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Press Statement (2) by Charles Santiago in Parliament on Tuesday, 17thMarch 2009:

Najib should focus on the economy and not political persecution

First Gobind Singh Deo was suspended from Parliament for one year. Then veteran politician Karpal Singh was slapped with a sedition charge for his threat to sue the Perak ruler over the constitutional crisis in the northern state of Perak.

It is clear that both the prominent lawmakers and my DAP colleagues have been targeted for political persecution.

The suspension against Gobind is an abuse of power by the ruling Barisan Nasional. It was brought about as a result of him questioning the link between Prime Minister in Waiting Najib Tun Razak and the lurid murder of a Mongolian woman.

But, he had raised what is lingering in the mind of most Malaysians.

Karpal's sedition charge, on the other hand, hints that the royalty is above the law. As a seasoned lawyer, Karpal had only pointed out that the Perak sultan could be sued over the fall of the Pakatan Rakyat-led government in the silver state.

Karpal had echoed the sentiments of most Malaysians who are aware of the coup orchestrated by Najib to topple opposition rule in Perak as he prepares to take over the top job at the end of March.

Both the suspension and sedition charge clearly indicate a disturbing sign of intolerance as Najib gears up for UMNO's internal elections which would entrench his position as the country's next premier.

But Najib must be reminded that he is set to take over the leadership of the country when Malaysia is faced with the worst possible recession since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

The RM 60 billion stimulus package announced by Najib last week needs to indicate more on how the funds would be disbursed to effectively bolster the economy.

Therefore, I urge the in-coming premier to stop the power chase and instead concentrate on the setting-up of a Parliamentary select committee that reports periodically to Parliament and a dedicated website informing all Malaysians on how, when and where the funds are being spent.

* Charles Santiago, DAP Selangor Vice Chairman & MP for Klang



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