Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Zahid's reluctance to cooperate raises questions

Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's declaration that the French courts cannot summon him for the ongoing inquiry into Malaysia's purchase of French submarines only shows how 'fearful' he is.

It also raises concerns about Zahid's and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's involvement in the matter, PKR-linked NGO Jingga 13 said today.

The reluctance of Najib and Zahid to attend the inquiry raises awkward questions among the people, as though they were attempting to hide something, Jingga 13 chief coordinator Fariz Musa said in a statement.

NONE"Jingga 13 urges (Najib and Zahid) not to fear attending the inquiry if they are not guilty and are not involved in the scandal," Fariz (right) said, describing the issue as important and requiring the commitment of the two ministers.

"What is being hidden by them?" he asked.

The statement comes in response to Zahid's insistence yesterday that the French courts have no jurisdiction to summon Malaysians for the inquiry, as Malaysians are not subject to French laws.

However, lawyer Joseph Brehem, who is assisting in the inquiry in Paris, today rebutted Zahid's claim and said French courts have jurisdiction over any person involved in a matter being investigated by the court, French or not.

Zahid is named in the list of seven witnesses proposed by human rights NGO Suaram for the French inquiry into kickbacks paid for the purchase of the Scorpene submarines - which are illegal in France - and which was accepted by French investigating judge Roger Le Loire.

‘Zahid, don't be overconfident'

Echoing Fariz's statements was PAS Youth information chief Riduan Mohd Nor, who reminded Zahid not to be "overconfident" about not being charged by the French courts just because he is a cabinet minister.

riduan mohd norIn a press statement today, Riduan (right) said Zahid's reluctance to attend the inquiry would only reinforce the suspicions of the people about his involvement in the matter.

"His reluctance to appear in the French court only validates the perception of many that he and the prime minister seem to be involved in a huge scandal that is embarrassing to the country," he said.

He then urged the defence minister to be brave in cooperating with the inquiry for the sake of determining the truth.

"There is nothing for him to fear if he and Najib are in the right because the French courts do not differentiate between regular citizens and national leaders in determining justice," Riduan added.

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