog further reiterated that it is necessary for the proceedings to be conducted openly and transparently for public knowledge.

Earlier today, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) also urged the High Court to reconsider the decision to block the media from covering former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s court case.

CIJ asserted that by preventing the media from reporting on issues pertaining to political expediency erodes public confidence in the judiciary.

Yesterday, the media were barred from proceedings of Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s legal bid to compel the federal government and the Pardons Board to produce a purported “supplementary order” from the previous Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

Earlier, Najib's lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah requested leave proceedings to be heard in chambers before High Court judge Datuk Amarjeet Singh Serjit Singh.

It was revealed later that this was due to a “critical witness” on the matter, which was named in court filings as Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.