THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
By M. MAGESWARI, The Star
Defence counsel Gobind Singh Deo said he needed to ask Supt Gan about Altantuya’s murder as it was related to the substance of the sedition charge against his client. Asked how Altantuya was murdered, Supt Gan said, “If I am not wrong, one kind of plasticine explosive was used to blow up her body at an empty place at Puncak Alam.”
“It was not C4 (a type of explosive),” Supt Gan, who is Interpol’s National Centre Bureau assistant director based at Bukit Aman, told the packed courtroom.
Questioned further by Gobind Singh, Supt Gan said he did not know how the explosive was placed on the woman’s body before it was detonated. “I was together with (another investigating officer) Asst Supt Tonny (Lunggan)," he said, prompting Gobind Singh to retort that “you are a useless investigating officer”.
It caused lead prosecutor DPP Ishak Mohd Yusof to interject that the lawyer should not humiliate their witness. Upon hearing this, Sessions Court judge Rozina Ayob said that her court should not be used to attack or criticise anyone.
Gobind Singh then asked Supt Gan if Altantuya was still alive when the explosive substance was placed on her body, to which the fifth witness said he did not know.
At this juncture, DPP Ishak said he wanted confirmation from the court over the line of questioning by the lawyer saying that several witnesses, including bomb expert, had called to testify in the murder trial. He said the prosecution was concerned as the Shah Alam High Court was set to deliver its decision on Altantuya murder trial on Oct 31.
“It is our concern that such questions, if allowed, would be subjudice for the murder trial,” said the prosecutor on the fourth day trial yesterday. DPP Ishak said the defence should concentrate on finding out if the article posted online was seditious or not and not if Altantuya was blasted or strangled.
Gobind Singh said he needed to query Supt Gan for his client’s defence as this witness had lodged a police report over the alleged seditious article. “How to do that if we cannot ask question. Then withdraw the charge against Raja Petra and let the Shah Alam High Court decide the murder trial, maybe it will be favourable to us,” he contended. Gobind Singh said he needed to establish the basic point that the murder has angered Malaysians who have expressed their opinions and views on the case.
Lawyer J. Chandra said further that it was crucial for the court to note that the first information report was made by Supt Gan after he (witness) read the alleged article online, analysed its content and found that part of the article had been "concocted". “This (police) report was made on April 30 when the Altantuya trial was still going on in Shah Alam,” he said.
Chandra contended that Section 3(2) (b) of the Sedition Act gave the defence the right to say that “the publication shall not be deemed to be seditious by reason only that it has a tendency to point out errors in the administration of justice,” he said.
The judge then said she would make a ruling on the line of questioning related to Altantuya trial on Monday.
Earlier, the defence team also questioned the prosecution about an appendix to the sedition charge saying that it was not similar to the actual seditious article posted online. Gobind Singh said the article did not have the alleged heading of "Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to Hell".
Chandra said the attached content of the article in the charge sheet was actually a product of re-typing and the photograph of Raja Petra was “cut and paste” in the appendix.
DPP Ishak said he needed time to “observe and consider the charge”.
The judge set Monday for continuation of the hearing.
At the outset of hearing yesterday, Supt Gan told DPP Ishak that he had read the seditious article twice on April 30. He said he lodged a police report over the article upon finding that several issues raised in the article were untrue and concocted. He said he lodged another police report after detecting a mistake about the date the article was posted online.
Supt Gan said he was later called by investigating officer DSP Mahfuz Abdul Majid to record his statement to assist in the investigation over his police reports. He said DSP Mahfuz also printed a copy of the seditious article where he (Supt Gan) later highlighted four aspects which he felt were untrue.
He confirmed that the article was posted by Raja Petra on April 25 based on the date that appeared in the posting. Questioned by Gobind Singh, he agreed that he did not look at the truth of the whole article as a complainant of the case. (9 October 2008)
By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider
The sedition trial of prominent anti-establishment blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin continued today at the Sessions Court here amid much drama — with the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s name often cropping up.
In his cross-examination of a key prosecution witness, defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, tried to establish that the sedition charge against the Malaysia Today editor was “politically motivated”, as he told reporters outside the courtroom later.
The cross-examination of Superintendant Gan Tack Guan lasted over three hours.
During that time, Gobind shot question after question over Gan’s failure, as the police officer who lodged the report against Raja Petra, to record the DPM’s statements despite being named in Raja Petra’s allegedly seditious article published in his website on April 25 last year.
Raja Petra — popularly known by his initials RPK — was charged with sedition last May for allegedly implying Najib was involved in the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman in an online article titled “Let’s Send the Altantuya Murderers To Hell”. If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison or a fine not more than RM5,000 or both.
“Did you, at any point of time during the investigation of the Altantuya case, question Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak?” Gobind questioned while referencing Raja Petra’s article.
“No,” Gan replied.
“If you did not investigate Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, how do you know the content of the paragraph is untrue?” Gobind pressed.
“I got to know the facts from the investigating officer ASP Tonny Lunggan,” Gan answered, looking uncomfortable.
Assistant Superintendent Tonny Lunggan was the investigating police officer who headed the probe into the gruesome death of Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaaribuu, whose blown-up remains were discovered in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam near here close to three years ago.
Raja Petra, who is out on bail, attended today’s trial with his wife Marina Lee Abdullah and several supporters dressed in black “I Am With RPK” t-shirts.
He appeared amused at the interrogation tactics employed by Gobind and the resulting agitation showed by Gan, frequently turning around to smile at the public from his seat in the dock.
The trial will resume with Gan’s cross-examination on Thursday. (10 February 2009)
The lawyer for Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin continued grilling a senior police officer in an attempt to link political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda to the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Replying to Gobind Singh Deo, the police officer, Supt Gan Tack Guan, 50, however, maintained that throughout their investigation, police had only suspected Razak of abetting two policemen in killing Altantuya.
As Gobind Singh repeatedly queried Supt Gan in Raja Petra’s sedition trial in the Sessions Court here yesterday over Razak’s role and the meaning of abetment, the witness gave the same reply or said he did not know how to answer the question. This resulted in Gobind Singh asking him if he had read the definition of abetment under Section 107 of the Penal Code.
Supt Gan immediately asked the lawyer to refer to the law book, and then read out the definition that abetment means “engaging or instigating another person to do a thing”.
Supt Gan, who is Interpol’s National Centre Bureau assistant director based at Bukit Aman, then said: “If instigate means abetment under the law, I agree (to a question that Razak had instigated both policemen to kill Altantuya).”
When questioned by Gobind Singh on how Razak instigated the policemen, Supt Gan, who was chief investigator in the Altantuya murder case, said he did not know.
Questioned by Judge Rozina Ayob, Supt Gan said he could not understand and did not know how to reply to Gobind Singh’s question.
Asked further by Gobind Singh, Supt Gan, who is a complainant in the Raja Petra sedition trial, said he had not investigated abetment cases before.
“This (the abetment case against Razak) was the first,” he said. (Razak was acquitted of abetment in Altantuya’s murder on Oct 31. Two Special Action Force (UTK) operatives, C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar, who were charged with murder, have been ordered to enter their defence.)
Raja Petra, 59, had on May 6 last year claimed trial to publishing the article Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell on the www.malaysia-today.net website. The article is alleged to have contained nine paragraphs of seditious words.
Supt Gan denied that his investigations found that Razak had paid the two policemen to assassinate Altantuya. He disagreed that he deliberately concealed material evidence in the trial.
The hearing will continue on April 23. (13 February 2009)