(The Star) KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Commission of Inquiry has barred Parti Keadilan
Rakyat (PKR) adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Aliran from
participating in the proceedings after they refused to retract their
seemingly contemptuous online statements or apologise.
Commission member Tan Sri Steve Shim ruled that the panel had only
forfeited the duo’s right to join in the inquiry because they have not
been cited for contempt yet.
“However, we think that there is disrespect. We, however, will reserve
whatever penal consequences to be taken later,” said Shim.
Robert Lazar, counsel for the Malaysian Bar, then pointed out that
there were proper punishments under the Commission of Inquiry Act for
contempt and the duo should be sentenced accordingly instead of their
rights being forfeited.
This prompted another commissioner Datuk Mahadev Shankar to say: “When
the person has impugned the very basis on which this commission is
acting, what more right has he?
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Lazar: If that is the case, then they should have the courage to voluntarily not participate.
We are dealing with people who don’t seem to understand the ruling that
we’re making. We’re not going to change the ruling until they make
amends (to their statements).
On Monday, counsel for the two
conveyed to the commission that their clients had refused to apologise
for their “verge of contempt” online articles.
The articles are titled “Lingam Inquiry: Aliran is Shocked and Devastated” and “Unseen Hand Manipulating the Inquiry”.
The first article claimed that the commission had an ulterior motive in
not calling Anwar, PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa and party coordinator
Sim Tze Tsin as witnesses in the inquiry.
The second article quoted Anwar on the reasons why he, Sivarasa and Sim were not called.