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KLANG, Aug 29 — The government must explain why it chose the former police chief who assaulted Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in 1998 as the new facilitator for southern Thai peace talks, Kapar MP Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid demanded.
He said the government’s selection of Tan Sri Abdul Rahim Noor for the role was perplexing given his part in Anwar’s infamous “black eye” incident, for which the former inspector-general of police was previously convicted.
“I do not see Rahim Noor’s contribution to this post, and why appoint this person, given what he has done to Anwar, and the fact that Anwar is going to be the next prime minister?” Abdullah Sani told Malay Mail in an interview.
The PKR man said that there are many more capable people in “Malaysia Baharu” who could fill Abdul Rahim’s shoes.
Abdul Rahim had been fined and sentenced to two months’ imprisonment over the incident.
“I couldn’t sleep properly for two days after finding out about Rahim’s appointment...I’m confused, what message is the government trying to send?” he added.
Anwar has also commented on the matter, telling Astro Awani in his weekly talk show segment last night that he did not wish for Abdul Rahim’s appointment to be made a prolonged issue.
“Personally, I do not want this private issue with him to be prolonged.
“But it is evident that many are bringing it up because the crime that he committed was not just against me. Many were abused and beaten and are now bringing up the matter once again,” Anwar said.
Anwar was released from prison after he secured a royal pardon and is earmarked to succeed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the prime minister.
Abdul Rahim, 75, replaced Datuk Seri Ahmad Zamzamin Hashim, who was appointed by the Barisan Nasional-led previous government, to facilitate the peace talks between the Thai government and MARA Patani, an umbrella body representing militant groups in southern Thailand.
Kuala Lumpur has been hosting several rounds of peace talks between representatives from the Thailand Government and MARA Patani to seek a peaceful resolution to years of armed conflicts in southern Thailand.
About 7,000 people have died as a result of armed conflicts in southern Thailand since 2004.