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Was Khalid given a fair chance?

PETALING JAYA: The Registrar of Societies (ROS) has asked for a meeting with the PKR Disciplinary Board (DB) Chairman Tan Kee Kwong regarding the dismissal of Khalid Ibrahim from Parti Keadilan Rakyat. This follows Khalid’s complaint to the ROS that party rules were not adhered to.

The sequence of events is as follows:

  • July 21: At a PKR Central Committee meeting, the leaders agreed to appoint Wan Azizah as the new Selangor MB.
  • July 22: Khalid issues a statement that he would not be quitting his Menteri Besar’s post.
  • Aug 5: The DB issues Khalid a show-cause letter for going against the party’s decision to replace him. Khalid has until Aug 8 to reply. The board schedules Aug 9 for the hearing.
  • Aug 8: Khalid replies to the show-cause letter, requesting a postponement and clarification of the charges against him.
  • Aug 9: Another letter from Khalid is delivered to Tan, repeating the earlier requests.
  • Khalid receives no replies to any of his letters.
  • Aug 9: In Khalid’s absence, the DB makes a recommendation to the PKR leadership to terminate Khalid’s membership. Khalid’s membership is terminated and he is given 14 days to appeal.

Notwithstanding the sequence above, it is only reasonable to expect that any court or tribunal would allow some leeway on matters regarding the fixing of dates for a hearing. As this does not involve the actual nature of the charges or the facts themselves, it is usual to be accommodative.

Those concerned, together with the court’s clerk, would normally choose a date acceptable to all parties. This is the widely accepted norm, as it ensures there is no undue hardship to any of the parties in the pursuit of an outcome.

That this process was carried out in a rushed manner would be an understatement. The conclusion was arrived at in the absence of the defendant or any written rebuttal. That alone should raise some questions about the process.

It would be loathsome to pass sentence without affording the accused a reasonable chance to a defence. Was Khalid given every reasonable chance?