Published on: Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Kota Belud: Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Vice President Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said it would be meaningless for him to return to the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
He claimed the BN had strayed from its original struggle, as its leaders are no longer protecting the rights of the people, especially in Sabah.
“Among them is the 20-Point Agreement, which the leaders from Sabah all this while have never raised, apart from demanding for higher position and projects for their own interest,” he claimed.
Speaking to reporters after launching seven branches of PKR for the Tempasuk polling area at Kampung Wokok, Tempasuk near here, recently, Jeffrey also claimed that he had been approached by several Umno leaders who told him they want a change and offered themselves to struggle for these changes.
He said change in this context included convincing the people that Malaysia is not celebrating its 52nd anniversary because Sabah, Sarawak, Singapore and Malaya formed Malaysia on Sept 16, 1963, which is only 46 years ago.
He said Sept 16 is only celebrated as the official Head of State’s Birthday and that the Government should correct the matter instead of continuing to deny it.
“Recently, I was invited by the Selangor Government to attend the Malaysia Day celebration representing Sabah and to deliver a speech. I found no states in Malaysia, including Sabah and Sarawak, are officially celebrating September 16 as Malaysia Day,” he said.
“Navindran Vivekanandan will be charged under section 331 of the Penal Code for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession from the deceased and alternatively section 330 for voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession from the deceased,” he said in a press statement released late this evening.
“I have instructed that he be charged at the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court,” he added.Malaysiakini reported two days ago that at least one policeman was expected to be hauled to court on Tuesday over Kugan’s death.
However, reporters who were waiting as early as 8am outside the court found out later that the case was put off.
According to Abdul Gani, out of 92 witnesses questioned by the police, four identified Navindran as the one who had caused injuries to the deceased on two different occasions.
“On both occasions, the suspect was said to have beaten the deceased with a rubber hose and four days later Kugan met his death,” he said.
The attorney-general added that Kugan had assisted the police in their investigation into the theft of luxury cars by taking them to four locations on four different days.
Why suspect not charged for alleged murder
Abdul Gani also took pains to explain why Navindran could not be charged for murder but a lesser charge of causing hurt.
“There is no evidence that the deceased suffered an instant death. Instead, the deceased died four days after the alleged beating. Therefore, there was a wide gap in between and a charge of murder could not be preferred against the suspect.
“The finding of the medical report did not show that the deceased died due to the injuries suffered by him. But it was the result of acute myocarditis, a viral infection of the heart,” he said.
Kugan died on Jan 20 at the USJ Taipan police station, five days after he was arrested.
His family has accused the police of foul play.
Two post-mortem examinations were conducted. The second of revealed that Kugan had been beaten, burnt and starved prior to his death.
Concerned groups have long complained about the lack of action in the case, which exploded into a national issue after a video recording revealed severe lacerations on Kugan’s body.
AG explains the delay
In his three-page statement, the country’s top legal officer also elaborated at length why it took him eight months to initiate action.
He said that two committees were formed to probe Kugan’s death – one set up by health director-general Dr Ismail Merican and the other by the Malaysian Medical Council.
The first committee comprised of both local and foreign doctors had conducted an in-depth study of the two conflicting post-mortem reports and submitted its final report on March 26.
However, the second committee has yet to complete its investigation following a number of postponements.
Abdul Gani also said that arising from the first committee’s report, the police obtained a search warrant and seized specimens and documents from the pathologist who did the second post-mortem.
“These specimens were sent to the Chemistry Department and Institute for Medical Research for analysis and the results of the analysis have been obtained,” he added.
Pressured by family’s appeal to king
However, the attorney-general said the case was complicated by Kugan’s mother N Indra, who had applied to the court for the return of the specimens.
“Prior to this, I had already decided to charge the police personnel responsible for the injuries sustained by the deceased.
“However, it is important for me to point out that because of these two pending hearings – one before the second committee and another before the High Court – I have taken the liberty to postpone the preferment of the charge as I was the view that all these matters should be resolved first and the family members be assured of a full and fair investigation,” he added.
Abdul Gani revealed that he decided to proceed with the charge after Kugan’s family members and a number of parliamentarians went to Istana Negara last Saturday seeking to submit a memorandum to the king complaining about the delay.
“As the second committee has postponed its hearing to Oct 9, and will in turn prolong this matter, I decided not to delay this any further,” he said.
Abdul Gani added that should the second committee come up with different findings, he will consider whether to “prefer heavier charges or otherwise.”
“Well, he is the party nominee, I support. My personal feelings does not count,” he said when asked whether he was disappointed by the nomination of the BN candidate.
Yesterday, former Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Isa, 59, was nominated as the BN candidate for the by-election.
Mahathir, who is former Umno president, had previously objected to the party fielding Isa, whom he considered a tainted leader.When asked whether it would jeopardise the coalition’s winning chances, he said: “I think it is good. We will win.”
However, when asked on the majority, he said: “I won’t know that. Probably will increase. I guess.”
The seat was won by the BN with a majority of 2,333 in the last general election but it fell vacant after the death of its assemblyman Azman Mohammad Noor on Sept 4.
The announcement that Isa would be the candidate was made by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin at the BN operations centre in Port Dickson yesterday.
The by-election is scheduled for Oct 11 with nomination on Saturday.
To a question on whether fielding of a candidate found guilty of money politics would see some familiar practice in the future, Mahathir said :”It is up to the people to make an assessment.”
He’s a man of the people
Meanwhile, several Bagan Pinang residents have hailed the choice of Isa as the BN candidate.
They said that Isa would be a factor that will ensure a victory to the coalition as he was a well-known figure among the people.
“Isa has been with us through thick and thin. The people are comfortable with his leadership,” labourer K Sagesaran, 46, said.
He said that Isa also had a special trait in that he was able to remember the names of many people in the area.
Trader Salleh Misran, 40, said he was not surprised that the BN chose Isa.
“I was still in school when he became the menteri besar. I find that he mingles easily with the people and at one time he himself advised me to study hard,” he said.
A Pasar Tani trader Saudah Soib, 60, said Isa was always there when villagers organised events or when there was death in their village.
“Even when he no longer hold any ministerial post, he still fulfil invitations from the villagers,” she said.