Thursday, September 23, 2021

Sri Ram’s appointment as senior DPP is wrong, court told

Sri Ram’s appointment as senior DPP is wrong, court told

Muhammad Shafee Abdullah says Gopal Sri Ram cannot be appointed a deputy public prosecutor as he was not a civil servant in the judicial and legal service.

PUTRAJAYA: Only civil servants who come from the judicial and legal service can be appointed deputy public prosecutors (DPP), the Court of Appeal heard today.

Lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said, as such, ex-judge Gopal Sri Ram did not qualify to be appointed DPP to prosecute him and former prime minister Najib Razak in 1MDB related cases.

Shafee also said only a DPP could be designated as senior DPP.

“As such, Sri Ram, who is currently practising law, cannot be appointed a senior DPP under Section 376 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC),” he said in his submission.

Shafee said former attorney-general Tommy Thomas should have employed Sri Ram under contract, as happened when he himself (Shafee) was appointed by the then attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail in 2013 to lead the prosecution to appeal against the acquittal of Anwar Ibrahim for allegedly sodomising his former aide.

“When I was employed, I signed a contract with the government and they paid me RM1,000 for the service provided,” he said.

Shafee, who is representing Najib, argued that Thomas should, therefore, have appointed Sri Ram under Section 376 read with Section 379 of the CPC.

He said Sri Ram could not be said to be under the supervision and control of the attorney-general as he was neither a civil servant nor employed under a contract.

Last year, the High Court dismissed a judicial review application by Najib and Shafee to recuse Sri Ram as the senior DPP in their respective cases.

Judge Mariana Yahya held that there was no evidence to prove that the then attorney-general Tommy Thomas had misdirected himself under the law in the appointment of Sri Ram as senior DPP in August 2018.

The judge also held that the appointment of Sri Ram as senior DPP pursuant to Section 376(3) was legal and valid.

Lawyer, Harvinderjit Singh, who is appearing for Shafee, submitted that Sri Ram’s competence as judge and lawyer could not be questioned but that he was not qualified to be a senior DPP.

He said Thomas had made the appointment in bad faith as he (Thomas) had said that this was to fulfil the aim of the then Pakatan Harapan (PH) government that came to power after the May 9 general election.

“It was a special purpose appointment so that Sri Ram could also direct the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigations,” Harvinderjit said.

Senior federal counsel Shamsul Bolhassan submitted that the language in Section 376 was very broad and the court should refrain from “putting words” to interpret the provision.

“Sri Ram’s appointment is not illegal. Senior DPPs need not come from the judicial and legal service,” he added.

Bench chairman Yaacob Md Sam, who sat with Lee Heng Cheong and Mohd Ruzima Ghazali, later directed Shamsul and Shafee to file additional submissions by Oct 6 on the legal position of Section 376 before and after an amendment in 1998.

Shamsul also told the bench that the complaint by Najib and Shafee that Sri Ram was biased and in conflict of interest should not be entertained by this court as this had been decided by the Federal Court in 2019.

The court then reserved judgment for Oct 8.


  1. There are no such words in the law Section 376 , as asserted by Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

    Just like his boss Najib, these senior UMNO types think they can invent separate laws and rules for their own benefit and convenience.

    The backstory behind why Najib is desperately trying , by Hook or by Crook to get Sri Ram removed is that Najib /UMNO is working out the usual strategem to get his corruption cases dismissed and get an acquittal via DPP withdrawing the case.
    Unlike other such successes with other senior UMNO leader's cases, they can't do this ....because the DPP in this case, Sri Ram, will not bow to such Bullshit.

  2. That's what good lawyers do. Find all avenues including technical reasons to get a favourable outcome for your client.

    Karpal Singh was a master of this. He used technicalities example the police did not follow procedure to get his clients off the hook.