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Exchange of words between judge and defence counsel     next article click here

Thursday, November 5, 1998

Report by Ruslaini Abbas and Carolyn Hong

KUALA LUMPUR, Wed. - The third day of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's trial saw an exchange of words between one of his counsel and judge Datuk Augustine S. Paul, who berated the former for jumping the gun while the lawyer said the court had no right to be rude.

It began when defence counsel Gurbachan Singh objected to a prosecution question that required a witness to say why Anwar had given them certain directives.

It led Paul to say there was a limit to his patience and that he was taking a serious view of the behaviour of counsel.

The hearing was also told of Anwar giving a directive to the Special Branch director to get two persons - Ummi Hafilda Ali and Azizan Abu Bakar - to retract their allegations of sexual misconduct against him (Anwar).

Ummi Hafilda is the sister of Anwar's former private secretary, Mohamad Azmin Ali, and Azizan is his former driver.

The hearing started at 9.20am today. Anwar, who wore a light blue long sleeve shirt and navy blue pants was escorted into the courtroom at 9.10am.

As usual, he kissed his wife and daughter and greeted family members and the Press in the gallery before sitting in the dock.

As the case began, Senior Deputy Public Prosecutor Datuk Abdul Gani Patail said he would like the documents he had tendered yesterday to be identified as ID14A, ID14B, ID14C.

Special Branch director Datuk Mohd Said Awang then took the stand in the witness box and continued his evidence saying at about 8pm on Aug 12, 1997, his deputy Datuk Amir Junus telephoned him to say Anwar wanted to see them at his house at 10pm.

He and Amir went separately to Anwar's house, Mohd Said said, adding that they were ushered into a library where Anwar talked about Ummi Hafilda and her family problems.

Abdul Gani: Did the accused say anything else?

Mohd Said: After some time he asked about the letter and whether we could trace Ummi Hafilda and Azizan.

Abdul Gani: What was the purpose of looking for them?

Mohd Said: The accused wanted to know more about the letter and why it was written.

Mohd Said said he told Anwar that he would look into the matter and left.

The following day he discussed the latest information on the letter with Amir and ACP Mazlan Din and worked out a plan to trace Ummi Hafilda and Azizan. He also told Mazlan to monitor them through their sources, Mohd Said said.

On the afternoon of Aug 13, 1997, he said he went to see the Inspector-General of Police for a briefing and when he returned to his office Amir told him that Anwar would like to see them at his house at 10pm.

Abdul Gani: Did you go?

Mohd Said: Yes... we had a discussion on the latest development on the letter.

Abdul Gani: What did you tell him?

Mohd Said: I told him that we received some information that Datuk Megat Junid eventually got the letter from his wife and passed it to the IGP.

The witness said Megat Junid was then the Deputy Home Minister.

Mohd Said said he told Anwar he had the letter, but the police still could not trace Ummi Hafilda or Azizan.

Anwar then repeated his request for him to find the two immediately.

Mohd Said: He used the words "to gempar them".

At this juncture the court was abuzz with those asking each other the meaning of the word.

Judge: What is gempar.

Mohd Said said his understanding of the word meant to surprise them and "put a little fear" in them.

Judge: For what purpose?

Mohd Said: Because of the letter.

On Aug 14, 1997, he met Mazlan in his office and the latter told him that they still could not trace Ummi Hafilda and Azizan, Mohd Said said, adding that he told Mazlan to find them "quickly".

Mohd Said said during the briefing, Mazlan also told him about the discovery of an anonymous letter entitled "Talqin Terbuka Untuk Anwar Ibrahim" the contents of which were similar to the letter "Perihal Salah Laku Timbalan Perdana Menteri".

Mohd Said said following a request from Anwar, he and Amir met the former Deputy Prime Minister at his house later that day and they talked about the latest letter.

Mohd Said: We told him that we believed the letter was in circulation and I showed him a copy of it.

The witness said the letter was purportedly written by Abim (Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia) and five other organisations, adding that Anwar told them to investigate the letter.

Mohd Said said Anwar did not believe that the letter was written by the organisations since the contents were similar to the earlier letter and they (Mohd Said, Anwar and Amir) thought that it could have been written by Ummi Hafilda and Azizan.

He suggested Anwar lodge a report to enable the police to investigate the letter.

When Abdul Gani asked him what was Anwar's response to his suggestion, Mohd Said said Anwar did not want to lodge a report.

Mohd Said: Both of us then managed to convince him that it would be better for him to lodge a report.

Abdul Gani: Did he say why he did not want to make a report?

Mohd Said: He did not want the CID (Criminal Investigation Department) to get involved ... I cannot remember his reasons, but I told him that SAC (II) Musa Hassan from the CID would be the appropriate officer to investigate the matter.

Anwar told him that if the matter was investigated he did not want it to go to court, Mohd Said said, adding that he could not remember Anwar's reasons.

He said Anwar agreed to make the report through his ADC, ASP Zull Aznam Harun who came by his (Mohd Said's) office that afternoon to lodge a report which he (Mohd Said) passed to Musa.

Mohd Said said about 3.45pm on Aug 15, 1997, Mazlan told him that he still could not trace Ummi Hafilda and Azizan and they discussed Zull Aznam's report and planned their work schedule.

He said it was agreed that the Special Branch would locate Ummi Hafilda and the CID would arrest them once located.

Mohd Said said he also told the officers he would like to interview them first.

He and Amir went to Anwar's house about 10pm the following day on the accused's request.

Mohd Said: He told us that if we manage to arrest them he did not want them detained for long and he wanted us to question them deeply on their reasons for writing the letter. He also repeated his earlier request that we get the duo as soon as possible.

Mohd Said said he and Amir went to see the IGP about 8pm on Aug 17, 1997 and the IGP told them that a Dr Ristina complained about a raid on her house.

He told the IGP that earlier that evening his men found out that Ummi Hafilda and Azizan were in Dr Ristina's house and the police party tried to arrest the two, but was prevented by the doctor.

Mohd Said said while he was with the IGP someone told him that Ummi Hafilda and Azizan had been arrested and taken to Bukit Aman.

He informed the IGP about the arrest and the latter told the Home Ministry secretary-general and Anwar about it.

Mohd Said: After the IGP told Amir and I that Anwar wanted to see us and we went to his house that night.

At this juncture, Paul adjourned proceedings for 15 minutes.

When hearing resumed at 10.27am, Mohd Said said they reached Anwar's house about 12.30am and briefed him on the latest development.

Mohd Said: After some conversation, he directed us to get Ummi Hafilda and Azizan to retract their allegations.

Apart from that he did not want the two to be detained for a long period and the case should not go to court and also for me to ensure that there is no publicity on the matter.

When asked by Abdul Gani how Anwar proposed to get the retraction, Mohd Said said the accused told him that it had to be in writing.

Mohd Said said he told his officers that they had less than 24 hours to get the retraction.

At this juncture, Ummi Hafilda and Azizan were called into the court for identification and they caused quite a stir, with people in the gallery whispering.

He told Mazlan to interview Azizan while DSP Aziz Hussin was to interview Ummi Hafilda, Mohd Said said, adding that the operation to get the retraction was called "Turning Over".

Mohd Said the "Turning Over" process involved changing the stand of the person concerned and the method applied in the process was a "trade secret" to the Special Branch.

Abdul Gani: Are you aware of the term neutralise?

Mohd Said: Yes ... it is like putting things backwards ... if the person is a threat to security, we neutralise him so that he would not be a threat any more.

He said neutralisation was the same as turning over.

Mohd Said said Anwar called him and Amir over to his house on Aug 18, 1997 and they went there and informed the accused that Ummi Hafilda and Azizan had been "turned over" and were willing to withdraw their allegations.

He said Anwar directed them to get the two to write apology letters to the Prime Minister.

Mohd Said said his officers told him that there were some basis to the allegations but he told them to get the retraction in spite of that, since he had been directed by the Deputy Prime Minister to get the apologies.

Hearing was adjourned for lunch. Before Anwar was taken out of the court, he kissed his daughter Nurul Izzah, who appeared unwell, and waved to everyone.

The court resumed at 2.20pm after the lunch break.

Continuing the examination-in-chief, Abdul Gani asked Mohd Said whether he gave instructions to DSP Aziz about 11.45pm on 18 August 1997. He said yes.

Mohd Said was asked what his instructions were and he said he asked DSP Aziz to take Azizan to Anwar's house.

Abdul Gani: Can you tell the court why you wanted to bring Azizan to the accused's house?

Mohd Said: Earlier, I was informed by my deputy Datuk Amir Junus that the accused would like to meet Azizan.

Mohd Said said after giving the instructions to DSP Aziz, he and Amir went to Anwar's official residence just before midnight that night. He said they went there to give Anwar letters written by Azizan and Ummi Hafilda.

(The letters were marked as exhibits ID17 and ID18.)

Abdul Gani: Did the accused read the two letters?

Mohd Said: Yes, he read both letters and in as far as ID17 (Azizan's letter), he was satisfied but he was not very pleased with ID18 (Ummi's letter).

Abdul Gani: What did the accused say about ID18?

Mohd Said: I apologise but I cannot remember what he said but I know very well he wasn't pleased with the letter.

He went on to say Azizan arrived while he and Amir were talking to Anwar and was ushered into the library. Mohd Said and Amir then left the library.

Mohd Said said he could not hear the conversation between Anwar and Azizan but saw Azizan upon entering, "bending down in front of Anwar and shake his hand in a very respectful way". He did not see anything else.

Mohd Said said Azizan came out 10 to 15 minutes later and was taken back to his home by Anwar's ADC Zull Aznam. Mohd Said and Amir re-entered the library for a short discussion with Anwar.

Abdul Gani: What was the discussion about?

Mohd Said: The accused would like us to monitor the two arrestees' (Azizan and Ummi Hafilda) movements.

After this, he and Amir left Anwar's house.

Two days later, on 20 August 1997, he went to the Prime Minister's office at 5.30pm on his own accord. During a 10-minute meeting, he gave the Prime Minister copies of Azizan's and Ummi's letters together with his covering letter. He also gave him either a copy of the letter entitled Perihal Salah Laku DPM or another one called Talqin Terbuka untuk Anwar Ibrahim. The Prime Minister did not read the letters in his presence.

On the same day about 10pm, he went to Anwar's official residence with Amir. They told Anwar they had given the letters to the Prime Minister but he could not remember Anwar's response.

Abdul Gani: Can you tell the court why you reported the sending of the letters to the accused?

Mohd Said: The whole thing concerns the accused and letters ID17 and ID18 (Azizan's and Ummi's letters) are both addressed to the PM, so I thought I had to tell him I sent those letters to the PM.

A week later, on 27 August 1997, Amir told him that Anwar wanted to meet them both that day and they went to Anwar's house between 9.30pm and 10pm.

Abdul Gani: Can you tell the court what happened at the meeting?

Mohd Said: I told the court earlier that the accused was not very pleased with ID18. That night, he directed us to get in touch with Ummi and Azizan, and get another letter from each of them. He wanted the letters from Ummi and Azizan to fully declare that the accused is not involved in any sex scandal. He wanted the letters to be an open letter without being addressed to anybody.

Mohd Said also said Anwar wanted the letters to be posted to the Deputy Prime Minister's office.

Abdul Gani: While listening to the directives of the accused that night, did he ever tell you the manner in which the letters should be obtained from Ummi and Azizan?

Mohd Said: We had to meet again with Ummi and Azizan and ask them to write the letters the accused wanted.

He said he directed Amir to do this and added that Anwar did not say why he wanted them to be open letters.

The next day, 28 August 1997, Mohd Said said he went to see the IGP at 12.45pm with Amir to brief him about Anwar's directives.

On 29 August 1997, the two of them went to Anwar's house at 9.30pm to pass him the new letters written by Ummi and Azizan.

Four letters were produced in court and marked as exhibits ID19 to 22. ID19 was from Azizan entitled "Kenyataan Umum oleh Azizan Abu Bakar" (Public Statement by Azizan Abu Bakar). ID20 was a typewritten letter from Azizan but with the same contents as ID19 and carrying the same title.

ID21 was handwritten by Ummi Hafilda and addressed to Anwar, dated 29 August 1997. It was a cover letter for ID22. ID22 was a typewritten letter from Ummi dated 29 August 1997 and entitled "Kenyataan Umum oleh Ummi Hafilda bt Ali" (Public Statement by Ummi Hafilda bt Ali).

Mohd Said confirmed that these were the four letters he sent to Anwar. Abdul Gani asked him to look at the rubber stamp marks on ID20, 21 and 22, to which he said they bore the markings of Timbalan Perdana Menteri and dated 30 August 1997. He said it appeared that the letters were received on Aug 30.

Abdul Gani: Looking at the three rubber stamp marks, would they indicate that they were received at the TPM's office or somewhere else?

Anwar's lawyer Gurbachan Singh objected saying that Mohd Said was in no position to confirm this fact. The judge agreed.

Abdul Gani then asked if Mohd Said had read the letters before giving them to Anwar, to which he answered yes. He said there were no rubber stamp marks on the letters when he read them.

He was asked why the letters were delivered personally by him and Amir to Anwar despite Anwar's request for them to be posted to his office.

Mohd Said said they wanted to ensure that the letters were delivered without delay and that they reached Anwar safely.

Abdul Gani: Do you know how the four letters were obtained from Ummi and Azizan by your officers?

Mohd Said: I already mentioned I asked my deputy to carry out the instructions so I wouldn't know the details.

Abdul Gani: Can you tell the court why was the accused giving you, the Special Branch director, directions concerning this matter?

Mohd Said: I guess ...

Gurbachan then stood up to object that Mohd Said could not give an opinion or make a guess. The judge said he did not hear the answer and said Mohd Said should be allowed to answer first before he decided whether to strike it out.

Gurbachan protested that the question itself should not be allowed. The judge allowed the question which was put again to Mohd Said.

Mohd Said: It's a difficult question ... (laughter in the court).

Judge: Is that your reply?

Mohd Said: Just a comment from me, My Lord. I guess it was his problem and he is the DPM.

Christopher Fernando, another of Anwar's lawyer, then objected saying that this was an opinion.

Judge: Let me hear and record first. I must see what he is talking about.

Gurbachan: He said I guess.

Judge: Sit down. Don't jump the gun. If you continue, I will send you out. Give me a chance to record first. I am not a computer.

Gurbachan said he would leave if the judge orders him to.

Judge: Sit down first.

Gurbachan: It's not the court's right to be rude to counsel.

He said the court should let the witness confirm his answer first.

Judge: That's what I am asking. (Turns to witness)

Mohd Said: I guess .... (laughter in the court)

Abdul Gani: Let him say it. There, he has said it. Sit down (to Gurbachan who stood up again.)

Gurbachan: You sit down. (He then sits down).

Judge: I must say I am taking a serious view of the behaviour of counsel.

Gurbachan: (jumps up and interjects) Of prosecution too.

Judge: Yes, both. There's a limit to my patience. I may exercise all my judicial muscle ... You didn't give me a chance.

Fernando: I heard him (the witness) say I guess. That's why I objected.

Judge: Very well, you can hear but I cannot.

Raja Aziz Addruse (Anwar's leading counsel): The answer cannot be given until you rule the question can be asked.

Judge: I said the question can be asked.

Raja Aziz: But the question cannot be asked.

Judge: I said the objection was overruled. I said he could answer. What's the meaning of I guess. It could also mean I think. (Turns to witness) I guess what?

Mohd Said: I guess the accused has his problem and since he is DPM, he directed me.

Gurbachan: May I object? The witness is not giving evidence of fact, he's merely speculating, conjecturing or guessing.

Judge: You have said this... so?

Gurbachan: Therefore, the answer should not be given and should be completely expunged.

Abdul Gani: I agree with my learned friend. May it be expunged from the record. I thank my learned friend.

Judge: Next time, I don't want counsel to jump the gun. It's not my fault I didn't hear. You people are not recording, you have computers, you have recorders. You have to go at my speed. Sit down (waving to Fernando). Once I have recorded it, then you speak. Don't jump the gun. Proceed.

Abdul Gani: You put forth earlier that the accused gave you a number of directives. Can you tell the court why you obeyed the directives?

Mohd Said: Because he was DPM.

He said he directed ASP Aziz and ACP Mazlan to interrogate Ummi and Azizan on 17 August 1997, and said he was interested in learning the truth of the allegations in Ummi's first letter Perihal Salah Laku DPM. He said the first report from the investigating officers showed there was basis in the allegations.

Abdul Gani had no more questions. Raja Aziz then said Fernando and Gurbachan would cross-examine but on separate issues.

Fernando began by asking Mohd Said if Anwar had told him that the letter (Perihal Salah Laku DPM by Ummi) contained wild allegations and "we" did not believe the contents.

Abdul Gani objected saying that the witness previously testified that "we" (meaning Anwar) did not believe the allegations. Fernando insisted that it was WE, and the judge directed him to ask Mohd Said if he had said "WE".

Mohd Said: I may have said that 'We did not believe the allegations'.

Fernando: It was on that basis, in that context, that the accused instructed you to investigate further. Is that right?

Mohd Said: Yes.

He also said they reported the progress to Anwar and had told him that they still could not get Ummi or Azizan at that time.

Fernando: Thereafter, at a subsequent date, he told you to investigate the matter deeply?

Mohd Said: Yes.

Fernando: I put it to you, as a very experienced police officer, when someone asked you to investigate deeply, he is asking you to investigate every aspect of the matter and from all angles.

Mohd Said: Yes.

Abdul Gani objected, saying the question asked for the witnesses' opinion. The judge overruled the objection.

Fernando: My Lord, this may be an appropriate time to stop.

Judge: You don't tell me when to stop.

Fernando: I said may be. I didn't tell your Lordship to stop. I leave it to your Lordship.

Judge: I hope everyone is ready by 9am tomorrow, not 9.15 or 9.30am.

The court adjourned.

ALL SMILES ... Anwar at the courthouse Wednesday