ZUL WALKS OUT OF HEARING
By Clara Chooi UPDATED
KUALA LUMPUR, March 4 — Kulim-Bandar Bharu MP Zulkifli Noordin (picture) staged a walkout from his hearing before the PKR’s disciplinary board this afternoon after it refused his demand for an all-Muslim panel.
“I was told by them that they do not have any jurisdiction to change the members in the panel as the decision would be up to the party’s supreme council. When I told them that I had no choice but to walk out, they said they would respect my decision,” he told a press conference after attending the hearing.
The maverick politician said that for now, he had no plans to leave the party and would continue to defend himself. He said that he would wait until his demands are met or until his patience is exhausted. “Lets see how much patience I have. For now however, as of this time, I have no intention to leave,” he said.
Zulkifli said that following today’s fruitless hearing, he would be sending a request to party secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution for the present panel to be dissolved and be replaced by another all-Muslim one. “They would have to make their decision by Tuesday, as my case is supposed to be settled by then,” he said.
Zulkifli is facing the party’s disciplinary panel for two matters — for lodging a police report against Shah Alam PAS MP Khalid Samad over the controversial “Allah” issue and for his open criticisms levelled against the DAP’s Lim Guan Eng.
Zulkifli had sent letters comprising eight requests to the board for the hearing, including his demand for an all-Muslim panel to hear the “Allah” issue, on Feb 16, 25 and 27. “When I appeared before the board on Monday however, I was shocked to see that I was to be tried on an Islamic issue by two Christian activists, one Hindu and only one Muslim.
“I mean no disrespect to the members of the board but I refuse to recognise them for it is inappropriate for them to be passing judgement on a religion that they themselves do not understand.
“On this issue, I will not compromise. Who better to judge me then another fellow Muslim? If I were to be punished by another Muslim for my involvement in this matter, I can accept it.
“Justice requires for one to be tried by one’s own peers. Justice must not only be done, it must also be seen to be done,” he said.
He added that if the board proceeded with the hearing without conceding to his demands, it only meant that the PKR had no respect for the Muslim religion.
The non-Muslim panel members were Goh Keat Peng, Chew Swee Yoke and T. Kumar while the sole Muslim member is Syed Kamarulzaman. The disappointed-looking Zulkifli added that he had also informed the board that it could proceed with investigations on the DAP issue but it had refused his request.
“I would prefer for the matters to be tried separately but they insist on conducting the ‘Allah’ investigation first. I refuse to give them my acknowledgement,” he said.
Zulkifli said that he believed the refusal to change the members in the panel was the work of “little Pharaohs” in the party who were out to remove him. “The supreme council itself is controlled by these little Pharaohs who are determined to remove me and to do anything at all costs,” he said.
Zulkifli refused to name these “little Pharaohs” but noted that they were voices of influence within the party leadership. “They have an evil agenda and are narrow-minded towards the beliefs of Islam,” he said.
Despite his disappointment with the party leadership however, it remains apparent that Zulkifli has no intention to leave the party and join former members Datuk Seri Zahrain Hashim, Tan Tee Beng and Mohsin Fadzli Samsuri.
He said that the fact that he was sending a request to the party’s secretary-general to change the members in the panel showed that he still had hope in the party’s leadership.
“It shows I still have faith in them and I am giving them an opportunity to change this,” he said.
Zulkifli added that he, like party de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the latter’s Sodomy II trial, only wanted justice to be served.
On why he had not been one of the signatories in the loyalty pledge made by 12 MPs yesterday, Zulkifli said he had not been invited to sign the pledge. “No one sought me out,” he said.
Asked if he would sign a similar pledge, expected to be released by the party tomorrow, Zulkifli said that he would decide once he is approached.