Anwar to answer APCO-Israel charges on June 8

KUALA LUMPUR, May 17 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will face the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges committee on June 8 over his attack on APCO Worldwide and claims that the government's public relations consultants were also the brains behind Ehud Barak’s One Israel campaign.

DAP Bukit Gelugor MP Karpal Singh said today that Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz will be the committee’s second witnesses.

“Well, the discussion was more on the procedure on how do we go about it and prepare on which witnesses to be called. The first witness that will be called will be Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the 8th of June.

“The next day will be (Datuk Seri) Nazri and later we will figure it as we go along. It will depend very much on Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s evidence which will indicate the witness he may want to call,” he told reporters in Parliament after the panel's meeting today.

The parliamentary committee had its first meeting today and was chaired by Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia. However the Speaker refused to give any comments because “the investigation was still ongoing.”

The remaining committee members are deputy Speaker Datuk Ronald Kiandee, Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn (BN-Alor Gajah), Datuk Razali Ibrahim (BN-Muar), Nancy Shukri (BN-Batang Sadong), R. Sivarasa (PKR-Subang) and Karpal Singh (DAP-Bukit Gelugor).

“Yes, he will be called on June 8th during the Parliamentary session. The committee will meet after question hour. I think for the moment that is the position and I think the person should be given the opportunity to call the witnesses if he wants to.

Karpal said that this investigation is very important because Anwar’s political career was at stake.

“In fact, I have told the committee that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be asked now the witnesses that he wants to be called. But other members feel that let him stand and during the course, if he wants to call witnesses. However that does not mean that he will be allowed to automatically call witnesses that he wants. It will depend on the committee.

“I think it is a very serious sort of matter because his entire political career is at stake because the powers given to the privileges committee is very wide. But then the privileges committee makes recommendations and the house will decide in the end but unfortunately, the House will give it a stamp of approval. It very much depends on what goes on here,” he said.

He also stressed that Anwar must be given the chance to defend himself.

“We're in the committee now. Of course once the recommendation is made to the House, there will be still a debate to accept the recommendations. It's not automatic. The findings made by the committee will of course be bearing on the decisions to be made but ultimately the House decides. The House is the one who in fact referred him to the Committee of Privileges.

“The committee of privileges will now make recommendations. In fact I made it very clear that he should be given every opportunity to clear himself. Guilt must be proven and not only sentenced. The manner in which the motion is worded appears as if it is the sentence in which to sort of decide upon ...is not true. I made it very clear that Anwar ought to be given every opportunity to defend himself,” he said.

Anwar was referred to the Rights and Privileges committee during the last session of the previous parliamentary sitting. - The Malaysian Insider

18/05/10

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