COMMENT The scales of justice continue to be tilted against Anwar Ibrahim.
The decision of Parliament's rights and privileges panel to allow a senior executive from Apco Worldwide to testify before it today without allowing Anwar to be present simply adds to the anthology of encumbrances placed before the Opposition Leader in his quest for exoneration.Anwar (right) is being arraigned for allegedly misleading the House last March about Apco's role in the communications strategy of the Najib Razak administration.
He told Parliament that Najib's '1Malaysia' concept was similar to the 'One Israel' concept of the government of Prime Minister Ehud Barak when it was in power in Israel in 1999.
Ordinarily, this sort of equation would not cause any problems.
It would have been no more inflammatory than if then Opposition Leader Lim Kt Siang had said in Parliament in the early 1990s that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed 'Salam Malaysia' concept was a copycat version of US President Kennedy's Peace Corps initiative of the early 1960s.
'Salam Malaysia', akin to Kennedy's Peace Corps, was an attempt to create a coterie of Malaysian experts in various technical fields to work in underdeveloped countries to impart expertise.
One good idea begat an imitation, even if the Malaysian imitator had a liking for strutting on the global stage as an opponent of America's imperialist pretensions.
Viewed as sacrilege
But in largely Muslim Malaysia, ever ready to burnish its Islamic credentials by showing how defiled it would be by even a suspicion of a link to Palestinian-oppressing Israel, any equation between something of supposedly Malaysian vintage with anything of Israeli, or even Jewish, import would be viewed as sacrilege.
"Off to the guillotine" would have to be the punishment for someone with the temerity to make the equation.Anwar faces that metaphorical fate despite having, in a follow-up speech in the same parliamentary session, laid out with documents in support, the substantive basis for the arguments he adduced in his initial attack.
Shedding every jot of malice and tittle of triviality, the MP for Permatang Pauh, in his follow-up foray, assayed in cogent detail why the government should not have hired a communications consultant with Apco's track record of involvement with some of the world's more despicable regimes.
For his pains he was referred, simply by exercise of Barisan Nasional's brute majority, to the privileges panel which has the power to suspend him on a charge of having misled the House.
The decision to refer Anwar was made on mere denial, sans substantiation, of Anwar's case which was the soul of forensic argumentation.Today an Apco equerry is due before the panel to back the charge of willful deception.
The accused is not allowed to be present to see and hear the case adduced against him.
As in his current trial for sodomy, Anwar has to defend himself against a charge some of whose critical details are deliberately elided.
And all are asked to believe that he is being accorded the full panoply of justice!
TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for close on four decades. He likes the occupation because it puts him in contact with the eminent without being under the necessity to admire them.- Malaysiakini, 9/6/2010, Anwar continues to draw short end of straw
Thursday, June 10, 2010
Why can't Anwar Ibrahim be allowed to be present in the proceedings of the Parliament's rights and privileges panel? He is the accused...and naturally justice requires that the accused have access to all proceedings...and certainly be allowed to hear the testimonies of all witnesses. He should also have the right to 'cross-examine' these witnesses, if needed.
At present, a witness can come to the panel and 'lie' - and since the accused person(Anwar) is not there, he may not even be able to inform the panel about the lies, and this panel will be deceived by lying witnesses. How sad?
Are these proceedings closed? It should never be - it should be open to the public.
Even, if the trial (proceedings) are to be closed to the public...for some 'special reason' - then too, the accused person shall have the right to be present.
Looks like this 'trial" before the Parliament's rights and privileges panel is worse than ESCAR proceedings. [ESCAR - Essential (Security Cases) Regulations 1975]
Where is the transparency? Are the records of these proceedings 'secret' and inaccessible to members of the public?
I wonder whether this is the existing rules and regulations that governs the proceedings of this panel. I wonder whether similar rules are there in the various State Legislative Assemblies. If yes, then urgent amendments to these draconian unjust rules are needed. Some MP/ADUN must table a Bill to change these rules & procedures so that it is just, fair, open and transparent