Ex-PKR man Zahrain defends govt’s Washington talk

By Debra Chong, The Malaysian Insider

Newly-independent MP Datuk Zahrain Hashim today backed the federal government which has come under attack over a recent seminar organised by a lobby group in Washington DC two days ago.

The federal lawmaker for Bayan Baru, who quit PKR earlier this month, was part of a Malaysian government delegation present in the US capital for a “Governance and Rule of Law” seminar organised by an American lobby group, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) with the support of Malaysian Ambassador Datuk Jamaluddin Jarjis.

“The main aim of the delegation was to inform them about the shift in foreign policy of the Malaysian government towards the USA and I think YB Nazri and the ambassador JJ did a good job contrary to what was said in Malaysia Today,” Zahrain said, referring to an account of the seminar posted fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia Today website.

“I bear witness. The main agenda was the trade issue,” the former PKR Penang chief told The Malaysian Insider today in a text message.

“Questions on Anwar trial, Allah issue and caning of three Muslim women were raised but the minister handled it well by emphasising on the rule of law, which I think was accepted by most of the audience,” added Zahrain, who said he was still in Washington DC

A panel of three were billed to speak but only Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz showed up. Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad failed to make the event.

The DAP’s Lim Kit Siang yesterday slammed the closed-door seminar as a waste of public funds to influence public opinion in the US over issues like Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy prosecution.