Malaysia’s integrity in doubt with ‘black eye’ ex-top cop as peacemaker, DAP man claims

Ben Tan
DAP’s Dr Boo Cheng Hau has urged his party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng (pic) to moot the revocation of Abdul Rahim’s peace negotiator appointment in Cabinet. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

JOHOR BARU, Aug 29 — DAP’s Dr Boo Cheng Hau questioned today the appointment of Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor to represent Malaysia in mediating peace talks between Bangkok and Muslim rebels in southern Thailand, calling it an inevitable failure by the government to set a standard of integrity.

He urged his party secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who is also the Finance Minister to moot the revocation of Abdul Rahim’s peace negotiator appointment in Cabinet.

He claimed the choice of Abdul Rahim shows the government’s failure to set a high-level integrity standard for public officers when the former inspector-general of police was convicted of assaulting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and leaving the latter with a black eye in 1998.

“It also shows a weak determination by the new Pakatan Harapan (PH) government to forge institutional reforms,” the former Johor DAP chief added in a nine-paragraph statement.

Malaysia has hosted several rounds of peace talks between representatives from the Thai government and Mara Patani, a coalition of Muslim rebel forces, to seek a peaceful resolution to years of armed conflict in southern Thailand.

Abdul Rahim, 75, replaces Ahmad Zamzamin Hashim, who was appointed by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government to facilitate the peace talks.

The former IGP had been instrumental in the signing of the three-way Hat Yai peace treaty in 1989 involving the Malaysian government, the Malayan Communist Party and Thailand that ended the decades-long communist insurgency in the country.

Dr Boo, who is now the party’s Taman Ungku Tun Aminah branch publicity secretary, also urge all Cabinet members to collectively reject the appointment of the former IGP who was convicted of a criminal charge to represent Malaysia in an international peace talks.

The 53-year-old said this was important in order to prevent Malaysia's positive image as a nation determined for better changes from  deterioration.

“The new Malaysia should be portrayed as a nation of great humanity where any envoys or public officers who represent the country must be of utmost integrity and fine composure.

“Certain quarters have attempted to brand the issue as an inter-personal feud between Anwar’s family and Abdul Rahim with an intention to divert from the actual issue of setting a more stringent standard of integrity upon public officers and representatives of government,” said Dr Boo.

Abdul Rahim was convicted of assault when he was involved in the infamous “black eye” episode in September 1998, days after Anwar was arrested by police.

During his trial, Abdul Rahim told the court that he was provoked by Anwar, but was found guilty and sentenced to two months’ jail. In 2005, Rahim apologised to Anwar and his family for his behaviour.

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