The planned briefing for parliamentarians on the Scorpene scandal by French lawyers will now be held in Singapore tomorrow.

This decision was made following the failure of human rights NGO Suaram to obtain an assurance from the government that it would guarantee the security of the two lawyers.

azlanThe two-hour briefing will be held about noon at Hotel Changi Village by lawyers William Bourdon (left) and Apoline Cagnate, said Subang MP Sivarasa Rasiah, at the Parliament lobby today.

The lawyers representing Suaram in the French judicial inquiry had sought a prior assurance because Bourdon had been deported when he was in Malaysia last year.

Suaram had invited him to brief its supporters at several fund-raising dinners in Penang, Perak and Kuala Lumpur.

Speaker: New evidence mere 'allegations'

Nevertheless, the Bourdon and his team were invited again to Malaysia by Anwar Ibrahim in his capacity as Dewan Rakyat opposition leader to brief MPs in Parliament.

Bourdon was tasked with keeping MPs abreast with the French investigating judge's progress on the alleged kickbacks involving the sale of two Scorpene submarines to Malaysia.

NONEBatu MP Tian Chua said that the venue had to be changed because Dewan Rakyat Speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia (left) would not allow the briefing to take place in Parliament's compound following a complaint by the BN Backbenchers Club (BNBBC). 

Pandikar's letter to Anwar on the rejection also stated that the Scorpene issue was "a matter that is still being investigated and considered by the relevant authorities". 

He added that BNBBC had stated their objections in order to safeguard the sovereignty and reputation of Parliament. 

"Even if, as claimed by the Machang MP, that there are new evidence which must be briefed... to the MPs, in my opinion, it is still allegations that has political elements that is not bi-partisan," wrote Pandikar.

Chua added that written requests to Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for a promise that the two lawyers will be allowed to enter the country were not met with a positive reply.

'Hell-bent on hiding the truth'

When contacted, Suaram secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel said the NGO was not surprised at the government's response, but expressed extreme disappointment that the briefing could not take place as scheduled.

NONE"It is such a shame that the briefing cannot happen in Parliament as the lawyers planned to speak to both sides of the divide," Cynthia (right) told Malaysiakini.

"Several BN MPs have also expressed interest to listen in on the briefing and ask questions regarding the case in France. Surely, many are interested in the development surrounding this case," she added.

Cynthia said the government's actions are clearly an indication that those involved are "hell-bent on hiding the truth" and preventing it from surfacing.

This, she added, contradicts de facto Law Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz's comment that Malaysia is a free country, and that he has no problems with the lawyers conducting the briefing in a room in Parliament.