I call on the new Attorney-General, Datuk Ainum Mohamed Saaid to withdraw the sedition charge against Karpal, as it marked a major assault on the rule of law in attacking the independence and immunity of lawyers in court and has caused alarm not only in the legal community but among international jurists as well.
Malaysia has sufficient notoriety in having her Prime Minister being named for three consecutive years among the top ten “Enemies of the Press” and we should not try to earn a place in any international ten top “Enemies of the Rule of Law”.
Another reason for Ainum to withdraw the sedition charge against Karpal is to end the history of confrontation between her Chambers under her predecessor with defenders of the rule of law and human rights activists and start a new chapter in the relations between the Attorney-General’s Chambers with the Bar, based on mutual respect and appreciation of each other’s contribution to the just rule of law.
The arrest and prosecution of Karpal for his court defence of Anwar Ibrahim on Sept. 10, 1999 on sodomy trial relating to the allegation of arsenic poisoning is most outrageous, firstly, after the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad had conceded in October 1999 that Karpal enjoyed immunity for what he had said in court in his capacity as defence counsel for Anwar and secondly, after Mahathir public statement in London that he would want to see Karpal “hanged”.
I hope Ainum can take the bold and courageous step to withdraw the sedition charge against Karpal in order to restore the administration of justice in Malaysia on an even keel and start the difficult but necessary process to restore public confidence in the independence, professionalism and integrity of the Attorney-General’s Chambers and dispel all associations with gross injustices arising from selective prosecution and abuses of the discretionary powers of prosecution vested on the Attorney-General by the Constitution.