We, the undersigned NGOs, civil society organisations (CSOs) and community leaders in Sabah have for a long time, and until today, been working alongside government efforts to develop the state for the benefit of all Sabahans.
We are deeply concerned with recent developments in the political arena which appear to roll back, erode and work against the democratic principles and institutions and rule of law of our country.
Of direct and major concern to many Sabahans is the acquittal of the former Chief Minister of Sabah, Musa Aman, by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on 9 June 2020 of all 46 corruption charges.
Like ordinary Sabahans, we cannot help but be confused and appalled at the way the case has unfolded since the start of the case in 2012, and we note with great concern the unsatisfactory explanations given by those mandated to uphold the rule of law in the country including the attorney general.
The case could have been allowed to go on trial instead of the prosecution applying to withdraw the charges. This is especially true when the prosecution had already extensively prepared for the trial and was ready to call 40 to 50 witnesses to testify.
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The explanation given by the attorney general that the prosecution lacks the documentary evidence to carry on with the case is indeed perplexing.
The net effect of this disturbing trend of events on ordinary citizens is clear – distrust and cynicism towards our political leaders and institutions, including the judiciary.
To the rakyat our legal system is being seen to practise double standards, one for ordinary citizens and the other for VIPs.
This is the same system that sentenced a man who stole petai to 15 months of jail and a single mum who broke the Covid-19 movement control order rules to buy essential goods to a fine of RM1,000 and 30 days’ jail.
VIPs and VVIPs with multiple charges of corruption, money laundering and other offences are seen to go scot-free or receive lighter sentences.
The rakyat comes away with the impression that the rule of law only applies to them and not to those in power.
The government cannot expect the ordinary rakyat to give our best to nation-building, foregoing individual gains and benefits for the sake of the greater good of the community and our country when the government is seen to be doing the opposite.
We need the government to lead by walking the talk, with accountability and transparency, and to uphold the rule of law.
Therefore, we call upon the Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, to:
- Ensure no misuse of public resources including taxpayers’ money
- Uphold accountability and transparency in the management of the country, including the trials of high public-interest cases such as corruption and money laundering involving politicians and public servants
- Set up a thorough and independent inquiry to investigate if the political proximity of Musa Aman to Umno played a role in influencing the acquittal judgment
- Table the Political Financing Bill at the next parliamentary session in July. We understand that a bill on political financing was already in the process of being drafted. It is of utmost importance now for the government to table the bill as political corruption is a major issue in Malaysia
We call upon the attorney general to appeal against the court’s decision to discharge and acquit (DAA) Musa on all 46 charges as this would mean all these charges against Musa can never again be revisited when new evidence surfaces. The attorney general should appeal for the discharge not to amount to Musa’s acquittal, as a full acquittal of Musa at this juncture (where merits have not been heard by the court) would close the door to justice forever!
We call upon the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to live up to its role in enforcing the law and carrying out its duty fiercely. The MACC must be independent and perform its duties to this country without fear or favour.
Justice must truly prevail and all kleptocrats must be on trial through an open, independent and fair process.
Endorsed by the following NGO, CSO and community leaders of Sabah:
- Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (Sawo)
- Pangrok Sulap
- Society for Equality, Respect and Trust for all Sabah (Serata)
- Partners of Community Organisations (Pacos Trust)
- Borneo Komrad
- Advocates to Non-discrimination and Access to Knowledge (Anak)
- Sabah Bersih
- Sabah Environmental Protection Association (Sepa)
- Persatuan Suara Saksama Sabah
- Kelab Kesenian Asylum Kota Kinabalu
- Kumpulan sokongan tempatan terhadap Keganasan Rumahtangga di Pitas
- Kumpulan sokongan tempatan terhadap Keganasan Rumahtangga di Kota Marudu
- Kumpulan sokongan tempatan terhadap Keganasan Rumahtangga di Telupid
- Kumpulan sokongan tempatan terhadap Keganasan Rumahtangga di Keningau
- Kumpulan sokongan tempatan terhadap Keganasan Rumahtangga di Kota Kinabalu
- Kumpulan sokongan tempatan terhadap Keganasan Rumahtangga di Pensiangan
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Mentadak Baru Pulau Sebatik Tawau
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Bobotong Entilibon, Togod
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Kalampun, Keningau
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Tinangol Matunggong, Kudat
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Datong, Pitas
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Tambatuon, Kota Belud
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Maliau, Tongod
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Liu, Pitas
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Samparita Laut, Pitas
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Angkawangan, Keningau
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Kipouvo, Penampang
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Terian, Penampang
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Ampungoi Kanibungan, Pitas
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Balantos, Nabawan
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Bulud Batu, Pitas
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Balaron Sapulut, Nabawan
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Kg Tungku, Lahad Datu
- Pertubuhan Rakyat Bundu Apin-Apin, Keningau
- Taskforce Against Kaiduan/Papar Dam (TAKaD Ulu Papar)
- Jawatankuasa Gabungan Pengurusan Tanah G7, Tongod
- Gabungan 6Kg (G6 Pitas)
- Gabungan 3Kg (G3 Simpudu)
- Gabungan 3Kg Mawasi