Lawyer accuses MACC of denying client access in Daim’s case

Ravin Palanisamy

The four individuals who have been called for their statements to be recorded are administrative staff from Menara Ilham. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 4, 2024.

A LAWYER representing four individuals in investigations against former finance minister Daim Zainuddin has accused the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) of denying them access to their clients. Rajesh Nagarajan alleges that the MACC is behaving oppressively, unlawfully, and in a high-handed manner.

“One of our lawyers, representing the individual, was with the clients in the interview room when MACC officers rushed in and forced the lawyer to leave the room,” Rajesh told The Malaysian Insight.
“The MACC prevented us from representing and advising our clients.

“The right to legal representation is sacrosanct and it is completely unacceptable for a person to be denied the right to consult his lawyer.

“The right to legal representation when questioned by enforcement bodies is fundamental to our criminal justice system. The MACC is acting in an abhorrent manner.”

Rajesh said that despite the lessons learned from the Teoh Beng Hock death in custody case, the MACC continues to deny access to lawyers for individuals being questioned.

“It is clear that the MACC has learned nothing from their previous disastrous mistakes.

“When asked who had ordered us to be removed from the interview room, the MACC officers claimed that it was upon orders from ‘someone high up’,” he said.

Rajesh explained that the four individuals are administrative staff from Menara Ilham. The MACC had seized Menara Ilham, a 60-storey building owned by the Daim family, on December 22 as part of its investigation against the former finance minister.

“The four individuals had been called for their statements to be recorded under section 30 of the MACC Act 2009.

“All four were very cooperative and had promptly appeared at MACC headquarters for their statements to be recorded despite being given less than 24 hour’s notice to do so,” he said, adding that the commission had failed to inform the lawyers or individuals on what charges they are being investigated for.

“To me, it looks like a witch hunt,” he added.

Rajesh said MACC chief Azam Baki must bear full responsibility for denying lawyers access to their clients.

“He should explain that this involves public interest and the integrity of the criminal justice system.

“We further ask that the government give an assurance that enforcement bodies will respect the public’s right to legal representation, advice and assistance,” he said. – January 4, 2024.

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