Opposition claim arrest a move to discredit Shafie, curb Warisan’s growing influence

PKR lawmaker N. Surendran filed the emergency motion under Standing Order 18 (1) to discuss the imprisonment of the party's Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KOTA KINABALU, Oct 20 ― Opposition politicians accused the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) of political harassment today with the latest arrest of Parti Warisan Sabah president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal.

Warisan deputy president Darell Leiking claimed the arrest was an attempt to discredit Shafie’s leadership and the party’s influence ahead of the 14th general elections.

“He is the factor who could potentially lead the regime change in the state through the unification of all Sabahans from all colour, creed and backgrounds,” Leiking said.

He claimed the MACC was investigating a RM1.5 billion suspected embezzlement of federal funds based on unsubstantiated allegations, adding that it was an attempt to divert attention from growing racial and religious politicking in Sabah.

Sabah DAP state secretary Chan Foong Hin described the series of arrests by MACC as selective persecution of Opposition leaders and an attempt to silence dissent by targeting Shafie’s followers or sympathisers with Warisan.

He urged the MACC to be impartial and non-partisan in its actions.

PKR federal lawmaker and lawyer N. Surendran also criticised the MACC’s arrest of Shafie and the others as without basis.

“He is not a flight risk and neither is there any suggestion that he will interfere with other witnesses in the ongoing probe,” Surendran, who is Padang Serai MP, said in a statement, referring to Shafie.

“Under the law, arrest and remand to facilitate investigations should be the exception, not the norm.

“This legal position applies to all criminal investigations into all types of offences, with the exception of suspects who are a flight risk or where it is believed the suspect could interfere with witnesses,” he added.

Surendran asked MACC to release Shafie and other detainees into the RM1.5 billion embezzlement case and call them up when necessary.