Karpal, the Voice of Conscience or the Contemptible One?
The DAP Chairman has always been audible but in the last couple of weeks he has made himself more so. He has asked Dr Mahathir to apologize to Salleh Abas, told a Judge to apologize to a junior lawyer from his legal firm, and said he wasn't going to apologize for criticizing the Prince of Kelantan.
Today, Bernama has a story on Karpal telling the PM to order Syed Hamid to revoke Agong's orders on Hindraf 5.Karpal said that despite the detention orders by the King, Syed Hamid could at any time under the law revoke the orders on the five leaders of Hindraf. - Bernama (read full story here).
Karpal knows what he's talking about, of course. Detention orders under ISA are made by the Minister, not the Yang diPertuan Agong, so the Minister can revoke it. Just as Dr Mahathir said during BBC's HardTalk of how he revoked (in his capacity as Home Minister) 20 orders on ISA detainees immediately after he became Prime Minister.
"But whether circumstances merit revocation is for the Minister to decide. Even the Courts cannot decide on the merits. It is the Home Minister's sole prerogative," an expert told me.
A secondary issue, according to a lawyer I spoke to, is whether the PM can or should instruct the Home Minister to revoke the orders.
In any case, Karpal's newfound high profile is raising many ghosts from the past; one of them, according to a feature-length letter I received a few days ago, is Karpal's own.
Excerpts:Read the entire letter h e r e."Karpal as a politician should be contemptible not only to Dr Mahathir but to the rest of the Malaysian society who have some degree of moral belief and sense of fair play.
Karpal has managed to hide his racist and opportunistic political approach by riding on his so-called courage of being vocal and not mincing his words in criticizing the BN Government.
A good example is his expose of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sexual transgressions sometime during the first quarter of 1998 at a DAP convention held in Federal Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.
At that time, Ummi Hafilda and Azizan Abu Bakar, the two main witnesses in the Anwar's sodomy trial, had given there sworn affidavits of Anwar's sexual misdemeanour.
Karpal had stood before the DAP audience and said to the effect that he had proof of the Deputy Prime Minister's sexual misdeeds and challenged the Prime Minister (Dr Mahathir) to take action against his deputy (Anwar)...."