May 30, 2009
Banned: First Altantuya, now Perak
by Athi Veeranggan@www.malaysiakini.com
It is clear that any mention of a possible link between Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu can land a person into trouble.
PKR supreme council member and fiery orator Badrul Hisham Shaharin had to spend nearly five hours at the Central Seberang Perai police headquarters yesterday to answer questions over his by-election campaign speech in Penanti on Monday where he mentioned ‘Altantuya’.
Now, however, one cannot also link Najib to the four-month political impasse in Perak or you can be investigated for sedition and criminal defamation.
Senior DAP leader Lim Kit Siang found out about this after a report was made by the police and a statement was taken on the matter .At a 3,000-strong by-election campaign rally in Guar Perahu, Penanti last Sunday, Lim accused Najib of engineering the Perak power grab.
The Ipoh Timur parliamentarian was quizzed by investigating officer ASP Norazizi Saad for nearly an hour from 11.30am today at his house in Island Park, Georgetown. Lim said he was being investigated for sedition and criminal defamation in blaming Najib for the Perak political stalemate. He added that he was being probed following a report lodged by an on-duty police officer at the Sunday rally.
“If I am charged and found guilty, I will be imprisoned … simple as that,” the DAP supremo told a press conference, flanked by his son and Penang Chief Minister Guan Eng, DAP national chairperson Karpal Singh and several DAP local leaders and assemblypersons.
Even Najib’s father did not do this
The senior Lim cautioned that the two-month-old Najib’s premiership was fast descending into a “police state” and into an “era of darkness”. He cited police crackdowns on candlelight vigils, hunger strikes, wearing black, the raid on DAP headquarters, and the harassment of Pakatan Rakyat leaders and social activists to back his claim. Over 160 people have been arrested in the past three weeks.
“This is a serious violation of human rights and civil liberties,” said the veteran opposition leader, the only opposition parliamentarian who has faced off the country’s six prime ministers.
“I don’t blame the police. They are acting on the directives from a higher-up power,” he said, suggesting that the Barisan Nasional government was increasingly spooked by the rapid loss of public confidence. Kit Siang recalled that even Najib’s late father, former premier Abdul Razak bin Hussein, had never investigated him for sedition or criminal defamation despite engaging in many political duels with him back in the 70s.
“We are facing a major political crisis at the same time when the country is facing its biggest economic crisis,” lamented the senior politician. Guan Eng, meanwhile, criticised the police for wasting their resources on petty political issues, and ticked them off for increasingly acting like “bodyguards to BN rather than to the people.”
Like Chegu Bard, as Badrul Hisham is fondly known, Kit Siang was slapped with a police order yesterday under Section 111 of Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) requesting him to be present at the Central Seberang Perai police headquarters this morning. However, the DAP leader had asked Norazizi to record his statement at his Penang home.
Karpal, who was also at the press conference after Kit Siang’s session with the police, slammed the police for applying Section 111 on his DAP colleague. The MP-cum-lawyer said that such an order could only be issued after a witness had failed to turn up at the designated police station to give a statement.
Karpal: Charge Khir Toyo instead
Karpal instead called on the attorney-general to press charges against former Selangor menteri besar Dr Mohd Khir Toyo for taking part in an illegal UMNO Youth rally in Waterfall, Penang on February 13. The demonstration was to include a march from Waterfall to Karpal’s house nearby in Jalan Utama. However, it was called off after police warned UMNO Youth members that severe action would be taken against them.
Mohd Khir and Permatang Pauh UMNO Youth chief Mohd Zaidi were escorted to the Georgeown police headquarters for their statements to be recorded. They were later released. “It was an illegal assembly. Why none of them were charged?” asked Karpal, the Bukit Gelugor MP.
According to Kit Siang, he was approached by police officers at a Pakatan Rakyat rally in Berapit last night where he was informed about the investigation. At the same time, a police order was delivered to his house in Persiaran Besi, Island Park.
Police also served a separate notice to Chegu Bard at his homes in Seremban and Bangi on Thursday when he was in Perak.
During the Guar Perahu ceramah, Kit Siang had condemned the police raid on DAP headquarters in Petaling Jaya as “a shameful incident”, and called on Penanti voters to teach Najib a political lesson.
Pakatan candidate Mansor Othman from PKR is up against three independent candidates – Aminah Abdullah, Kamarul Ramizu Idris and Nai Khan Ari, in Penanti by-election.
Campaigning will end at midnight and polling is tomorrow.