Saturday, March 6, 2010

Zul Noordin warns party against ‘act of betrayal’

By Clara Chooi

KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — Maverick PKR MP Zulkifli Noordin (picture) said today that he would consider any disciplinary action against him an act of betrayal, even as he continued to maintain he does not intend to leave the party.

Zulkifli told The Malaysian Insider today he was going through a very tough time but the idea of defecting had not crossed his mind. “But even in the face of all this turmoil, with the others defecting, I have stayed on. And I have said nothing to indicate that I want to leave. I have been the most loyal, the most consistent of them all. I have stood my ground and said that I want to fight this out, that I will not leave,” he said.

Zulkifli is facing disciplinary action for infringing a party gag order and lodging a police report against Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad over the recent “Allah” controversy.

His request for an all-Muslim panel was rejected by the disciplinary committee, and he walked out of a hearing this week because there were non-Muslims on the panel.

The party has said that the reason for the hearing was over his act of ignoring a party order and not for his stand in the “Allah” issue. Party officials say the religious composition of the disciplinary board was irrelevant to the charges faced by Zulkifli.

Zulkifli told The Malaysian Insider today that that his breaking point would be if the party’s supreme council endorses any recommendations to punish him from the disciplinary board

“That would be my breaking point. I have been very patient. I have been very consistent. I have stood by (party de facto leader Datuk Seri) Anwar Ibrahim and have been his loyalist from the start. I stood my ground, I went to prison under the Internal Security Act with him. But if they proceed with this, then they have betrayed me and they have betrayed the Muslims,” he said.

Zulkifli said that despite this, he had no plans to appeal for help from Anwar. “Why should I? I do not want it to be seen as though I sought for guidance and then people will say that Anwar had interfered in the party’s disciplinary process. I do not want to put him in a difficult spot so no, I will fight this on my own,” he said.

Zulkifli also questioned the reason given by party president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on why his request for an all-Muslim panel was rejected. Wan Azizah had explained yesterday that the rejection was because Zulkifli’s case was a disciplinary matter and not about his stand on the “Allah” controversy.

“I find it surprising that they are blinded by their own charge. The show cause letter states that I had breached a party policy for lodging a report against Khalid over the issue of kalimah Allah.

“I do not doubt this is a disciplinary process but the disciplinary proceeding must be held over an issue and the issue here is lodging a report over the issue of kalimah Allah. You cannot separate the two,” he explained. He added that to defend himself and explain his actions, he would have to bring up the reason why he had breached the party’s gag order in the first place.

“This means that I have to explain my stand in the kalimah Allah issue. I have to justify my actions and they have to punish me based on whether they feel my actions are justifiable. “However, if the panellists are non-Muslims, then how would they be able to understand my reasons,” he said.

When he appeared before the panel on Monday, Zulkifli had said he was shocked to see that it comprised two Christian activists, one Hindu and only one Muslim. “I am not questioning their credibility or insulting their religious beliefs. I am only saying that it would only be appropriate for a Muslim to be passing judgement in this case.

“Similarly, even if I were asked to, I would refuse to pass judgment in a case that involves an understanding of Christianity or Hinduism,” he said.

Zulkifli compared his case to that of Anwar’s Sodomy II trial when the latter applied to the High Court to compel Judge Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah to recuse himself on grounds that he had been biased in his rulings regarding newspaper reports and a photograph published in a Malay daily on the case. “It is the same here. I just want a fair trial. Anwar has been going around all over the world, crying for justice but yet here he is, not even giving justice to a fellow party member. I want them to walk the talk,” he said.

Despite his disappointment with the party however, Zulkifli insisted that he still had faith in his leaders.

As such, he would not commit for now whether or not he would leave the party. “I will give them the benefit of the doubt. I do not know what recommendations the board is making to the supreme council. I do not want to jump the gun and assume that they are recommending my punishment. “You never know, maybe they are recommending to recuse themselves from hearing the case so that they can be replaced with an all-Muslim panel,” he said.

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