The “Governance and Rule of Law” seminar was organised by the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and sanctioned by Malaysian Ambassador Datuk Jamaluddin Jarjis.
But the seminar turned farcical after it was declared off-the-record at the last minute, while only one of three scheduled speakers — Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz — turned up.
The other two speakers — Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail and former Chief Justice Tun Abdul Hamid Mohamad — failed to make the event.
CSIS had earlier sent out invitations to the media and said the seminar would be on-the-record and open for coverage.
Nazri’s speech and the subsequent question-and-answer session were also cut short.
“I agree with the former United States Ambassador to Malaysia, John R Mallot, who had described the seminar as the ‘strangest’ he had attended in Washington DC.
“The last-minute conversion of the CSIS seminar into an ‘off-the-record’ session gave it a cloak-and-dagger character that what Nazri said in his speech and Q & A cannot stand public and international scrutiny. Mallot said that it was ‘unusual’ for the session to be off-the-record, which is ‘very rare for a Washington think-tank’,” said Lim.
Lim also claimed that the crowd at the seminar was dismal, saying “one account put it as about 40 people”.
“Has the Malaysian government achieved its purpose in the CSIS seminar, in convincing Washington opinion about the justice, propriety and justification for the Anwar Ibrahim Sodomy II prosecution and persecution?
“From all accounts, the answer must be an unequivocal ‘No’. The ‘strangest’ cloak-and-dagger CSIS seminar in Washington is not a coup for the new Malaysian ambassador to Washington, Jamaluddin Jarjis but a major blot on his record book,” according to the DAP stalwart.
Lim said the only way for Malaysia to escape condemnation for Sodomy II would be to drop the charges against Anwar.-MalaysianInsider