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Judge: I was also scared

Nov 11, 1998

 COOL and steady, the senior police officer was revealing in court some of the ""tricks'' of the Malaysian Special Branch.

 There was DSP Abdul Aziz Hussin, calmly talking about "turning over'' people who were brought in for questioning at the police's intelligence arm.

 While telling the court about the ""intense mental pressure'' applied on those being interrogated, he quietly offered to show how fear was instilled.

 He turned to Justice Augustine Paul and asked: "You want me to demonstrate? I will demonstrate the frightening procedure.''

 Before the judge could reply, the burly-looking officer jumped to his feet and became really fierce in court.

 His eyes bulging, he banged his fist hard on the wooden top of the witness stand.

 Then, he swiftly turned and aimed a steely look at Anwar's lawyer, Raja Aziz Raja Addruse.

 Pointing at the lawyer, he bellowed a thunderous shout: "Look here.''

The stunned courtroom reacted with a jolt and loud gasps were heard.

In the dock, Anwar turned to the gallery and said: "They do it, you know?''

Raja Aziz was clearly startled and muttered: "Impressive.''

 Even the High Court judge was impressed enough to comment in Malay: "Saya pun takut.'' (It means "I was also scared.'')

 The court rocked with laughter.

The judge then advised him not to give any more impromptu demonstrations without warning. "Especially the frightening ones,'' he added as giggles were heard.

 But the Special Branch "tricks'' revealed by DSP Abdul Aziz was no laughing matter.

 The officer said it was his job to "turn over'' Ms Ummi Hafilda Ali, who had accused Anwar of sexual misconduct.

 In the end, he said, Ms Ummi "simply surrendered''.

 A Special Branch officer for 20 years, DSP Abdul Aziz was obviously relishing his time on the stand.

 His cool manner contrasted sharply with the ruffled behaviour of former Special Branch chief Datuk Mohamed Said Awang in the witness stand.

At one point during his testimony last week, Datuk Mohd Said was given a 10-minute break after he told the judge: "My Lord, I am sorry I am not very calm this morning''.

Yesterday, DSP Abdul Aziz told the court that Datuk Mohd Said had ordered him to get Ms Ummi to retract her allegations.


 Said DSP Abdul Aziz: "At about 11 pm on Aug 18 last year, I was told that Ummi and Azizan Abu Bakar both of whom were in custody had to be "neutralised'.

 "I knew that it meant I had to make them change their stand so that they would no more be seen as a threat.''

 DSP Abdul Aziz's "target'' was Ms Ummi. His counterpart, ACP Mazlan Din, would handle Mr Azizan.

 The DSP said he "got to work'' immediately, but found Ms Ummi to be a stubborn target.

She was adamant and wanted to stick to her original story.

 DSP Abdul Aziz said his team used "psychology'' to win her over.

 When this didn't work, they tried to scare her, even mentioning the Sedition Act.

 The interrogation was non-stop. The "target'' wasn't allowed to sleep. The questioning went on and on.

 In the case of Ms Ummi, it started at 11pm and ended only at 7.30 the next morning.

 It took eight hours to "turn over'' Ms Ummi a fact DSP Abdul Aziz seemed rather proud of.

 Ms Ummi eventually became defenceless. "She lost her will to resist,'' said DSP Abdul Aziz.

 Officers played different roles to turn over targets.

 In Ms Ummi's case, DSP Abdul Aziz played the role of the "threatening'' authoritative officer. Another officer would play the big bully. The third officer was the good guy.

 If the roles were played well, DSP Abdul Aziz said, the "target'' turned over. "It's that simple. It's that effective,'' he said, beaming from ear to ear.

 Later, Anwar's lawyer, Raja Aziz, asked him to explain what he meant by "... continuous interrogation with non-stop questioning to create an atmosphere as if physical torture would occur''.

 And that was what prompted the "scary'' demonstration that shocked the court.

 After that demo, Raja Aziz asked DSP Abdul Aziz if there were other "frightening'' examples.

 The judge said: "Not a frightening example like just now, I hope.''

 The lawyer replied: "No, no... Nothing like that, my lord. I was a bit frightened there myself.''

 More of Anwar trial next page:
She was so upset that she cried
Exchange of the day