Friday, May 16, 2008

Sedition probe on Umno members

Sedition probe on Umno members
Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR (May 15, 2008): Addressing insinuations of selective investigation, police today countered that reports lodged against certain Umno members for making seditious statements on Terengganu and Perlis royalty are being actively probed and have not been ignored.

Answering questions in a press conference today, federal police CID director Commissioner Datuk Mohd Bakri Zinin said: "Who says we are not probing? The investigations on the reports are ongoing. Sometimes we cannot reveal what action we are taking before concluding investigations. We have to gather concrete evidence."

He was asked if police had opened investigation files on the reports alleging sedition and what the outcome of the probe revealed.

This was because several members of opposition parties and a cabinet minister had raised the matter, saying that while the police had been quick to investigate DAP chairman Karpal Singh for alleged sedition when he questioned the jurisdiction of the Sultan of Perak over a staff transfer, similar cases involving Umno members who made such remarks on the Perlis and Terengganu royalty appeared to see inaction by the authorities.

Earlier this week, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz was quoted as saying action must be initiated against Terengganu Umno secretary Datuk Rosol Wahid and 22 assemblymen if they had in any way committed sedition when protesting against the Sultan of Terengganu who picked a mentri besar of his choice soon after the 2008 general election.

Police reports were lodged against Rosol but to date the progress of the probe has been kept under wraps.

Nazri had said the law must be upheld and action must be taken against wrongdoers regardless which political party they belong to.

Police said the investigation on Karpal Singh is in its final stages and the probe papers are expected to be submitted to the Attorney-General (A-G)'s Chambers soon.

Nineteen police reports have been lodged against Karpal Singh, of which three saw probes initiated in Penang and Kuala Lumpur.

Mohd Bakri urged the media to cooperate with the police when they are called up to help in such investigations.

He said police had summoned reporters to investigate Karpal Singh as they were the main witnesses who had spoken to the lawyer and filed their reports.

"It is not our intention to scare, put fear or take action against reporters. We merely needed to record their statements as witnesses as we must have evidence to pursue a case. How else do we do this? At times, there are words and phrases used in a news report which may have been misunderstood, misintepreted, and distorted from what an individual really said and meant," he said.

He said although the reporters involved turned up to give their statements, a few were reluctant to come forward.

He urged reporters to ensure their news reports were accurate and colloborated with official sources.

Mohd Bakri cited a front-page story datelined Kuala Terengganu which appeared in a Bahasa Malaysia tabloid recently which claimed that a Fifth Former, who was supposedly involved in the flesh trade, had amassed RM80,000.

"Our investigation showed there never was such a case. The reporter admitted to us he wrote the story based merely on hearsay. Our probe also showed that the 17-year-old girl in question did not even exist. How could a non-existent case like this appear in the newspapers?" he said.
Speaking on another matter, Bakri said police have wrapped up their probe on the Black 14 illegal gathering at the Sultan Sulaiman Club in Kampung Baru on April 14 and have submitted the investigation papers to the A-G Chambers.

Asked if Keadilan's de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was also questioned over the case, Mohd Bakri declined to comment.

The gathering was held to mark the day when Anwar became eligible to go back to active politics.

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