Despite snub, Hanif says will set meet with Bar Council
PUTRAJAYA, June 4 — Putrajaya’s Bersih investigative panel will arrange a meeting with the Bar Council over its probe on the April 28 rally for free and fair elections, Tun Hanif Omar said today.
This is despite the council saying last week it will not participate in Putrajaya’s “Hanif panel” investigating violence during the Bersih 3.0 rally.
Council vice-president Christopher Leong had said it was pointless to do so when the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) is already conducting its own probe.
“The panel welcomes the Bar Council to meet the panel for the good of the country, and will organise (a meeting with them),” Hanif told reporters.
When asked to comment on Leong’s remarks, Hanif replied, “That is up to them.”
“They say that even though I am not supposed to become chairman they are prepared to meet me and the panel.”
Leong told The Malaysian Insider recently that the council is adamant that Hanif should be disqualified as the panel’s chairman since the latter had already previously indicated his anti-Bersih views.
But Leong had added that the council would be willing to meet privately with Hanif to discuss its position on the matter.
Following the Bersih 3.0 rally on April 28, Hanif alleged that communist sympathisers had participated in the event, agreeing with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s claim that the demonstration was an attempt to oust the present government.
Despite his views, Hanif was later appointed to lead Putrajaya’s six-man investigation panel on allegations of widespread police violence during the rally.
Leong also pointed out that the panel, unlike Suhakam, which is a statutory body established by law, does not have legal standing and power to subpoena witnesses for its probe.
Hanif had said last week that he was willing to meet the Bar Council as well as Bersih leaders as part of the panel’s investigation, saying he wanted the inquiry team to be given a chance to carry out its duties without “suspicion” from any parties.