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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Bersih says 'NO' to 'communist sympathisers' Hanif probe, fears gross bias


Bersih says 'NO' to 'communist sympathisers' Hanif probe, fears gross bias
Citing gross bias, Bersih co-chairman Ambiga Sreenevasan has confirmed her free and fair elections movement will boycott the Hanif panel, set up by Prime Minister Najib Razak to investigate police violence during the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28.
Hanif Omar, the former Inspector General of Police appointed by Najib to head the panel, had previously criticized Bersih 3.0 participants as communist sympathisers.
“Our stand has not changed. It is not personal, we have nothing personal against Tun Hanif but we think it is seriously flawed as he is chairing it. Justice must be seen to be done and he has already made a pronouncement about Bersih in a negative light, so we think he should not even be there, let alone to chair it," Ambiga was quoted as saying by a news portal.
Najib wants control over outcome of probe
Just a day ago, the Bar Council, of which Ambiga was a former president, had said it would not participate in the Hanif panel investigation as Suhakam (the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia) was also conducting its own probe.
Najib, under fire for setting the police loose on the 250,000-strong crowd that thronged the vicinity of the Dataran Merdeka on April 28, is trying to damage control by promising a full probe. However, Najib also appears to want full control over the outcome of the 'independent' probe.
Like Hanif, he has already compromised his own neutrality by immediately blaming the violence that erupted that day on the Bersih organisers and the Pakatan Rakyat opposition coalition, which supported the rally.
Most Malaysians especially the rally goers have pinned the blame squarely on Najib and his Umno party, accusing them of exacting revenge for taking part in the protest to demand clean polls.
Many believe the latest Hanif panel will be a waste of time and end up the way of the Parliamentary Select Committee that Najib formed in the wake of the July 9, 2011 Bersih 2.0 rally to review the country's notoriously tainted electoral system.
Another Ummi Hafilda to take the heat off Najib
Nonetheless, Hanif believes his panel can make a difference despite accusations that he was just another Umno personality, such as Ummi Hafilda and Ezam Mohd Nor, frequently brought to make a case for the ruling party and its top leaders when it came under pressure.
Hanif plans to meet the Bar Council soon.
“With regards to concerns that there may be several parties like the Bar Council and Bersih who are unco-operative, I would like to state that the panel is only an alternative channel for those who want to co-operate willingly.  I am prepared to meet the Bar Council or any other parties, including going to their office, for (everyone’s) mutual benefit,” Hanif had said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Ambiga pledged to co-operate with Suhakam in the probe on police brutality in Bersih 3.0.
“What powers does this (Hanif) panel have? What is its legal standing? Since Suhakam has said they will hold an inquiry, this is where we  will be concentrating our efforts,” said the Bersih co-chief.
Malaysia Chronicle

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