Dr M making excuses to avoid RCI on Batu Puteh, says Puad

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is just making excuses to decline participation in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) reviewing the handling of cases involving the sovereignty of Batu Puteh, Middle Rocks and South Ledge, says Datuk Dr Puad Zarkashi.

The Umno supreme council member said that the former prime minister had no right to question the appointment of former chief justice Tun Md Raus Sharif as the head of the RCI.

Dr Mahathir had cited the appointment as a conflict of interest.

"Dr Mahathir is scared of his own shadow. What is his qualification to talk about conflict of interest?

"His objection should not be entertained. The rakyat wants to know why he withdrew two review applications against the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) rulings that Singapore had sovereignty over Batu Puteh," said Puad in a post on social media on Wednesday (Feb 21).

"He knows that the 'sin' of losing one's territory is severe and cannot be forgiven for generations to come," added Puad.

On Feb 16, Dr Mahathir's lawyer Rafique Rashid had objected to the appointment of Md Raus, citing an alleged conflict of interest.

Rafique said that the appointment was a "gross violation of natural justice" as the retired judge was an interested party in the issue.

On Feb 14, it was reported that His Majesty Sultan Ibrahim, King of Malaysia had consented to the setting up of the RCI and the appointment of seven members, including former chief justice Tun Md Raus Sharif as chairman and former Federal Court judge Tan Sri Zainun Ali as the deputy chairman.

The five other RCI members are legal practitioner Datuk Dr Baljit Singh Sidhu, former dean of Universiti Malaya’s Faculty of Law Dr Johan Shamsuddin Sabaruddin, constitutional law and administrative law expert Datin Dr Faridah Jalil, Johor state financial officer Datuk Mohammed Ridha Abd Kadir and director of Marine Department Southern Region, Dickson Dollah.

Last October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the issue of Batu Puteh could be resolved with the direct involvement of the Attorneys General of Malaysia and Singapore.

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