Minister for Law and Home Affairs , K Shanmugam (Shanmugam) has said via a video post on his Facebook page that he will deliver a “major” Ministerial Statement on the Parti Liyani (Parti) case in Parliament to speak about five key issues arising from the case.
Among other things, he has said that he will talk about the facts of the case, equality and fairness, whether there was “influence peddling” and whether any rules had been broken.
While it remains the hope that Shanmugam will take the police, the Attorney General’s Chambers (AGC) and the Liews to task given the revelations in the High Court, his recent statements in support of the police have been disturbing.
Just a few days ago at the Minister’s Awards Presentation Ceremony, Shanmugam had said that there have been increasing attempts to delegitimise enforcement agencies, adding that the police and other agencies would not be intimidated by such moves.
Is this a sign that the Minister intends to back the police and the AGC no matter what the High Court has say?
In what appears to be a dig at opposition politician and lawyer to Leong Sze Hian and Terry Xu for their respective defamation cases, Lim Tean, Shanmugam also said that “some people want special exemptions from investigations, especially when the allegations against them are serious, such as those involving criminal breach of trust or sexual harassment”.
Yet, given the timing of Lim Tean’s arrest, is it really that far fetched to come to the conclusion that it may have been politically motivated?
Further, the Minister said “the rule of law applies to all, regardless of who you are.” However, if that is indeed the case, how does the Minister explain the way the the prosecution has pushed ahead to get a man sentenced to death despite inadequate evidence? Or how will the Minister explain the discrepancy between how the police handled reports against the WP’s Raeesah Khan and Heng Swee Keat or Ong Ye Kung?
While we don’t yet know what Shanmugam is set to say, it is very possible (looking at his stanch defence of the police and other agencies just a few days ago) that Shanmugam may well say that the police and the AGC did nothing wrong in Parti’s case. Yet, if he does, will he not be going against his own words earlier when he acknowledged that “something has gone wrong in the chain of events”?
At this juncture, it is important to remember that in Parti’s case, the police had been unprofessional (and even negligent) in the handling of evidence. There is also ample evidence to suggest that the Liews had broken the law by deploying Parti to different households and may have been worried about Parti complaining to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). So much so that in court, Karl Liew could not even identify the items that were supposedly stolen from him. Not to mention the six degrees of separation that connect all the major players in the Parti case.
It is also noteworthy that the authorities have steadfastly refused to convene a committee of inquiry (COI) for the Parti case.
It is also crucial to remember that the High Court had no dog in the fight where Parti was concerned. It simply looked at the facts in front of it. Authorities however may have an agenda to ensure that no mistake is admitted.
Is it really possible for the Minister to deal with any of the issues his video promised in the absence of such a COI?