Disciplinary proceedings or witch hunt?

Posted on August 26, 2010

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Media reports suggest that the 12 PKR Sabah divisional leaders who were issued notices to appear before the party’s national disciplinary committee in Kota Kinabalu yesterday were to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken in relation to the move to register a new political party, Parti Cinta Sabah, by ‘rebel’ PKR Sabah state leaders December last year.

If you check with lawyers who handle domestic inquiries, the first thing they will tell you is that most do not allow for legal representation of those summoned to show cause.

For this reason, it is imperative that the tribunal must act with utmost fairness to the indvidual or individuals charged.

Equally, the alleged impropriety which is the subject of the inquiry must be clear and unambiguous, should not be couched in convoluted language, and the charge to be answered should be specific and not free-ranging.

The individual called upon to show cause must clearly understand the charge, and should not be asked to answer the tribunal beyond the matter charged.

I welcome any practitioner of the law who specialises in the area of domestic inquiries to correct any error above or to further clarify what might be expected in a domestic inquiry such as the one the twelve PKR Sabah divisional leaders attended yesterday.

I now reproduce below, for the benefit of those who still do not subscribe to Malaysiakini, excerpts from a report last night on how the inquiry proceeded.

I’ve highlighted in red the parts of the report that I found to be telling.

Note, particularly, that the forum of 31st July, was some 7 months after the event the subject-matter of the charge and could not have had any bearing on the same.

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A three-member national disciplinary committee of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat held an inquiry in Kota Kinabalu today, apparently to determine whether PKR’s Sabah strongman Jeffrey Gapari Kitingan masterminded the setting up of Parti Cinta Sabah (PCS)

…A probe against Jeffrey (left) was the impression 12 party activists named in the PCS pro-tem line-up gathered during their individual grilling by the disciplinary panel…

The inquiry committee, headed by Sharifah Halimah of the party’s Central Leadership Council (CLC), appeared to lose interest in the proceedings once they established early on that Jeffrey was not involved in the formation of PCS

…The 12 included Daniel John Jambun, the deputy chair of the powerful KadazanDusunMurut Task Force who was the last to be grilled. His session with the inquiry committee, surprisingly lasted less than 10 minutes, unlike the others whose sessions lasted at least 30 minutes…

The inquiry committee wanted the 12 on the carpet to explain the Common Interest Group Malaysia (CigMA) and the Borneo Heritage Foundation (BHF), two NGOs headed by Jeffrey.

They also queried why a July 31 Malaysia Agreement Forum in Kota Kinabalu was hosted by the two NGOs and not by PKR. It was explained that the forum was a non-political event meant to reach across the divide.

The inquiry committee, it is learnt, also delved into local issues and grievances within the party.

Posted in: Right to know