This is a free country, you may make any comments you like, Dr M tells PKR MPs

Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador has been the target of criticisms by PKR politicians for his comments on a sexual assault case involving Anwar Ibrahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said everyone is free to have an opinion after the nation’s top cop said it was difficult to gather evidence on the alleged sexual claims made by Yusoff Rawther against PKR president Anwar Ibrahim as it happened a “long time ago”.

“That is the opinion of the IGP. Other people may have other opinions.

“This is a free country. You can make any comments you like,” he told reporters when asked on criticisms made by PKR MPs on reported remarks by Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador.

Hamid had said the lack of physical evidence, as the alleged incident happened so long ago, was among the reasons the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) decided to drop the case.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution had said he was disappointed with Hamid’s statement as it seemed to imply that the assault actually took place.

Saifuddin said Hamid should not have come out with such a statement that gives a negative connotation when applied to the individual implicated in the case.

Anwar has since decided to sue Yusoff for defamation.

Setiawangsa MP Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad was the second PKR MP to criticise Hamid over his comments on the probe during a press conference on Jan 15.

Nik Nazmi had said the tone of Hamid’s comments was “deeply regrettable” and against the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”.

Yusoff’s police report against Anwar in early December resulted in a probe by the Classified Criminal Investigation Unit (D5) under Section 354 of the Penal Code, which deals with using criminal force to outrage a person’s modesty.

He alleged the incident took place at Anwar’s residence in Bukit Segambut on Oct 2, 2018. The PKR leader has rejected the allegations.

On Tuesday, Solicitor-General Engku Nor Faizah Engku Atek, announced on behalf of Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, who recused himself from the case, that there were “contradictions of material facts” in the investigation papers submitted by Bukit Aman.

PPBM’s AGM fixed for June 25-26

Mahathir said PPBM”s polls will be carried out after a cleansing programme, with 363,167 members confirmed nationwide.

He said some members did not pay their fees. There was also some delay in registering some as members.

Mahathir said voting at the branch levels will be held on Jan 26. The 189 divisions will hold elections from Feb 15 to April 18.

The annual general meeting will be held on June 25-26.

 ‘We cannot assume they are guilty’

Meanwhile, Mahathir also said any action against Selangor PPBM Youth chief Adhif Syan Abdullah, who was reported arrested last week, will be made after investigations.

“The party has the right to take action. But we cannot assume they are guilty without proper investigations,” he said.

Adhif and Armada national secretary Ahmad Redzuan Mohamed Shafi were suspended by their chief, Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman, for their alleged involvement in a drug party.

Syed Saddiq said the suspensions will remain while the police investigations into the incident are carried out.

The two were among 17 people arrested at a house party on Sunday. Police later said 16 of them tested positive for illicit drugs.

Adhif, who is the assemblyman for Dengkil, initially denied he had been arrested and claimed to have been home at the time, but later said he was simply at the wrong place and time.

PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin, who is the home minister, said he would leave it to the police to investigate the matter.