Malaysian Indian lawmaker in trouble with government

May 11th, 2008 - 2:25 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, May 11 (IANS) Malaysian Indian lawyer-lawmaker Karpal Singh has said he fears for his life following the government’s moves to prosecute him for questioning a decision taken by the Sultan of Perak. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has said the case against Singh should be expedited if it was to be brought to the court.

“We leave it to the attorney general to decide if he thinks the case could be brought to the court. I hope it would be done quickly because many people are interested to know the ruling on this case,” Badawi told media, The Sun newspaper said Sunday.

Singh accused Badawi, who had instructed secretary-general of the ruling United Malaysian National Organisation (UMNO) Adnan Mansor to lodge a report against him, of “turning what is purely a legal issue, into a political one with racial undertones”.

A serious confrontation is building up between him and the government after he criticized the Sultan of Perak for stalling the transfer of a high official, who remains in charge of the Islamic religious department.

Following filing of nine reports against him, the police Saturday recorded a statement by Singh, official news agency Bernama said.

He says he stands by his statement questioning Sultan Azlan Shah’s action of stalling the transfer of Jamry Suri.

But he maintains that he has not questioned the royalty’s prerogative. He has only said that it should not get involved in appointment and transfer of officials.

“It has been, and it is my view that the Perak Sultan had no jurisdiction or power to direct the state government to reinstate Jamry who was a state government servant,” he said, adding that he failed to see why there has been such an uproar over what is purely a legal issue.

Singh, 68, who heads the Democratic Action Party (DAP) was reported as saying that Sultan Azlan Shah had no jurisdiction over the transfer of the official, who had been issued a 24-hour transfer order by Perak’s Mentri Besar (chief minister) Mohamad Nizar Jamaluddin April 29.

He warned he would take legal action against the prime minister and deputy PM, Najib Abdul Razak, if they continue making defamatory remarks against him.

“Clearly what I have raised is a purely legal issue and I have in no way questioned the prerogative of the Perak Sultan as head of the religion of Islam in the state as guaranteed in the federal constitution,” he said.

The Bar Council of Malaysia expressed solidarity with Singh, a prominent lawyer, saying it would be wrong to use the sedition charge against him or anyone else for statements critical of the government.

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