09 May, 2008

Karpal Singh faces sedition probe.

Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Raja Kamarudin who was released on bail Friday said that he did not go on “hunger strike” in prison, but claimed that the prison authorities told him that they could not "guarantee his safety" in the Sungai Buloh prison.

Chief Insp Azilah Hadri and Cpl Sirul Azhar Umar, who are now being tried for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, are also being incarcerated in the same prison. Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with abetting them, is being remanded there as well.

“So anyhow, they saw me and they shouted at me and the prison guards were very worried, and they even shouted at the prison guard." said RPK.

He claimed the prison guards told him: “So please, get out la, kita tak boleh tidur la (we won’t be able to sleep) because we have to watch out for you.”

Meanwhile, Karpal Singh, chairman of the Democratic Action Party, sparked an uproar when he claimed earlier this week that Sultan Azlan Shah, the titular head of northern Perak state, acted beyond his authority by interfering with the firing of a religious official.

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said late Thursday police should investigate Karpal for making comments that upset many people and were "seditious and insulting" to the sultan.

"I stand by what I have said," Karpal told The Associated Press. "What I've said is purely a legal matter."

Karpal claims Azlan had no right to recently reinstate a state religious department chief who was fired by an opposition alliance that wrested control of Perak and four other states in March general elections.

In more than 30 years of politics, Karpal Singh, the veteran DAP chairman and Bukit Gelugor MP, has made stridency and sharpness of his legal knowledge a trademark of his political battles.

But his comments this week about the Perak Sultan, which some say is an insult to Malaysia’s revered royalty but others call a valid point, is forcing DAP’s partners to deal with something they would rather not handle as they try to forge a coalition solid enough to take power.

Crucially, Umno will take advantage and attempt to use the issue to drive a wedge between the secular DAP and its fundamentalist partners in Pakatan Rakyat.

And even now that Umno has instigated a police investigation against him for sedition, Karpal Singh is standing his ground.

As far as Umno is concerned, when Karpal Singh questioned the sultan’s powers he was questioning Malay rights.

Umno appears to be exploiting the issue to not just cause a split among their rivals, but to actually try to unite Malays behind the party.

“What should be remembered is that Umno members in Terengganu supporting Datuk Idris Jusoh carried banners which were far more insulting of the sultan. So why the double standard?” a senior DAP official told The Malaysian Insider.

Not very long ago, in Bolehland :

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi stood by the choice of Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as Terengganu menteri besar.

The Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president said the majority of BN Terengganu elected representatives supported Idris.

"Therefore, any appointment other than his is against the Constitution and not valid."

Abdullah was referring to the appointment of Kijal state assemblyman Datuk Ahmad Said as menteri besar.

The office of the Sultan of Terengganu had named Ahmad as the new menteri besar despite objections from 22 assemblymen, who wanted Idris to be re-appointed.

The appointment of anyone but Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh as Terengganu Mentri Besar is unconstitutional, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Therefore, appointing anyone else is not right constitutionally,” he said.

Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam, met outside Seri Perdana, said Abdullah and Najib had given their support for Idris to be the Mentri Besar.

He said it was the decision of the party that won the majority in the state assembly to select the Mentri Besar and the Ruler had to abide by it according to the Constitution.

“The palace has to accept Barisan Nasional's decision as it is in accordance with our constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democratic system,” he said.



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