Human rights NGO Suaram has ticked off Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein for not being able to give an assurance that the two French lawyers making their way here would not be barred from entering the country.

NONE“There is no reason at all to keep them from entering the country. We don’t understand why the minister has to keep us in the dark over this!” exclaimed  Suaram board director Cynthia Gabriel (right).

The lawyers - William Bourdon and Joseph Brehem - are scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday to brief parliamentarians about alleged corruption related to the purchase of two Scorpene class submarines.

The duo are supposed to speak on the French judicial system related to the matter, on the invitation of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Cynthia insisted that there is no basis at all to bar the lawyers who plan to speak on the submarine ‘scandal’ in the August house.

“The lawyers are expected to come on Wednesday and Suaram is urging for a safe passage for them to Malaysia,” said Cynthia.

“We hope that the government will not try to block their entry as there’s no basis to do so,” she added.
Cynthia said the lawyers plan to brief parliamentarians on both sides of the divide.

Invitation letters have been both send to Suaram and lawyers of DCNS - the French state company which sold the submarines to Malaysia for RM7.3 billion, in a deal which was inked in 2002.

azlan“It’s a neutral thing. The purpose (of the briefing) is to provide an explanation and the latest developments in the case,” said Cynthia.

“I never thought that there would be a motive to actually stop the real information and the truth of what is actually developing in France,” she added.

Suaram insists on a guarantee that their legal counsels would arrive safely as Bourdon’s trip to  Kuala Lumpur last year ended up in him being abruptly deported for breaching his visa conditions.

‘Indication something very serious they are hiding’

Meanwhile, Suaram was asked on the briefing venue as House speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia has banned the use of the lobby by non-MPs for press conferences, even though accompanied by elected representatives.

“This is a real indication that there is something very serious that they are hiding, a directive from the highest levels.”

When contacted via email, Bourdon replied that he was out of France and would be looking into the matter when he returns.

Cynthia was responding to Hishammuddin’s response when questioned by journalists over whether the duo would be barred from entering Malaysia.

Hishammuddin had quickly pointed to the Immigration Department and the police who have yet to provide him with the latest update on the matter.

He had asked for a detailed report and if there is an objection, there should be strong reasons for it, said Hishammuddin.

“Therefore I leave it to the relevant agencies and authorities, based on existing precedents. I ask all parties that no matter what the decision, don’t politicise this.”