(Kuala Lumpur, Friday): The Berita Harian has been most mischievous and irresponsible in the past three days, misusing its important press position to misrepresent and mislead its readers about Guan Eng’s prison conditions, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Fact-Finding Mission Report to Malaysia on Guan Eng’s case and the resolution of the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians in Geneva on 1-4 February 1999.
It has even dragged in the Acting UMNO Youth Leader, Datuk Hishammuddin Hussein, making him behave as foolishly as the Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadhir and I will expose Berita Harian’s most irresponsible brand of journalism in a media conference tomorrow.
However, I welcome the announcement by Hisammuddin that UMNO Youth will conduct a full-length investigation into the prison conditions to ascertain whether they conform with the United Nations’ minimum standards for the treatment of prisoners, and I hope UMNO Youth would be serious about this.
What is most important, however, is for the Prisons Director-General, Datuk Omar Mohamad Dan, to explain why he misled the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister as to cause Datuk Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to give a misleading and untrue briefing about the prison conditions of DAP Deputy Secretary-General and MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Guan Eng, to local press chiefs on Tuesday.
For instance, Abdullah told the local press chiefs that Guan Eng was allowed two family visits a week and that during the Chinese New Year visit, Guan Eng’s family could see him face-to-face without being separated by a glass barrier, implying that Guan Eng’s three children could touch and embrace their father for the first time in six months since Guan Eng was jailed in Kajang Prison.
Both these facts are not true.
It is fortunate that Abdullah is more worldly-wise and did not make such statements in public, or he would be put in the same position as his Deputy Home Minister, Datuk Abdul Kadir Sheik Fadzir, who have now even to face a RM250 million defamation suit.