(Petaling Jaya, Friday): Foreign Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi said yesterday that the government has decided not to prosecute former Penang UMNO Youth chief Dr. Abdul Rahim Ghouse, former UMNO youth assistant secretary Saifuddin Nasution and former political secretary to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Ezam Mohd Noor because they have not broken any Malaysian law by making statements criticising the government from abroad since Anwar’s sacking on Sept. 2.
I find such a statement surprising, as it should more appropriately emanate from the Attorney-General’s Chambers, as the constitutional duties to initiate, conduct or discotinue criminal proceedings comes under the Attorney-General and have never been exercised by the Foreign Ministry.
In any event, although the government says that the former UMNO trio would not be prosecuted, could it give a categorical assurance that they would not be detained under the Internal Security Act when they return home?
Although Badawi criticised the two American congressmen, Ben Gillman
and Doug Bereuter, who had called for a change in the APEC venue, for making
"self-righteous, insensitive and arrogant" remarks about human rights in
Malaysia, the Foreign Ministry should formally present a special report
to the Cabinet about increasing international concerns about human rights
violations in the country and the need for the government to repair the
enormous damage that has been done to the human rights image of Malaysia
in the past two months by making three proposals: