Rohaizat: victim, villain or hero?

by Eyes Wide Open

Permatang Pasir was touted as UMNO’s comeback to prove that it is regaining its popularity. However that plan hit a snag when it news started leaking out that UMNO candidate Rohaizat Othman had been disbarred for failing to return a sizeable deposit to his clients.

The various news reports since have seen both sides trying their darndest to either paint him as a victim, villain and even a hero! Well, which is he?

On August 18th (the day after nomination day) The Star reported:

“Barisan Nasional’s “young” candidate for Permatang Pasir, Rohaizat Othman, 38, will be able to serve the people well given his strong background, said Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.”

By that time, there was already speculation on the internet whether Rohaizat was the one and same as the one who was disbarred. However, the Star merely alluded to this fact in a roundabout way and in one sentence:

“certain quarters had raised the candidate’s eligibility as a lawyer after he encountered problems with the Bar Council.

Hmm…quite an interesting way to describe being found guilty of unethical behaviour that deserved being stripped of his rights to practice law isn’t it? Anyway, as it became clear that Rohaizat was indeed disbarred for failing to return a RM161,000 deposit from a failed transaction, the spin machine went into overdrive.

Rohaizat was vigorously endorsed by UMNO VP Zahid Hamidi who heaped accolades on him. Bernama quotes him as saying:

“To us, he (Rohaizat) is our best candidate for the by-election. Yesterday, during the nomination of candidates, he brought along his parents and wife. It shows he’s a good son who’s always supported and blessed by his family.”

The Malaysian Mirror carried the report that UMNO was trying to clean up Rohaizat’s image by trying to paint him as a VICTIM of circumstances:

“Umno information chief Ahmad Maslan attempted to salvage a plus for his party’s candidate by explaining that Rohaizat was not involved in any land transaction handled by his legal firm partner on behalf of Koperasi Pekebun Getah Negeri Pulau Pinang Berhad.

Instead, he said, Rohaizat became a victim of circumstances after the partner left the law firm and he had to bear the burden of resolving problems arising from the transaction, according to a Bernama report.

He said, in 2002, the cooperative had hired Messrs Saif Ariff T.Jayaraj & Rohaizat to represent it in a property purchase in Penang.

He said the cooperative handed over the money for the purchase to the law firm but later the transaction had to be cancelled.

“At all material times, the transaction was handled by the partner who had been with the firm from 1999 to 2003,” said Ahmad.

He added that the money paid by the cooperative was received exclusively by the partner, who was handling the client’s accounts at all material times.

“Rohaizat’s partner was the authorised signatory for the accounts and Rohaizat had no involvement or knowledge about the property transcation,” he said.

Ahmad said at the time the cooperative lodged a complaint with the Bar Council’s disciplinary board over the transaction, Rohaizad’s partner had already left the firm and he (Rohaizat) was named as the respondent in the complaint, making him a victim of circumstances.”

But George Varughese, Secretary of the Malaysian Bar Council put paid this defense by clarifying that:

“The Advocates and Solicitors Disciplinary Board struck Rohaizat Othman off the Roll of Advocates and Solicitors on 7 March 2008 after he was found guilty of misconduct. The Disciplinary Board’s decision arose from an investigation into the complaint lodged against Rohaizat Othman by the purchaser of a piece of real property. According to the complaint, Rohaizat Othman failed to refund almost RM 161,000 to the complainant after the transaction was aborted.

Rohaizat Othman appealed against the decision of the Disciplinary Board to the High Court, and the appeal was dismissed on 12 August 2009. He is therefore legally disqualified from practising as an advocate and solicitor.”

The final nail to be hammered into the UMNO campaign’s coffin must surely be the final line in Mr Varughese’s letter:

“The finding of misconduct is personal to Rohaizat Othman, as the Disciplinary Board would not hold a lawyer liable for the actions of his/her law partner(s).”

But UMNO was not going to give up that easily. In a press conference, Rohaizat’s team implied that the Bar Council doesn’t know what it’s doing (at best) and that it was practising selective persecution (at worst). As reported in the Malaysian Insider:

“(Rohaizat) was not allowed to explain himself before the disciplinary committee.

Rohaizat had attended the disciplinary hearing the first time but they only had time to question a representative from the co-operative, said Ahmad. Rohaizat supposedly fell sick on the day he was supposed to cross examine the representative from the co-operative and give an explanation to the committee. He was subsequently disbarred.

A settlement was reached between Rohaizat and the co-operative after the body was reimbursed by the former and its chairman wrote a letter to the committee appealing for the former’s disbarment to be overturned but there was no reply. Copies of the letter were distibuted to the media.”

Well, even this report by Bernama is highly doubtful. Fellow HartalMSMer Shar101 has got a copy of Rohaizat’s MC that allegedly proves that he was really sick for the Sept 14 (second) hearing. Unfortunately, the MC was dated November 14. How to explain the discrepancy? Well maybe Rohaizat was driving around in Doc Brown’s DeLorean and got the flux capacitor in a jam?

Yesterday, amidst more revelations that Rohaizat had been fined TWICE by the Bar Council and was the subject of several complaints, the Malaysian Insider reported that Muhyiddin dismissed them as petty issues, akin to parking tickets. Our DPM even went so far to say that the Malaysian Bar Council is being used by “certain quarters” to fulfill “some agenda”.

So, UMNO is really selling the story that Rohaizat was a VICTIM of the Bar Council AND the High Court! And he’s not just a victim of circumstances, but a victim of an insidious plot by certain parties against certain parties. Just who are these bogeymen anyway? Can we know? Muhyiddin’s ominous warning of a secret agenda by certain parties is typical propaganda sleight-of-hand: attempt to distract attention from the real issue by shifting blame onto unknown enemies. Unfortunately, with the worms all wriggling out of the can, propaganda isn’t going to salvage the situation.

Anyway, the DPM’s whole conspiracy theory excuse is extremely lame and desperate as the High Court had already dismissed Rohaizat’s appeal against the Bar Council’s decision on August 12 – 5 days BEFORE Rohaizat’s nomination. So how is it possible to hatch a conspiracy to destroy the candidate before the candidate is announced?

Unless, the High Court judge and some Bar Council members “borrowed” Doc Brown’s Delorean from Rohaizat for a ride?

Anyway… portraying Rohaizat’s misdeeds as the VICTIM is apparently not good enough! Someone decided that voters were not going to elect someone simply because they were “victimised”. So now the story has been changed to present Rohaizat as a HERO! The Malaysian Insider reports:

“So he is actually a hero. He saved his firm.This is the quality of a good leader and it should be admired instead of being chided,” Ahmad (Umno and BN information chief) added. Also present was Penang Umno deputy chairman Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman.

Surprisingly, although this whole issue revolved around Rohaizat, he had nothing to say throughout that PC. All questions were fielded by his handlers, and all statements and explanations were volunteered by them too. It’s funny because wouldn’t ROHAIZAT himself be the most familiar with the case – it’s HIS law firm, it’s HIS client, it’s HIS name on the complaint documents, it’s HIS name that was disbarred. Surprisingly, he only spoke up once during the entire PC in response to a reporter’s question why no police report or legal action had been taken against his partner. He answered with a terse: “That is up to me!”

What’s wrong? Isn’t the “ultimate righteous hero” fit to speak for himself?

But amidst all the defensiveness, the real question of Rohaizat’s candidacy seems to have been forgotten. And prominent blogger Zorro wrote to remind the public on his blog:

“UMNO is still on the issue that its candidate despite being disbarred is a very enthusiastic character. Since when did enthusiasm become a top criteria in the choice of candidate. Me, I have encountered an a handful of enthusiastic serial-womaniser, an enthusiastic kleptomaniac, an enthusiast conman, an enthusiastic this and that, good and bad, ad infinitum.”

Whether the matter of the deposit was settled amicably or not, the fact of the matter is the Bar Council and the High Court found ROHAIZAT guilty of misconduct in the matter and that led to his disbarment. And THAT is enough grounds to NOT be contesting.

Even UMNO veteran YM Ku Li finds the candidate questionable, writing in his blog:

“Is Umno so short of people that we have to find a lawyer disbarred for financial dishonesty to stand?”

“I don’t know Rohaizat. He may be a fine upstanding citizen. But his public record of dishonesty would have disqualified him from being a candidate for public office in any normal political party.”

“Whatever the other virtues of the candidate, he should not be considered if he fails this test.”

If UMNO and Rohaizat has some irrefutable proof of his innocence and the Bar Council’s secret agenda in collusion with unknown conspirators, perhaps they should accept PAS vice-president Salahuddin Ayub’s challenge to a debate to clear the air once and for all.

9 Responses to “Rohaizat: victim, villain or hero?”
  1. MarGeeMar says:

    If Rohaizat is the best i.e. ‘clean’ candidate Umno has to offer, then you can just imagine what the rest of Umno is like.

  2. shar101 says:

    Yusri Ishak, RO’s former partner emerges –

    Heads will fall in UMNO, I reckon.

  3. amcoi says:

    Villain or Hero ?

    Votes will tell and from there we know well where
    this nation is leading to.We learn day by day in this
    wonderful boleh -land consoling ourself by–
    Hope for the best and Prepare for the worst.

    This too apply in my daily life.

  4. esse says:

    lol with tears – best made-in-Malaysia soap opera script ever! Unbelievable twists n turns in convoluted plot to be continued next episode which is not next week but next day, nay next hour!! Stay tuned!

  5. wandererAUS says:

    He is just a small crook in the company of BIG BIG crooks in UMNO, so to these ARROGANT UMNO swines, what’s the problem? THEY HAVE ALL THE TAINTED INSTITUTIONS BOUGHT, LOCK, STOCK AND BARREL!
    Since when morality, integrity and dignity are highly treasured in “UNITED MURDERERS NATIONAL ORGANIZATION”

  6. augustine says:

    If his partner is handling the case, then go after him and asked him to clarify about the utmost issue. The voters are not stupid. The Bar Secretary said that he is guilty of misconduct so what. Don’t blame PK for playing up this hot issue. As Ku Li said no other better candidate. That is clearly what malay proverb said “Pandai2 tupai menlompat akhirnya semua peminpin UNMO kena tipu Si-Rohaizat.

  7. jungleboy says:

    As usual, UMNO’s lies- spinning machine at full throttle

  8. macbeth says:

    egged by Lady Macbeth to do the unthinkable, Macbeth looked at his hands and declared water would not wash away the colour on his hands. Macbeth was King thereafter and suffered from his misdeed. This write up by Eyes Wide Open is as clear as daylight.

  9. StevenO says:

    Actually this is a clear case of internal sabotage with Muhyiddin too impatient to sit on Najis chair.

    Najis needed a win desperately but he’s not going to get it. Muhyiddin is going to fcuk him up big time.

    That guy Muhyiddin has a habit of stabbing his boss to advnace his own position, so it should not come as a surprise that his screwing Najis as we chat.

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