Rights group concerned MACC refusing legal counsel for those being questioned

PETALING JAYA: Civil rights group Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) expresses concerns over the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) refusal of legal counsel for those called in for questioning or interrogation.

"Lawyers are not allowed to be present when their clients' statements were recorded by MACC.

"The MACC officers said that if lawyers insist on accompanying their clients, they would have to give a statement too," said LFL director Zaid Malek in a press statement issued after it received several complaints about MACC’s refusal.

"Lawyers and suspects were also told that this was a conflict of interest and would render lawyers unable to further represent their client in the case.

"This is an obvious and unacceptable tactic by the MACC to hinder lawyers from their duties," he said.

The right to legal counsel is a constitutional right protected under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution, he explained, and enforcement authorities must not disregard it.

Zaid added that other enforcement authorities, such as the police and the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) do not bar legal representation during questioning.

He also noted that MACC had made exceptions in the past, with former premiers Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin allowed to have their lawyers present while their statements were recorded.

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