Bullet, death threat delivered to Malaysian Indian leader

May 21st, 2008 - 1:44 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 21 (IANS) A bullet and a note threatening death have been delivered to Malaysian Indian lawyer-lawmaker Karpal Singh warning him against questioning the special rights and privileges of the majority Malays and the country’s royalty. Saying that this was a serious threat to his life, a wheelchair-bound Singh, 68, lodged a police report Tuesday evening, The Sun newspaper said.

Flanked by his son Gobind Singh Deo and two other parliamentarians, Singh, who is chairman of the opposition Democratic Action party (DAP), told the media that the typed note and cartridge came in an envelope hand-delivered by a man to his staff in his office.

He said the man, who wore a helmet with a visor covering his face, hurriedly left the office and sped off on a motorcycle after handing over the envelope.

Karpal Singh, who was at home at the time, said a member of his staff opened the envelope and a bullet fell out. After reading the note, she immediately called to inform him.

The note which he showed reporters read: “Don’t you try to question the privileges of the Malays. Don’t you try to question the powers of the Malay Rulers. If you do not stop, this bullet will be embedded on your forehead. Remember this Bengali! Do not forget! This is your first warning!!!!.”

Sikhs in Malaysia are mistakenly referred to as Bengalis.

Singh has been in the midst of a controversy since he criticised the sultan of Perak for blocking the transfer of a high state government official.

He has been charged with sedition and 22 police reports have been filed against him. Perak state’s chief Muslim clergy has said that Singh’s criticism of the sultan, who is the religious head as well, was tantamount to ‘insulting’ Islam.

Singh has denied insulting the religion or the sultan, or questioning his privileges.

He has stood by his statement that a constitutional head should not get involved in postings and transfers of officials.

A youth posted a death threat to Singh on the DAP website last month. He was caught and let off after he apologised.

Asked if the incident was politically motivated, Singh replied: “I do not know but it appears to be so from the note”.

Singh has said that his “purely legal” argument has been deliberately given a political twist and blames Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for it.

It was not the first time that Singh had received such a threat. In 1981, a M-16 assault rifle cartridge was hurled into his Penang house as a threat.

“I have received many kinds of threats in the past and did not think much of it but this one with a live cartridge needs to be viewed seriously.”

He added that he was considering installing a closed-circuit television camera system in his office as part of beefing up security in the place.

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