Press Statement


ANALYSIS. As early as January 29, WALK WITH US went to town ahead of others with news about the vanquished exit of Cecil Abraham from Messrs. Shearn Delamore.

The news is now proven true by The Straits Times of Singapore, dated 14 April 2007.

This is what we wrote about three months ago, asking you not to trust us then, but we assured you “time will be the better judge for truth”.

Cecil Abraham, 59, who is lead counsel for NSTP et.al. (in the defamation suits against bloggers Rocky and Jeff Ooi), has recently resigned from Shearn Delamore after his proposal to merge the legal firm with another medium-size law firm was rejected by the junior partners.

Cecil has a brother, Wilfred, as a senior partner in Zul Rafique & Partners. Rumour is rife that Cecil may take the NSTP defamation cases against bloggers to his new law firm, along with his son Sunil and legal assistant Rishwant Singh.

Don’t trust us 100% for now. Time will be the better judge for truth.

And truth dawned us. This is what Straits Times’ KL correspondent Leslie Lopez wrote:

Datuk Abraham, who is widely regarded as one of the country’s top litigation lawyers, caused a stir in Kuala Lumpur’s clubby legal fraternity when he resigned from Shearn Delamore three months ago as a result of differences with his other partners over the firm’s direction.

His break with the firm that he had been attached to for over three decades prompted speculation that his departure could presage more resignations from the law practice and the loss of several large clients.

According to lawyers close to the situation, Shearn Delamore has not suffered any haemorrhage in business or personnel since Datuk Abraham, 60, submitted his resignation.

According to several senior lawyers, Datuk Abraham (who leaves the firm at the end of July) is expected to join Zul Rafique and Partners.

Isn’t it about time Cecil Abraham looked at his expiry date as a money-earner lawyer, the byname for legal vultures? Only fools like Kalimullah will get him fight the bloggers on the Internet-related case!

How wishful too, if Cecil had thought that by currying flavour with Kalimullah could help him land more government-related work!

If you read Leslie Lopez, who quoted several senior lawyers, after joining Zul Rafique and Partners, Cecil Abraham could violate a ‘restraint of trade’ clause in the partnership agreement with Shearn Delamore, which restricts him from practising within the Kuala Lumpur geographical area for two years.

And NSTP’s suits against Rocky and Jeff Ooi are being heard in the Kuala Lumpur High Court!
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Sorry for no updates. Sorry too if some of the news are stale as many things may have come to pass.

You see, Rehman Rashid has done the rectum round on March 13.

We have been having log-in problem in the last two weeks, but it’s over now and we are back on our feet again.

Walk With Us and WATCH THIS SPACE!

ANALYSIS. The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) and individuals who are plaintiffs in Rocky and Jeff’s defamation suits SHOULD BE cited for contempt of court!

Listen! We are telling you with concrete evidence that The NSTP is prejudice against blogger Rocky, and subjudice against blogger Jeff Ooi for printing articles pertaining to their defamation suits on January 24 and 25.

And how Malaysia’s Prime Minister has enslaved himself to the wills of his own servants!

EVIDENCE 1 – This was strategically timed by The NST to go on print on January 24 (Page 2), the eve of Rocky’s trial:

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In the report, The NST made direct inference to the plaintiffs and said, in portions highlighted in red above, the following:

Speaking later, Abdullah said the government would not censor bloggers but they had to be responsible and that they could be subject to defamation, sedition and other laws.

“They cannot hide or take advantage of a situation and do something against the law,” he said when asked to respond to the suit being taken by the New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd, its deputy chairman Datuk Kalimullah Hassan, chief executive officer Datuk Syed Faizal Syed Albar and former group editor Brendan Pereira against Ahirudin Attan and Ooi Chuan Aun over their web postings.

He said bloggers could not plead ignorance of the laws as freedom without responsibility would be anarchy.

To the international community, notably the international press, Abdullah’s intimidating posture is seen as openly soliciting support for The NST’s action. This is clearly evident in the January 25 edition of Sydney Morning Herald, which ran the headline: Malaysian PM defends legal action against bloggers.

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The intro of the Australian paper said:

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has defended legal action launched against two Malaysian bloggers, saying the Internet was not exempt from defamation laws, a report said.

Can you imagine what outsiders and foreign investors would think of Malaysia as a democratic country with Abdullah’s statement now being spread across the world, that a Prime Minister commenting on a subject pre-determined as subjudice in the statement of claims against the bloggers his own newspaper had accused?

EVIDENCE 2 – The next day, The NST tightened the screw on Rocky further by printing this on January 25 (Page 6), the day Rocky had to preliminarily put his fate in the hands of the Kuala Lumpur High Court that was hearing his interparte injunction.

The damage to Rocky is serious as The NST has given its story a 6-column treatment — you and the Judge can’t miss it:
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We are doing something like wikileaks.org. WE NEED YOUR HELP.

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If you happen to see the above signature on any documents, especially memos, letters or contracts, grab them and send to us in PDF or JPG.

We have obtained some, but we want more.

We are calling former and present employees at The NSTP, KO Lim’s Group of companies, ECM-Libra, ECM-Libra Avenue, Ekowood International Berhad & Ministry of Education, Efficient E-Solutions Berhad, and Taylor’s Education Berhad to keep a sharp hawk-eye on such documents. These are the companies where Abdullah’s men hide some of the fortunes they looted from the country.

So, don’t feel guilty. Help us put the jigsaw puzzle together (to tell the country why Badawi is such a big failure because of people surrounding him). Exercise your civil power. Do your country, our country, a big favour.

Follow the money. Connect all the dots and players. So you’ll see the big picture.

Send to our secure email: walkwithus2007 AT hushmail DOT com. Thank you.

ANALYSIS. The agenda behind NSTP and its senior personnel’s motive in suing the bloggers is now exposed!

They are now MORE concerned with readers’ commentaries in the blogs than the bloggers’ blog entries!

The hidden aganda surfaced this morning when lawyers representing The NSTP raised concerns over comments left in Rocky’s blog — and readers’ comments in Raja Petra’s blog (Malaysia-Today) which is not related to Rocky’s blog nor his lawsuit — and wanted them removed, citing sub judice rules.

Look! The NST had actually wanted to silence all online readers — in a blanket manner — from voicing out their views about issues probed and discussed in the blogs. Isn’t this an attempt to stifle the common people’s freedom of expression?

According to Malaysiakini, the plantiffs have also applied to the court today to remove comments pertaining to their defamation suit which appeared in Raja Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia Today blog, which is totally not connected to Rocky’s blog and lawsuit.

In an immediate response, Ahirudin’s lawyer Edmund Bon told the press that the plantiffs – NSTP and four others – wanted comments discussing the merits of the case to be removed as they risked prejudicing the case.

Look at the key points that Bon has pinpointed:

“We were only told about it this morning that they want such comments removed so we will look into these comments and give the plaintiffs an answer on Monday.

“We will decide whether it is indeed sub judice […] we have not taken a position yet whether we want to leave the comments in the site or remove it,” he told reporters in Wisma Denmark, Kuala Lumpur today.

He stressed the comments were not related to what Ahirudin had written but what his commentators have been saying.

Meanwhile, another lawyer defending Rocky in the defamation suit also claimed today that Rocky’s suit is impossible to defend, and wanted the court to have the controversial legal action struck out.

This is how Rocky’s co-defence lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar was quited by the reporter from Agencie France Presse (AFP):

“What Rocky is contending is that with the claim the way it is, it is impossible to know how to adequately defend himself,” his lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar told reporters at the Kuala Lumpur civil High Court.

“What we are arguing is that the claim must specifically set out which phrase relates to which meaning so that we can know how to defend it,” he said.

In his affidavit, Rocky claimed that, by suing him for defamation, the plaintiffs were actually going on a ‘fishing expedition” which, in legal jargon, simply means the accusers did not first provide concrete pleadings but intended to have them revealed during trial, fishing them from the defendants!
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KEY ISSUES:

  1. Is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in contempt of court by commenting specifically on the bloggers’ defamation suits?
  2. Is Abdullah Ahmad Badawi using Executive power to influence the judiciary on the outcome of the bloggers’ suits?

A practitioner in Common Law has alerted the Clerk-of-Works that Prime Minister/Umno president Abdullah Ahmad Badawi can be cited for contempt of court and for using Executive power to influence the Judiciary over NSTP’s defamation suit against Jeff Ooi and Rocky.

Abdullah’s offending statements were widely carried by Malaysia’s national news agency, Bernama, and the country’s largest circulation newspaper, The Star, on January 24.
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Press Statement by Dr. Lim Teck Ghee on
New Straits Times Suit Against Jeff Ooi and Ahirudin Atan

21 Jan 2007

wws-drlimteckghee.jpgI would like to call on fellow Malaysians to express their concern in the strongest possible way on the defamation suit filed by the NST and NST executives against Ahirudin Attan and Jeff Ooi.

The action by the NST and its officials is not simply an attempt at muzzling two prominent bloggers. It is also aimed at stifling critical public comment on key national issues, much of which is regularly purged from the mainstream media.

All Malaysians concerned about the freedom of speech and the enlarged space for more independent news and commentary provided by Screenshots, Rocky’s Bru and other citizen bloggers should rally in support of Ahirudin and Jeff.

The Malaysian Government should also not think it is an uninterested party. Already the action has received a great deal of international coverage and attention. The pursuit of the legal action will give an even bigger black eye to the country’s record on the rigid control of the media and restricted media freedom.

Finally, I would like to appeal to the sense of responsibility and higher patriotic spirit of the NST and associated suing parties to withdraw their legal action as this is a case that can cripple the development of a freer media in Malaysia.

Dr Lim is former director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute, and a former UN researcher.

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