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Mahathir did the right thing of walking out of sham hearing on Pulau Batu Putih

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY, DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

Mahathir did the right thing of walking out of sham hearing on Pulau Batu Putih

I see no reason why the former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed should appear before the special task force established to ascertain as to why the PH government failed to appeal on the matter of Pulau Batu Putih.

More than 14 years back, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) decided that the rocky and uninhabited island in favour of Singapore.

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Similarly, I don’t see why the former attorney general Tommy Thomas should have appeared before the task force on the allegations contained in his book “My Story: Justice in Wilderness”.

The task forces set up was problematic from the start. They were politically motivated to cast aspersions on the short-lived PH government and the leadership of the Mahathir.

On the same token, the book by Thomas might contain allegations about some matters particularly those pertaining to the administration of justice.

But these task forces had no legal basis in the first place but were politically motivated, there was no reason for them to appear before them.

Mahathir walked out of the interview in the Attorney General Chambers as the panel was chaired by none other than the former attorney general Apandi Ali.

There is no love lost between Mahathir and Apandi as the latter was sacked by the former for trying to cover-up the former prime minister Najib Tun Razak on the 1MDB financial scandal.

The fact that Apandi was able to sue the government and get away with a hefty undisclosed compensation was something that infuriated Mahathir.

Mahathir claimed that the sacking was something lawful and in accordance to established procedures.  Even before the settlement of the case in favour of Apandi, he was already appointed as the head of the task force on Pulau Batu Putih.

Whether the decision to compensate him had anything to do with this earlier appointment was coincidental or not remains to be seen.

What is the big fuss about Mahathir walking out on Apandi?
Any decent human being would have done the same.  Why should Mahathir having sacked Apandi appear before him to be questioned as to why he decided not to appeal the earlier decision of the ICJ?

Mahathir had his reason why the appeal was not considered as it would have been an exercise in futility with exorbitant costs.  This was his decision as the prime minister in the PH government.  He has stuck with this decision until today.

As a straight shooter, he has been consistent and straightforward on the matter of Pulau Batu Putih. Of course, for political reasons he could have forwarded an appeal to the ICJ allowing the court to make the ultimate decision.

In this way, he could have avoided the political repercussions from making the decision himself. But he didn’t do this.

My question is: why blame Mahathir for not appealing the case of Pulau Batu Putih when such an appeal could have been done when Najib was the prime minister.

Why wait until the last minute just before the GE14?

In fact, Apandi as the attorney general under Najib was entrusted to too see how Malaysia can get back the lost island of Pulau Batu Putih.

What was he doing, apart from his numerous travels here and there. It is politically convenient to cast the blame on Mahathir for not appealing the case of Pulau Batu Putih.

In fact the blame should be equally shared by the earlier prime ministers for not taking the matter seriously. Even the sabre rattling Johore should be reminded that there are incontrovertible evidence that in September 1953, in a letter to the British Colonial Secretary in Singapore, the Johore state secretary renounced any claims to Pulau Batu Putih.

Maybe the Johore state government should look at this particular evidence rather than engaging in misguided jingoism. Najib should be the last person in the country who should be talking about being “jantan”.

He said that Mahathir but my walking out of the hearing, showed that he was not a “jantan” or man. But Mahathir did the right thing to walk out of the sham hearing organised by the former disgraced attorney general, Apandi, by the way, a close confidant of none other than Najib himself.

If Mahathir is not “jantan” then what is Najib then?

A man who has been convicted of a colossal crime of indulgence in massive corruption should talk less and seek the way of repentance.

If Mahathir is guilty of abandoning the claim over the rocky island off the coast of Johore, then Najib is equally guilty of not doing anything about it.