25 June 2019, Tuesday | 05:26pm

Musa Aman: Denial of passport akin to presumption of guilt


KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman is disappointed with the High Court's decision to reverse the Sessions Court order to allow him access to his passport, saying this denies him continued medical treatment overseas.

Musa, who faces charges of corruption during his tenure as chief minister, claimed the decision was akin to presuming that he was guilty of the offences.

The Sungai Sibuga assemblyman has maintained his innocence in relation to the graft allegations.

"It is a fundamental aspect of the criminal justice system that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

"In this respect, I cannot help but feel that I have been presumed guilty until proven otherwise.

"My application to continue my medical treatment is a case in point," he said in a statement on Wednesday (Jan 16).

Musa said his medical treatment started in the United Kingdom last year as a follow-up to the treatment with his doctor of choice in Singapore, who has treated him for more than 22 years.

"This was allowed by the Sessions Court judge earlier who understood the merits of my request but unfortunately on revision, the High Court judge denied it. Surely, this should not and cannot be the right position.

"I have always put my trust in the rule of law, and I believe that no one should be deprived of the right to seek and continue medical treatment by the doctor of his choice, especially when treatment has started and it does not interfere with the court proceedings," he added.

Musa, who returned to the country last August after going missing for three months, said the issue of running away or evading the authorities should not arise at all as he had returned against his doctor's advice to assist the authorities, as well as perform his duties as an assemblyman.

"To date, I have given my full cooperation and informed the authorities, including the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), even whilst I was abroad seeking medical treatment and immediately upon returning to the country.

"Clearly, I am not a flight risk.

"I have legitimate reasons to continue seeking treatment, which had to be put on hold because of my decision to return to Malaysia," he explained.

Musa said he would have to notify his doctors in the UK and Singapore of this development and would seek their advice, as well as consult his lawyers on the next course of action.

"I respect the decision of the court but I am disappointed nevertheless," he noted.

High Court judge Justice Mohamed Zaini Mazlan allowed the prosecution’s review application against the Sessions Court’s decision on Jan 7, and barred Musa from flying abroad.

He said while it was undisputed that Musa was suffering from ailments that were coronary in nature, the issue at hand was whether he should be given the liberty to seek further treatment and tests abroad.

Justice Mohamed Zaini added that there was no suggestion, however, by the accused that he could only be treated in Singapore and the UK.

He also said the fact that the lower court ordered Musa’s passport to be surrendered meant he was a flight risk and there was a need to curtail his freedom of movement to travel abroad.

On Nov 5 last year, Musa claimed trial to 35 counts of graft amounting to US$63mil (around RM243mil) relating to timber concessions in Sabah.

The offences were allegedly committed between Dec 24, 2004 and Nov 6, 2008.




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