Rosmah’s lawyers argue notice to declare assets violates her constitutional rights

13-May-2019 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:00 AM Print This Post

The defence lawyers for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor have argued that their client’s constitutional rights are being violated by a notice which compels her to disclose information related to the 12 charges of money laundering against her.

They were referring to Section 49 of the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act 2001 (AMLATFPUAA), which empowers the public prosecution to serve notice on any person to disclose assets, and the source of funding for those assets.

Led by Manjeet Singh Dhillon and consisting of Rajivan Nambiar and Reza Rahim, the defendant’s team said the notice was unconstitutional.

“It violates our client’s right to a fair trial, an inherent right to silence, the presumption of innocence and the right against self-incrimination,” Nambiar said before presiding judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan at the High Court here.

He added that the notice, issued by the attorney general after the prosecution of the matter had already begun, is bad in form.

“It (the notice) warrants severability, was wrongly issued in its present form whether in the Bahasa Malaysia version or the English version, notwithstanding and yet acknowledges the marked difference between the two,” Nambiar said.

He also cited several past court cases where the defendant’s constitutional rights were infringed upon, as examples.

The defence therefore argued that the notice should be struck out by the court, as the court has “no such haberdashery powers.”

In response to this, the prosecution led by Datuk Seri Gopal Sri Ram said the argument that the notice under Section 49 is unconstitutional is invalid.

“Our argument is that AMLATFPUAA is a special Act, designed to combat money laundering which is an international phenomenon in scope.

“Under the notice, only the person in possession of the property will have personal knowledge of what the property is, and the source of funds for its purchase,” he explained to reporters following the hearing.

Gopal said based on this, Section 49 is not discriminatory but instead a proportionate response to the harm it seeks to address.

He added the notice did not infringe upon the defendant’s presumption of innocence or right to a fair trial, since the case is still in the pre-trial stage in its investigative procedure.

Justice Mohamed Zaini scheduled the next hearing for Friday, May 24.

Rosmah, who was present at the hearing and clad in a baju kurung with a black-and-white pattern and matching tudung, was seen listening intently to the proceedings.

On October 4 last year, the wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to the money-laundering charges involving RM7.09 million, as well as five counts of failing to declare her income to the Inland Revenue Board.

For money laundering, if found guilty, she faces a sentence of imprisonment of up to 15 years and a fine of not less than five times the sum or value of the proceeds of unlawful activity or RM5 million, whichever is higher.


Category: Malaysia

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