Strange logic to quiz former S-G’s move — The Malaysian Insider
MAY 24 — Datuk Yusof Zainal Abiden has created quite a stir by taking up an offer to defend Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on an illegal assembly charge this week.
Several Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders have questioned the former Solicitor-General II’s move, saying it raised doubt over the opposition chief’s acquittal of sodomy four months ago. This is indeed strange logic, that he can’t defend the man he prosecuted in a completely different case.
For the record, Yusof was the first one in the prosecuting team who wanted to appeal against the High Court decision which acquitted Anwar of the charge of sodomising former aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
In his judgment to acquit Anwar, trial judge Justice Datuk Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah had said the court could not be 100 per cent certain after going through the evidence that the integrity of the DNA samples had not been compromised.
“The court finds that it is not safe to rely on the DNA evidence. So what is left is only SP1’s (Mohd Saiful) testimony,” he said in his oral judgment.
“As this is a sexual crime, the court is reluctant to convict based entirely on SP1’s testimony without corroboration. The accused is thus acquitted and discharged,” he ruled.
Now, what has that got to do with Yusof’s professionalism? If anything, he was more decisive than the Attorney-General who took his time before filing an appeal against the acquittal.
One must also bear in mind that former top cop Datuk Mat Zain Ibrahim has led a one-man campaign against the Attorney-General, detailing allegations that have not been openly denied by the country’s top lawyer.
Could that have any bearing on Yusof’s decision to defend Anwar on the street protest charge after retiring from government service? Perhaps he wouldn’t have if the prosecutors did not file charges against the opposition chief? Perhaps Yusof would have just stayed retired and not bother to be involved in the legal field any more if the case didn’t happen?
But the Bar Council has pointed out that under the Legal Profession (Practice and Etiquette) Rules 1978, Yusof must accept any case in which he professes to practice at the proper professional fee dependent on the length and difficulty of the case, but special circumstances, including conflict of interest, may justify a refusal.
Is there a conflict of interest? Is there anything that should stop him from defending Anwar in this case? It isn’t a sodomy case, is it?
Unless it makes BN looks bad. That a number of former top civil servants have decided to go to “the other side”, as it were?
Rather than castigating them, perhaps these BN leaders should ask what is wrong with the system that they profess to administer on their fellow citizen’s behalf.
That perhaps the persecution has gone far enough. That perhaps everyone is fed up with the use of state apparatus to trip BN’s political opponents. That perhaps they should just fight out in a general election and get it done and over with and the winner run the country as promised.
Some might still want to question Yusof for what he is doing. But a lot more are questioning the reasons to bring a case against opposition leaders in the latest Bersih rally.
If it is just a show of power, it is a poor show of power. And there are those like Yusof, who think perhaps, this time, a line must be clearly drawn between what is right and wrong.