KUALA LUMPUR: Former Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor was chosen as the new facilitator for the southern Thailand peace talks based on merits, says Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu.
He said Abdul Rahim was appointed because of his key role in the Hat Yai 1989 Peace Agreement, which marked the end of the Communist insurgency in Malaysia.
“He knows Thailand very well, especially southern Thailand.
“I am confident Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had looked at his capabilities when he gave him this task,” he told reporters after attending the Defence Ministry’s assembly here yesterday.
On Nurul Izzah Anwar’s opposition to Abdul Rahim’s appointment, Mohamad said everyone was free to have his or her own opinion.
When contacted, Abdul Rahim said he wanted to leave behind what had happened in the past, adding that he had already been punished for it.
“The government has scrutinised my background and believes I am suitable.
“I will conduct my duties to the best of my abilities,” he said.
On Monday, Nurul Izzah vehemently opposed in a tweet the appointment of the man who was widely linked to the 1998 “Black Eye Incident”.
That year, her father and new PKR president-elect Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was allegedly punched by Abdul Rahim while under police detention and after being fired as the deputy prime minister.
It resulted in Anwar appearing in court with a darkened eye.
On another matter, Mohamad said he would not ask his aide to go on leave after he was placed under investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
“I leave it to the MACC. So far, no action has been taken,” he said.
It was reported that the aide was being investigated over allegations of third party assistance in settling his debts of more than RM800,000.
The aide was allegedly cleared of his bankruptcy status recently following the debt settlement.