DAP’s Karpal has ‘class’ compared to PKR’s Anwar, says Utusan


(MM) – In a grudging but rare acknowledgment today, the editors of Umno-owned broadsheet Utusan Malaysia complimented opposition lawmaker Karpal Singh for taking the gentlemanly decision to step down as DAP chairman pending his sedition appeal.

The Malay paper’s editors are known to be highly critical of the mainly Chinese party, which they also demonstrated in their Bisik-bisik Awang Selamat column today, claiming that Karpal’s decision was technically redundant as the Registrar of Societies had yet to approve of the entire DAP Central Executive Committee (CEC) — marking the line-up as illegal.

But the editors described the seasoned DAP politician as being a “class” act in comparison to the latter’s PKR ally and Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, whom they noted had been also been recently convicted of an offence they deemed more heinous.

“Even so, Awang can welcome Karpal who is more of a gentleman compared to Anwar Ibrahim who refuses to let go the position of Opposition Leader and PKR adviser after being sentenced to jail by the Court of Appeal for a more serious offence — sodomy.

“At least Karpal has class,” wrote Utusan’s editors under their collective moniker, Awang Selamat, in the Sunday edition of the paper.

Anwar, who is PKR adviser, was yesterday nominated for the PKR presidency in party polls scheduled to start next month.

The Court of Appeal had on March 9 reversed his 2012 sodomy acquittal, sentencing him to five years behind bars, which has been stayed pending an appeal to the country’s highest court.

Under the law, a convicted person cannot be an office bearer, adviser or employee of a registered society unless his sentence is reduced to a fine of below RM2,000 or less than a year’s jail.

Karpal had announced yesterday that he was stepping aside as party chairman temporarily, pending his appeal against his sedition conviction over his remarks on the Perak Sultan’s role in the 2009 state constitutional crisis.

The 73-year-old was fined RM4,000 by the High Court on March 11, which puts him at risk of being disqualified as Bukit Gelugor MP but has also jeopardised his party positions.

Karpal, who has been DAP chairman for the past 10 years, said he could write in to the Registrar of Societies for an exemption, but decided against it, adding, “I will not demean myself by applying for exemption”.

He said he would leave the decision to the Court of Appeal.

Karpal’s conviction had attracted criticism, with critics pointing out that Putrajaya had continued to use the Sedition Act despite previously promising in July 2012 to repeal the now 66-year-old law.

A number of federal opposition politicians and activists were also charged last year under the Sedition Act.