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Friday, 2 April 2010

Matthias Chang on Hunger Strike

Unlike every other morning whereby I'm woken up by my hand phone alarm to the tune of a "cockedoodledoo", I was instead woken up by my message alarm, an Austin Powers wanabe voice, "You've got mail bayyybeeeyy". It was a message from a friend who is close to Matthias Chang. He forwarded this sms;

"Dear Sir/Mdm, our father Matthias Chang is now in prison and is on Hunger Strike and will continue to do so until Justice Noor Azian agrees not to abuse lawyers and/or litigants and the relevant authoritties agree to review the draconian contempt law as provided under order 52 1 (A), of the rules of the high court 1980. Uncles and Aunties, please please help us to spread this sms out to your friends and family. we will forever be grateful to you. You have our gratitude.
From Matthias Chang's children."

Well, hunger strike, hooray!!! The exact reason why I love Mahatma Gandhi !! (well, amongst many other qualities he possess that rarely we find in any man at the present moment).

Only last few weeks I had dinner with Matthias Chang...no...nothing candle-lightish about it. It was an invitation by my friend who knows Mathias and thought that since I love his book, why not go out to dinner and meet the man himself. Oh, by the way, I saw him eating and let's just say I'm not worried about him, because he can afford to go on Hunger Strike, longer than Mahatma Gandhi or Raja Petra can :)

And dinner dragged on till almost midnight. I have to say, he's fun to listen to...not really to have a conversation with because frankly, he's a little bit full of himself, and a more than one way conversation is not really his style but hey, he is brilliant,(therefore almost always a wee bit eccentric, in a complimentary manner and misunderstood) witty and resourceful and I don't really mind hanging around people who are full of himself, as long as "himself" is terribly captivating to listen to. Well, we stayed till late.

He narrated to us his adventures at the time he volunteered via PGPA to send army tanks to the Middle East, to help the Palestinians fight Israel and his misadventure of getting detained and deported to Egypt. I must say, I was taken in, despite his occasionally foul choice of language (which I don't mind at all. I've long learned through experience; what is the point of having a person with a posh appearance, yet have an unposh conduct, bribery for instance...most corrupted politicians speak in a very eloquent manner..what good does this ostentatious method of delivering poison do to us?), with his passion for justice. He is known to be a bit of a rebel, but so was Mahatma Gandhi, Raja Petra, Karpal Singh, Malcolm X, James Dean (although no one knows the cause of his rebel hitherto) , depends on who hands out the definition. After all, the Americans went in and raped Iraq in order to "fight terrorism". What's raping Iraq called then? Consensual sex with a dash of masochism?

Apparently, apart from being called amongst many, "Mahathir's mouth piece", he not only use his mouth, but his body goes to help the Palestinians too...apart from the books he wrote which, personally, are an interesting, can't put down reads. Can't say much about the people who has been calling him names. A reliable source told me, despite serving as Political Secretary to Mahathir, and is currently Mahathir's speech writer and political adviser to the Iranian Government,(if my memory serves me well), he has never once asked for any favor from the former premier, which I find really an admirable character.

He predicted this court hoo haas too, well, maybe not the contempt or the one month jail bit, but he did mention that he's going to cause hell should the justice not be served. Then again, he managed to predict the economic tsunami and a couple more financial catastrophe, and got them right, it's not even funny anymore..I guess predicting his own court case was a piece of cake. He did mention that he will expose the fraud executed covertly by the credit company to gain money from oblivious credit card users..If I were you, I'd run back and scrutinize your credit card billing to make sure they do not charge you especially "late charges". Apparently, judging by the statement in the Star, (source HERE)
"Last Friday Noor Azian had dismissed his suit, and ruled that Chang had failed to prove his case after hearing witnesses from both sides as well as submissions", I suppose it is safe to assume that Judge Noor Azian was not interested in how we are all screwed by the credit corporation.

Love him or hate him, I have to say, he is an interesting character to follow...and I'm not saying it because he paid for dinner :)
(Click on the Rabbit hole, to read Matthias Chang's Press Statement, and other statements)

Below is the Press Statement made by Matthias Chang;
PRESS STATEMENT

My conviction by Justice Noor Azian Bt Shaari is a clear example that judges are above criticisms, no matter what they say in court - making snide remarks, belittling counsels, denigrating their integrity, being rude and offensive to litigants and lawyers and conduct calculated to intimidate.

Judges do so knowing that they are immune from any legal action. Additionally, they have the weapon of "Contempt of Court" to ensure that any opposition to their obnoxious conduct will be put down as being disrespectful to the court.

A case in point - a former Federal Court judge in delivering his judgment made defamatory allegations against a former finance minister who was not a party to the proceedings. It was a grievous wrong. It was only when the former minister, at great expense in engaging senior lawyers, applied to have the statements expunged, that the wrongs inflicted on him were somewhat put right. However, no action was taken against the judge. But of the millions who read the defamatory statements published by the mass media, how many knew that the statements have been expunged and the judge had no business whatsoever to defame the former minister? A man's reputation and integrity has been smeared beyond repair. For those who cannot engage a lawyer, their fate is buried in the memory hole.

Several years ago, I had commenced legal action against leading members of the Freemasons, which included an Appellate Court judge. The High Court judge told my counsel that unless I withdrew my case I would be cited for contempt. My counsel was courageous enough to tell him off, and he backed off, and the abuse by the judge was avoided. My counsel was a former President of the Bar Council.

To cite one example of Justice Noor Azian's unbecoming conduct as a judge in my case before her - after ordering my arrest and having placed me in custody at the basement of the Court Complex at the instigation of Defence Counsel, she asked the counsels present for directions as to how to proceed with contempt against me. Defence Counsel, one Mr. Prakash Menon gave wrong advice to the judge, not even knowing that the relevant law was amended. When my counsel attempted to draw her attention to the amended law, the judge interjected and went on a tirade of insults and abuse, accusing them of conduct unbecoming, unethical behaviour and lack of decorum.

When my counsels, as was their duty, drew attention to the relevant laws, thereby saving her much embarrassment for her ignorance, she did not retract the derogatory statements and or thank my counsels for their assistance. Such is her arrogance.

Such abuse is all too common and while many lawyers have privately complained about such behaviour of judges, few have dared to take any action.

For my stand against such abuse and conduct unbecoming of a judge, Justice Noor Azian took it upon herself to be "judge, jury and executioner". No doubt, such a law exists that gives her such draconian powers. It does not mean that it is right. The law was amended, after Zainur Zakaria was cited for contempt when he was defending Anwar Ibrahim in the first sodomy trial.

The amended law is an unjust law and is prone to abuse by judges. Such an abuse has occurred in my case.

I was fined RM20,000 to be paid within a week from 25th March 2010. I refuse to pay the fine and I am willing to go to jail in protest against such a draconian law. I had initially contemplated to appeal to the Appellate Courts, but soon realised that whatever the outcome the draconian law will remain. I therefore, decided not to appeal.

It is my hope that my incarceration will draw attention to all concerned that this specific law of contempt, Order 52 1A of the Rules of The High Court 1980 is unjust, has been abused and will be abused in the future.

In closing I quote:

"One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law."

Martin Luther King

Matthias Chang
31st March 2010

Below: his note on the new contempt of court law which he described as draconian.

THE AMENDED DRACONIAN LAW OF CONTEMPT IN MALAYSIA

Order 52 1A of the Rules of the High Court

(1) If a contempt is committed in the face of the Court, it shall not be necessary to serve formal notice to show cause, but the Court shall ensure that the person alleged to be in contempt understands the nature of the offence alleged against him and has the opportunity to be heard in his own defence, and the Court shall make a proper record of the proceedings.

(2) Where a Judge is satisfied that a contempt has been committed in the face of the Court, the Judge may order the comtemnor to appear before him on the same day at the time fixed by the Court for the purpose of purging his contempt.

(3) Where such person has purged his contempt, by tendering his unreserved apology to the Court, and the Judge considers the contempt to be not of a serious nature, the Judge may excuse such person and no further action shall be taken against him.

(4) Where such person declines or refuses to purge his contempt, then the Judge shall sentence him.
:

INCARCERATION OF MATTHIAS CHANG POSTPONED TO THURSDAY, 1ST APRIL, 2010 AT 9.30 AM

At 3pm Matthias Chang presented himself at Justice Noor Azian’s Court to commence his unjust sentence of one month’s imprisonment for contempt of court in opposing her abuse of his three Counsels and of himself.

Many of his friends and colleagues were present to lend their support.

However, after waiting for one and half hours outside the Court premises, Matthias and his Counsels were told that the Judge was on leave and that the Deputy Registrar would be handling the matter and deliberations would be in chambers.

However, Matthias and his Counsels refused to enter the Deputy Registrar’s chambers on account that the said Judge on the 25th March 2010 insisted that all deliberations be held in Open Court and in full view of the public and the deliberations duly video-recorded. They insisted that as the Judge had convicted and sentenced Matthias in open court so as to humiliate him, the enforcement of the contempt order likewise should be done in Open Court. Matthias conveyed to the Court’s officials that he was fighting on a matter of principle and the matter must be heard in Open Court.

One of the largest Chinese NGOs, the Malaysian Federation of Kong Siew Association (a Chinese Clan association) represented by the President, Mr. Michael Ho and members of the Executive Committee offered to pay the fine of RM20,000 so as to prevent the incarceration of Matthias and a bankdraft for that amount was procured.

However, at the insistence of Matthias, the same was withdrawn, as he insisted on serving his sentence to expose the draconian contempt law in Malaysia and such abuses.

At the close of the day, Matthias’ Counsels were informed that as the time for paying the fine of RM20,000 only expired today i.e. Wednesday, 31st March 2010, and as Matthias has refused to pay the fine, he could only served his sentence on Thursday, 1st April, 2010.

Matthias then informed the Court officials that just as he had presented himself today, he will do so again tomorrow (Thursday) at 9.30am at the court premises to serve his sentence.

In Matthias Chang’s Press Statement issued today, he referred to two other occasions whereby Judges have abused their power.

However, Matthias informed the press who were in attendance, that there were other major cases of abuse committed by judges, namely that of Justice Ian Chin of the Sarawak High Court who made disparaging remarks against the former Prime Minister and then made several seditious remarks, one of which was that Malaysia used similar methods as the East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi. No action was taken against the judge for his defamatory and seditious statements and it was only after a police report was lodged against the said judge by Matthias that he resigned.

In the kangaroo court of the Royal Commission, set up by the fifth prime minister of Malaysia, Abdullah Badawi, to exact political vengeance on Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, yet again, a Judge of the said Commission made defamatory and unfounded statements against the 4th prime minister of Malaysia. As the judge enjoyed immunity, no action was taken.

This is an alarming trend and if judges are allowed to abuse their position to cast aspersions, inflict defamatory allegations on litigants and their lawyers and utter statements calculated to intimidate, there can be no justice and the entire judicial system will be brought into disrepute.

We hope that the incarceration of Matthias Chang will open the eyes of the civil society in Malaysia to this insidious danger.

We thank you all for the support and we hope that you will continue in your efforts to demand that the injustice of the conviction inflicted on Matthias Chang be overturned and that the draconian contempt laws of Malaysia be reviewed and revised.
He was the political adviser of Tun Mahathir and many who do not like the former premier do not appreciate who he dines with. That includes Matthias Chang, as evidence in a Malaysiakini article by Rozario. (THIS, on the other hand, is an article also publish in Malaysiakini, rebuking the article from Rozario, in defense of Matthias). Well, I know it looks bad for Matthias, drinking tea with the "wrong company" and I understand people's perception...it's like me telling the Ninja folks, "I don't consume alcohol but I love hanging out with drunkards because frankly they are the more fun company than the sober", and getting the holy-WTF look thrown at me.

Sitting with him across the table, listening and observing him, and of course after knowing what he did in his spare time, like "Oh, I just went to the Middle East to deliver this army tanks to help Palestinians fight Israel" kind of something, a thought struck me. Why would he bother carrying his ass all the way to the Middle East, risk his life along with others, to help humans who don't even share the same religion as him.

It is easier for people to talk about what they would like to do,or should do rather than people who just drop everything and actually go do it.. he and the others with him would have surprised NIKE for taking their ad tagline too seriously. If that is not for the true love for justice, I wonder what else is. One do not have the need to go risk their lives just to get a Datukship nowadays, you can DatukshOp with negotiable price apparently. So why bother risking his life? Ponder on that for a minute.

I may be naive when it comes to politics, but I do believe in "actions speaks louder than rhetoric". If someone does not take a single favor from his boss even though he could have, help fight for human lives because they are humans in need of justice regardless of color, race etc, I think that is testimony by itself.

Alas! Let's hope all this ordeal turn out to have positive effect on our legal system. God knows the justice system needs a face lift, if it plans to show it's face to us after loosing credibility especially during the Lingam's infamous "Caaaarrect! Caaaaarrect! Caaarrect!" video.
(Rabbit hole by the way, ENDS HERE)

...Click here to find out how deep the rabbit hole goes.....

7 comments:

Freddie Kevin said...

Dear Blogger,

You have no sense of compassion and heartless.

Freddie De Souza

PahNur said...

Dear Freddie,
For someone who says others do not have compassion, you seem to not have the decency to address me by my name, it's Pah Nur by the way.

Don't talk to me about compassion. My whole career is based on it.

Matthias Chang got his ass to the Middle east, risk his life, left his practice for a moment to go help send in aid to the Palestinians,majority Muslims. He's a Christian. By the way, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE LATELY?

Maybe you should take a lesson of compassion from him.

Pah Nur

Freddie Kevin said...

Dear PahNur,

I stand corrected with humble apologies. In my sadness and anger at Matthias' predicament I took this the wrong way. "Well, hunger strike, hooray!!! The exact reason why I love Mahatma Gandhi !! (well, amongst many other qualities he possess that rarely we find in any man at the present moment)."

Spending time in prison today, myself being a Catholic and his children's plea. I mitigate thus.

Being just a laymen, by any standards I may not have done much but I am in solidarity with him on the plight of the Palestinians.

Please accept my apologies.


Thank you
Freddie

PahNur said...

Freddie,
Apology accepted.
Let's hope all this hoo haaas will give a positive effect on our legal system.

Cheers :)

Freddie Kevin said...

Dear PahNur,

Thank you. Truth be told I won't be holding my breath. I don't think the powers that be will be moved. Thats why I am imploring Matthias to end his strike.

Regards
Freddie

PahNur said...

Freddie, Matthias strikes me as a brilliant man. I think he will know what to do..so don't worry about him. He survived Middle East..he will survive this :)

Freddie Kevin said...

Dear PahNur,

Mukkriz Mahathir has twitted today that the fine has been paid and he has ended the hunger strike.

MC still insists to be remanded though.

Regards
Freddie