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Letter from Manjeet Singh Dhillon to Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah

12 October 1998

Tan Sri,

Re: PR lwn Nallakaruppan a/l Solaimalai
KL High Court Criminal Trial No: 45-40-98

At the very outset let me apologize for writing this letter in English. I would under normal circumstances have arranged for my staff to translate it into Bahasa but there are matters that I am about to set out that for the moment I feel are best left on a p&c basis. Hence the need to keep the letter away from my staff. I have even taken the precaution of hand-delivering this letter myself.

You will recollect that I wrote to you on 1 October 1998 on the above matter citing the recent prosecution of Samsuri Welch Abdullah under the Arms Act 1960 as a comparative basis for you to amend the charge against Nallakaruppan from the Internal Security Act 1960 to one under the Arms Act 1960. I had copied that letter to Dato Gani Patail. I had expected a response from your office but instead, as in the case of my first letter dated 17 August 1998, I had a call from Dato Gani Patail on 2 October 1998 asking to see me on a very urgent basis. Both Mr Balwant Singh Sidhu and I saw him at 3.20 p.m. on 2 October 1998. The date & time of his visit is recorded in the police log book maintained outside Dato Gani's office on the 17th floor of Bangunan Bank Rakyat.

I had gone to this meeting with the expectation that, on the basis of my Ist October letter, there would be some discussion about possible sections under the Arms Act 1960 with a view to an amendment of Nallakaruppan's present ISA charge. To my absolute horror and disappointment Dato Gani Patail used the meeting and the death sentence under Section 57 of the ISA as a bargaining tool to gather evidence against Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim. He had with him the letter I had written to you and copied to him. He was waving the letter about and kept on saying repeatedly, "I am not impressed" and suggesting that
he would not be impressed with any plea to a charge under Arms Act but instead wanted more. This 'more' and it came across very loud and clear because Dato Gani laid it out in very clear and definite terms, was

1. That Nallakaruppan was now facing the death sentence,

2. That there were other charges also under the ISA that he could prefer against
Nallakarrupan but that if they [AG's chambers?] hanged him once under the present charge what need would there be to charge him for anything else.

3. That in exchange for a reduction of the present charge to one under the Arms Act he wanted Nallakaruppan to co-operate with them and to give information against Anwar Ibrahim, specifically on matters concerning several married women. Dato Gani kept changing the number of women and finally settled on five, three married and two unmarried.

4. That he would expect Nallakaruppan to testify against Anwar in respect of
these women.

I was shocked that Dato Gani even had the gall to make such a suggestion to me. He obviously does not know me. I do not approve of such extraction of evidence against ANYONE, not even, or should I say least of all, a beggar picked up off the streets. A man's life, or for that matter even his freedom, is not a tool for prosecution agencies to use as a bargaining chip. No jurisprudential system will condone such an act. It is blackmail and extortion of the highest culpability and my greatest disappointment is that a once independent agency that I worked with some 25 years ago and of which I have such satisfying memories has descended to such levels in the creation and collection of
evidence. To use the death threat as a means to the extortion of evidence that is otherwise not there [why else make such a demand?] is unforgivable and surely must in itself be a crime leave alone sin, of the greatest magnitude. Whether his means justify the end that he seeks are matters that Dato Gani will have to wrestle with within his own conscience.

I have agonized over this machinations of Dato Gani's for the last 10 days. I have known you for close to 26 years. I cannot imagine you condoning such an act. And so this third and final letter on this matter and my decision to let you know what transpired on the afternoon of 2 October 1998. How far into your Chambers the corruption has spread I cannot say but that you will have to stop it goes without saying.

Nallakaruppan does not deserve the charge under the ISA bearing in mind what I have set out above and what is tabulated below. The facts relating to the 125 bullets have been set out in my earlier two letters. In my second letter I mentioned the Samsuri Welch Abdullah charges. I have once researched into the Arms Act prosecutions by your Department over the last few years but because of the constraint of time have only been able to go back till 1993, a period well within your tenure as Attorney-General. I have chronologically listed out below all the cases reported in the local papers that I have been able to locate. All that is important at this juncture is to note that even in matters of far
greater magnitude you have chosen the Arms Act as the vehicle for your prosecutions.

Berita Harian
26 August 1998
[Annexure A]
Samsuri Welch Abdullah
2 pistols of 0.22 calibre & 651 rounds of ammo (95 12 bore, 128 rounds of 0.357 calibre, 376 rounds of 9mm calibre, 34 rounds of 38/357 shotshells and 18 rounds of 0.22 calibre
Arms Act 1960 for the ammo
and 2 pistols.
New Straits Times
14 July 1998 [Annexure B]
Johan Awang Jaafar
1 Norinco pistol and 9 rounds of ammo, unlicensed/no permit ever issued
Arms Act 1960 for the ammo and Firearms (Increased
Penalties) Act 1971 for the pistol
New Straits Times 20 July 1998 [Annexure C] Leong Chee Keong
1 pistol, 1 revolver and 79 rounds of ammo - unlicensed/no permit ever issued
Arms Act 1960 for the ammo and Firearms
(Increased Penalties) Act 1971 for the pistols
New Straits Times 21 March 1998 [Annexure D] Low Tian Leong
1 revolver, 1 pistol, 34 rounds .38 ammo and 58 rounds 9mm ammo - all unlicensed/no permits ever issued
Arms Act 1960 for the ammo
and Firearms (Increased Penalties) Act 1971 for the revolver and the pistol
New Straits Times 5 February 1998 [Annexure E] Vincent Teo
Sale of 5 shotguns to persons who had no permits to buy or possess such firearms
Arms Act 1960. What were the charges against persons who bought and thus possessed firearms without license?
New Straits Times 17 May 1996 [Annexure F] Kiang Nomat & Donald Tuseh Possession of shotguns without license
Arms Act 1960, section 8(a)
New Straits Times 20 April 1996 [Annexure G]
46 firearms surrendered to police to have been improperly obtained
New Straits Times 3 April 1996 [Annexure H] Vincent Teo Soon Tiong
Sale of 23 pistols & 8 shotguns to Datuk Alfred Chin who had no permit to buy them
Arms Act 1960
New Straits Times 11 December 1993 [Annexure I]
American businessman with 124 rounds of .38 ammo Arms Act 1960
(section 8) being considered
The Star
18 April 1990 [Annexure J]
Datuk Ibrahim Johari
1 pistol and 6 rounds of ammo - licensed but license expired
Arms Act 1960, section 8(a)

Samsuri Welch Abdullah had exceptionally large quantities of ammunition that had no relevance to his pistols. Vincent Teo's prosecution listed above ['E' and 'H'] assume even greater significance. He was involved in gun smuggling and the illegal sale and disposal of about 240 guns together with Datuk Alfred Chin (Who was related to a senior police officer), a fact highlighted by the director of the CID, Malaysia in a press release dated 27 May 1996. That is by any stretch of the imagination a colossal amount of firearms, enough to equip a small army. If such a matter only warranted the Arms Act, then surely 125 bullets acquired under a licence where the licence has expired cannot warrant the ISA.

This then makes the last case listed above very relevant to your deliberations. This was an instance where the gun permit had expired and had no been renewed. The charge that was framed against Datuk Johari under section 8(a) was for failing to renew his permit between July 1983 end 27 March 1984 when the gun was found in the Regent Hotel toilet.

In the circumstances I will be grateful if you could give this matter your urgent and personal attention. On the available facts a charge under the Arms Act 1960, as in Datuk Johari's case above, will be the most appropriate and no extraneous matters should be taken into consideration in the framing of the charge. In the event that your direction is favourable, the matter could be called up at short notice, perhaps even before Deepavali, with a view to a prompt and early resolution. This will free the Court of the earlier trial dates fixed and save considerable time and expense all round.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully

Manjeet Singh Dhillon

Manjeet Singh Dhillon's Statutory Declaration
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