Media Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Petaling Jaya on Saturday, 10th May 2008:
Abdullah setting bad and dangerous precedent in publicly pressurizing
Attorney-General to charge Karpal for sedition and turn a legal issue
into a political and racial one
The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi is setting a bad
and dangerous precedent in publicly pressurizing the Attorney-General,
Tan Sri Gani Patail to charge DAP National Chairman and MP for Bukit
Gelugor, Karpal Singh for sedition and turn a legal issue into a
political and racial one.
This is the first time in 50 years that a Prime Minister had so
flagrantly and blatantly put public pressure on the Attorney-General to
prosecute an Opposition leader, making a total mockery of the absolute
discretion of the Attorney-General as entrenched in Article 145(3) of
the Constitution “to institute, conduct or discontinue any proceedings
for an offence, other than proceedings before a Syariah Court, a native
court or a court-martial”.
On Thursday, Abdullah said he had instructed UMNO secretary-general
Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor to lodge a police report against
Karpal for making allegedly seditious remarks about the Sultan of Perak
when Karpal had reiterated publicly that he had not questioned Sultan
Azlan Shah’s prerogatives as the state’s head of religion of Islam.
Yesterday, the Prime Minister has upped the ante by publicly demanding
that the Attorney-General to speed up the probe against Karpal.
Abdullah has never shown interest or concern as Prime Minister about
high-profile cases, whether police reports previously made against
Cabinet Ministers or recently against UMNO for the series of seditious
conducts against the Malay Rulers after the March 8 general election
over the appointment of the Terengganu Mentri Besar.
Abdullah should have used his high office to end the controversy which
arose from the distortion of Karpal’s raising of a legal principle
established by the case of Federal Territory Education Director and
others vs Loot Ting Yee about the transfer of federal and state civil
servants into a challenge of the prerogative of Sultan Azlan Shah over
matters pertaining to Islam and Malay custom.
The country is trying to come out of the “judicial darkness” which it
had been plunged into for two decades as a result of the series of
crises of confidence and credibility in the independence, impartiality
and integrity of the system of justice – not just about the judiciary
but also other important players especially the Attorney-General.
The Prime Minister’s public and persistent demand for action to be taken
against Karpal by the Attorney-General does not create confidence that
the present administration is fully committed to end the two-decade-long
“judicial darkness” in the country by allowing all the major
stakeholders in the system of justice their full and unfettered
independence and impartiality - whether judges or the Attorney-General.
Kit Siang, DAP Central Policy and Strategic
Planning Commission Chairman & MP for Ipoh Timor