Karpal: Hard struggle for Zaid

(The Star) – It will be a hard struggle for former PKR member Datuk Zaid Ibrahim outside Pakatan Rakyat, DAP chairman Karpal Singh said.

He said Zaid, who left PKR after a falling out during the recent party polls, would have to “accept the reality of politics.”

“Now that he is on his own, it won’t be easy for him to get that kind of high-profile attention. It’s not easy to run a new party or form one,” he said.

Zaid, who quit PKR in November, went on to become the president of Kesejahteraan Insan Tanah Air (Kita), or People’s Welfare Party.

Kita, was formerly known as Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia (Akim).

Zaid has since criticised Karpal for becoming counsel for Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in his sodomy case despite having called for investigations into the alleged charges in Parliament in 1997.

He had made the remarks after Karpal told the media that he had warned Anwar about accepting Zaid as he “could not be trusted” after quitting Umno.

Karpal said while he had made the calls for the sodomy charges to be investigated in Parliament in 1997, this was made in the public interest.

“Following this call, then Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad immediately came out on Aug 23, 1997, to publicly support Anwar, describing the allegations as ridiculous and the case was closed after police investigations,” he said, adding that there were also similar statements by the then Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Rahim Noor and Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah over the case.

Karpal said although he was subpoenaed as a prosecution witness in Anwar’s joint trial with Sukma Darmawan Sasmitaat Kadja for sodomy against former driver Azizan Abu Bakar, he was not called.

“It was during the course of the trial that I was invited by Anwar to join his defence team, which I did. It is a matter of record that there was no objection by the A-G (Mohtar) then, who led the prosecution team, to my joining. In fact, he indicated that he would not be calling me as a witness,” Karpal said, adding that the trial judge Arifin Jaka also did not object.

“I did not at any time cross-examine Azizan or Ummi Hafilda Ali,” he said, adding that Anwar was subsequently cleared by the Federal Court.

Karpal said he thus could not see how he had contravened any etiquette rule in his professional capacity.

“The question of conflict of interest in having defended Anwar does not, and cannot, arise.

“Those who malign me, under the circumstances, are guilty of a grave wrong,” he said.