I read with particular interest a report by the Malaysian Insider that the AG was ready to declassify documents which are now classified as official secrets under the Official Secrets Act in the Tun Ling Liong Sik's prosecution.
The AG was quoted as saying, "I have no problems. I will provide the documents." The reason for doing so, according to the report is, "we have an understanding...that this will be sorted before the trial proper starts."
The report continues to say that "the top government lawyer said he was doing it to ensure the trial would run smoothly."
Tun Ling is charged under section 418 of the Penal Code. That charge, upon conviction, carries a sentence of imprisonment of up to seven years or a fine, or both.
It is good to see the AG willingly disclosing all documents to the defence for once. In this case, those documents are deemed so important to the nation, so much so they were categorised as official secrets. The disclosure of these documents may even affect national security. That is why they are so categorised.
However, in order for the court to arrive at a fair and just decision, the truth must come out. It is therefore only fair for the AG to declassify the documents so that the trial will run smoothly (as the AG is quoted to have said) and also to enable the defence team to prepare its defence properly.
The willingness and the speed by which the AG agrees to declassify the documents and is releasing the same to the defence is however a far cry from the Sodomy 2 case, where the AG is unwilling to even release medical notes and reports to the defence team.
The medical notes and reports are personal in nature. They are not categorised as official secrets. They are just about the accuser's rectum, what it contains and how the rectum looks like. To put it bluntly, those reports and notes are about, well, to be crass, they are about a person's ass. Nothing more.
These documents are essential to the defence. They will serve to justify and verify the truth and accuracy of what the various medical doctors are saying in their testimony. The disclosure of these documents will no doubt ensure justice and fairness.
It will reveal the naked truth.
However, the almost belligerent unwillingness to disclose those documents to the defence in the Sodomy 2 case is surprising, especially when viewed against the almost voluntary co-operation to disclose official secret documents by the AG in Tun Ling's case.
Tun Ling is facing, at the most, a 7 year sentence and yet documents deemed to be official secrets of the nation are easily and promptly released. Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Anwar is staring at a 20 year sentence and yet, personal notes and reports of doctors in respect of a certain part of the anatomy of the accuser are being withheld as if their disclosure would cause Armageddon and the whole mankind might be wiped out upon their disclosure.
Why, may I ask, the difference in treatment of the two cases in so far as disclosure of documents are concerned?