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Media Conference Statement by Lim Kit Siang in Parit Raja, Johore after visiting Teoh Beng Hock junior, Teoh Er Jia on Thursday, 25th February 2010: 


Government should stop waste of public funds which end up in greater national embarrassments like the “strangest” cloak-and-dagger CSIS seminar featuring Nazri in Washington yesterday

Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Anifah Aman should give an assurance that the government would stop waste of public funds which end up in greater national embarrassments like the “strangest” cloak-and-dagger Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) seminar “Governance and Rule of Law in Malaysia” featuring the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz in Washington yesterday.

I agree with the former United States Ambassador to Malaysia John R Mallot who had described the seminar as the “strangest” he had attended in Washington DC. The reasons for such an appellation would include:

(1) Seminar Panellists – Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and former Chief Justice and now head of Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) advisory panel Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad who were billed to appear with Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz never showed up. Nazri told the seminar he did not know where the two were in Washington.

The presence of the Abdul Gani and Hamid would have reinforced criticisms of the lack of progress in judicial and institutional reforms to restore international confidence in the independence and integrity of key national institutions. This is why I had publicly gone on record to criticize Abdul Gani’s participation at the CSIS seminar as his first duty is to carry out the duties of the Attorney-General independently and professionally to ensure national and international confidence in the administration of justice rather than to join in government’s international roadshows to win foreign hearts and minds that there is the just rule of law and a truly independent judiciary in Malaysia.

(2) Seminar pronounced “off the record” – The last-minute conversion of the CSIS seminar into an “off-the-record” session gave it a cloak-and-dagger character that what Nazri said in his speech and Q & A cannot stand public and international scrutiny. Mallot said that it was “unusual” for the session to be off-the-record, which is “very rare for a Washington think-tank”.

(3) The two hour seminar was cut short by one-third of the time – starting 10 minutes late and ending 30 minutes earlier.

(4) Dismal crowd – one account put it as about 40 people.

Has the Malaysian government achieved its purpose in the CSIS seminar in convincing Washington opinion about the justice, propriety and justification for the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy2 prosecution and persecution?

From all accounts, the answer must be an unequivocal “No”. The “strangest” cloak-and-dagger CSIS seminar in Washington is not coup for the new Malaysian Ambassador to Washington, Jamaluddin Jarjis but a major blot in his record book.

The Najib government should learn from the embarrassment and ignominy of the “strangest” cloak-and-dagger CSIS seminar in Washington yesterday – that the only way for Malaysia to escape the international opprobrium and condemnation for the Anwar Sodomy2 trial is to drop the charges against the Parliamentary Opposition Leader and Prime Minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor



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