Anwar barred from testifying over APCO accusation

By Adib Zalkapli, The Malaysian Insider

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will not be allowed to testify over his remarks linking Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s 1 Malaysia to One Israel, Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee decided today.

The committee’s decision was seen as an attempt to hasten Anwar’s suspension from Parliament, said DAP chairman Karpal Singh (picture) today.

The Bukit Gelugor MP said the powerful committee decided to rely solely on a letter from public relation consultancy APCO and not to call other witnesses and Anwar to testify.

The decision prompted Karpal and Subang MP R. Sivarasa to leave the committee meeting.

“Me and Siva have no alternative but to withdraw,” Karpal told a press conference.

The Malaysian Insider had reported last month that Anwar would likely be suspended from December 15 following recommendation from the House’s powerful Rights and Privileges Committee for his remarks linking the Najib’s 1 Malaysia to former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s One Israel.

The move is believed to be a strategic attempt by the ruling BN coalition to throw the opposition momentarily off guard ahead of an expected general election, believed likely to be held in the first quarter of next year.

It is also believed to be a form of reprisal by the federal government after similar moves by Pakatan Rakyat administrations in Selangor and Penang to suspend BN opposition leaders from their state assemblies.

Anwar had initially been summoned to face the House committee on June 8 after he claimed that the supposedly Israeli-linked APCO Worldwide employed by the Najib administration was behind both the 1 Malaysia and One Israel concepts.

His remarks had dominated the previous parliamentary session earlier this year and had been used incessantly by opposition leaders as campaign fodder during the Hulu Selangor and Sibu by-elections.