Power Without Responsibility – Najib’s ‘Get Out’

People need to understand.  Najib may have been an all-powerful prime minister and finance minister in charge of his ruling party and the country, but he was not responsible for anything. This was his message during his exclusive interview this week from his holiday in the five star resort of Langkawi.

It is a most convenient concept: I authorise all the decisions, but it is those who have to obey those decisions who must take responsibility for the decisions that I make. My signature? I was just signing what my underlings told me to sign.

If these included cheques for bribes or orders to divert millions of ringgit of public money to myself or my cronies, I simply did not realise that my staff were betraying me in this manner.

Of course I had someone else managing my private slush account at the bank, so that they could take the blame if the shit hit the fan. In fact, let me name the fellow, since he has been frantically on the run since the day the1MDB scandal broke. It’s Nik Kamil, Jho Low’s friend – even though I have denied all this for years. Yes, the pair of these total rascals are responsible for any money I might have stolen and now China are protecting them to save its own face.  Pretty handy outcome, all in all.

On that somewhat thorny related issue as to who paid that billion dollars into my bank account, once again I have the perfect answer. It was the dead former king of Saudi Arabia!  I know I have refused to name him all these years, but now I am – after all he can’t answer back and he had bags of money.

Ooops.  More accusations of selling out my country to a foreign power?  Let’s be clear, just because a foreign leader secretly pays a billion dollars into another prime minister’s bank account doesn’t mean there is any question of exerting covert control over his country. What a silly thought.  Just because someone secretly gives you money doesn’t make you obliged.

The fact that I have been sending Malaysian troops to Saudi to risk their lives in a nasty Middle Eastern local conflict has nothing to do with any of this.  In that context you must remember I am lying about being paid by Saudi, because everyone really knows the money came from 1MDB (apart from the $90 million or so that the Saudi Foreign Ministry was in fact recorded paying into my account – but Nik Kamil never mentioned that to me).

Moving on to more important matters, I do think it is really most appalling how I am not being treated with the respect due to a former prime minister.  And why pilloried for taking 30 suitcases for a short holiday away?  We almost had to carry the bags ourselves, since the police escort staff have been so outrageously reduced.

It’s one thing to remove the protection of a former prime minister aged 92 years old, but quite another to remove mine. This is because someone else made the decision to remove the escort of Dr M, whereas he always stands by his own decisions and his own signature. So, he is responsible for removing my police protection, but not I his.

….. so the explanation goes on.  So, childish and pampered is this ludicrous and self-pitying man that one almost feels sorry for him for have been so under-educated for his role.  Najib appears to have been reared like an eighteenth century prince with a whipping boy to take the blame each time His Dunce failed to grasp his lessons.

He inherited his office as of right, when it becomes clearer by the day he couldn’t perform the role. And he still doesn’t realise that everyone can see right through him.  He simply wasn’t taught what the rest of the world learns at an early age about taking responsibility, working for one’s rewards and facing the consequences of lying.

He needs to learn for the sake of his country’s future.

Taib Hired Disgraced London PR Firm Bell Pottinger To Pose As ‘Concerned Young Sarawakians’

A major expose by America’s prestigeous New Yorker magazine into Britain’s former top PR company Bell Pottinger has revealed more ‘dirty tricks’ commissioned by Sarawak’s billionaire politician, Taib Mahmud against this website and affiliated radio station, Radio Free Sarawak.

It had earlier been revealed that the PR company, which closed after engaging in a campaign in South Africa to stir up racial hatred on behalf of the notorious Gupta brothers, was also hired to defame and undermine targets of Taib.

A sting by the UK based Bureau of Investigative Journalism in 2011 revealed that the company had been engaged to secretly alter Wikipedia sites and search tools to undermine Sarawak Report and its Editor and family and offered to do the same for a bogus client from Uzbekistan:

“The [Bell Pottinger] executives also discussed what they called the “dark arts” of optimizing Google searches and editing Wikipedia pages in favor of clients. Collins said that Bell Pottinger’s goal would be “to get to the point where, even if they type in ‘Uzbek child labor’ or ‘Uzbek human-rights violation,’ some of the first results that come up are sites talking about what you guys are doing to address and improvethat, not just the critical voices saying how terrible this all is.” [New Yorker Magazine]

However, the New Yorker has now received exclusive inside information showing that the campaign against Sarawak Report went far further.

Taib Hired Disgraced London PR Firm Bell Pottinger To Pose As 'Concerned Young Sarawakians'

These claims were lies made by the real authors from PR firm Bell Pottinger

On behalf of its client, Taib Mahmud, the Bell Pottinger team set up a number of online campaigns, including a website called Sarawak Bersatu, which purported to represent an anonymous group of young Sarawakians, who were concerned that foreign activists with ‘hiden agendas’ would ruin the economy of the state and destroy their future prosperity.

Taib Hired Disgraced London PR Firm Bell Pottinger To Pose As 'Concerned Young Sarawakians'

Sarawak Bersatu was not what it seemed

In fact, the entire website (now taken down) was operated and written by hired Bell Pottinger staff working out of Holborn in London.  One of them confessed to the New Yorker journalists that it was the most despicable campaign he had ever been involved in for the company.

Not only did the anonymous bloggers attack SR and RFS under false pretences, but they lodged a barrage of gross and unsubstantiated libel against DJ ‘Papa Orang Utan’, protected by their deceitful anonymity.  Had the identity of the firm been revealed he could have sued the firm for substantial damages:

Taib Hired Disgraced London PR Firm Bell Pottinger To Pose As 'Concerned Young Sarawakians'

Allegations against RFS DJ Papa Orang Utan included gross defamation

Such attacks, were apparently made at the request of the then Chief Minister and present Governor Taib Mahmud, who sought to destroy the reputation of his critics, not by open rebuttals but through a series of secretive and expensive PR campaigns.

Taib Hired Disgraced London PR Firm Bell Pottinger To Pose As 'Concerned Young Sarawakians'

By request? Rosmah given the prominent place in BN

Another PR company hired during the same period, also for millions of dollars to attack SR, was the TV production outfit FBC Media, exposed for taking huge sums of money from some of the world’s most repressive regimes, in order to illegally promote dictatorial autocrats in a flattering light on their TV news shows.

Crowing after the election Bell Pottinger made clear that Taib had feared the influence of the Radio Station would lose him votes.  This was the reason behind the covert campaign, funded by public money stolen from the very people Taib was seeking to influence.

Taib Hired Disgraced London PR Firm Bell Pottinger To Pose As 'Concerned Young Sarawakians'

Fake News and Dirty online PR campaigns were pioneered by Taib against SR and RFS for millions of dollars.

The full New Yorker article can be found on their website.  The section about Sarawak is below:

In 2011, during the Arab Spring, Bahrain erupted in protests against the royal family. At the time, Bell Pottinger was advising the Bahrain Economic Development Board, and on occasion its brief extended to advising the Bahraini government more generally. The government responded to the protests with a repressive backlash. Bell Pottinger’s digital team prepared for its Bahraini clients a list of the most influential dissidents on social media. An employee involved in this work does not know the fate of the individuals on the list, but he remains troubled by the fact that Bell Pottinger performed this service at a time when Bahraini officials were imprisoning and torturing people who spoke out against the regime. The Bahrain account brought in three and a half million dollars annually.

In the same period, the firm also worked for Abdul Taib Mahmud, the chief minister of Sarawak, a state in eastern Malaysia. He had held the post since 1981, and was seeking his eighth term. Opposition figures frequently called Taib corrupt. One journalist who criticized Taib was Clare Rewcastle Brown, who lives in London but was born in Sarawak. She is the sister-in-law of Gordon Brown, the former Labour Prime Minister of the U.K. In 2011, Rewcastle Brown was subjected to a series of smears by a blog called Sarawak Bersatu, which described itself as representing a “group of Sarawakians who aim to protect Sarawak against the influences—and hidden agendas—of foreign political groups and activists.” Material posted on Sarawak Bersatu, and on a related Twitter feed, impugned the motives and the reporting practices of Rewcastle Brown and called her an agent of British socialism. The site promoted stories falsely claiming that one of her colleagues had engaged in sexual improprieties. According to a former Bell Pottinger employee with knowledge of the site, the firm generated Sarawak Bersatu’s material. This was “fake news” before it had a name. When I informed Rewcastle Brown that Bell Pottinger was behind Sarawak Bersatu, she said that she had “no idea this was being run out of London.”

A former Bell Pottinger partner expressed shock when I described the Bahrain and Sarawak accounts. It was possible, he said, to draw a straight line between these episodes and the South African scandal. The partner said the Sarawak work suggested that certain people within Bell Pottinger had “a playbook.”

One publicist who helped write the Bell Pottinger playbook is Mark Turnbull, who worked at the firm from 1995 to 2012, and often focussed on geopolitical accounts, including in South Africa and Iraq. He subsequently became a top executive at Cambridge Analytica, the British firm that advised Donald Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign. The company fell apart earlier this year, after its harvesting of Facebook user data was exposed. Shortly before Cambridge Analytica’s collapse, undercover journalists at Channel 4 News, in London, secretly recorded Turnbull describing his modus operandi. He bragged about the deployment of misinformation against a client’s political opponents. “We just put information into the bloodstream of the Internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again,” Turnbull explained. “It has to happen without anyone thinking, That’s propaganda. Because the moment you think, That’s propaganda, the next question is: Who’s put that out?”

Sarawak Does Not Deserve To Be Left Out Of Malaysia’s Clean Up Drive

The cleansing sweep of GE14 has flushed out the Federal Government and also sent Sabah’s Musa Aman packing. Yet, one glaring piece of unfinished business remaining among various pockets of entrenched corruption is Sarawak and its limpit of a leading politician, Governor Taib Mahmud.

Social media over the past two days has buzzed with footage of the ageing Governor, apparently disabled down his right side as he stretches out his left arm from a seating position to great Aid Fitr guests.

Taib has dominated the state for nearly four decades, during which he has acquired ownership of much of the local economy, along with estimated billions of dollars of kleptocratic spoils, squirrelled away abroad. He should be got rid of and the money returned.

However, signs are the present leadership plans to allow the potentate to remain, at least until Sarawak voters get their say in state elections some way off. Prime Minister Mahathir has been indicating to some that he doesn’t wish to move against a veteran leader, who is plainly becoming frail (also, some note, a key ally from the past).

Such indulgence to an elder politician may be generous spirited on a personal level, but many Sarawakians will view the matter differently, not least because the disgraceful poverty, substandard education and insufficient services suffered by so many of the native people in Malaysia’s wealthiest state, owes to the decades Taib prioritised his own bank balances and continuing power over their welfare.

Fit For Office?

Part of Taib’s ‘fragility’, which is delicately being aknowledged, relates to a reported loss of his once razor sharp acumen.  Put bluntly, the Governor has become prone to publically forgetting recent events, for example, the fact that an election has taken place.  A growing number within the newly dominant Pakatan Harapan party have started murmuring amongst themselves that the state needs a Governor who is on the ball, particularly in this period of transition.

Indeed, Taib is also being said to have tested positive for heavy metal contamination: Sarawak is not named after the ancient term for antimony for nothing, as such metals run high in natural water supplies and can exacerbate afflictions such as memory loss or strokes.

Many believe that the people must come first in such a situation, as is provided for under the constitution of the state. The present Agong provides an excellent example of this approach, since he himself has replaced his father owing to incapacity resulting from a stroke, despite the fact that his father reportedly remains clear thinking.

In the spirit of the new democracy, therefore, the health or otherwise of the present governor needs to be addressed openly, especially given his advanced years.  If Taib is unable to show that he has the same remaining verve and mental agility as his older contemporary, the prime minister, then he ought to be retired on these grounds alone.

Family Warfare

Sarawak Does Not Deserve To Be Left Out Of Malaysia's Clean Up Drive

Frail beside a young wife

This is not least because, as Taib ails, the tension between the different branches of his sprawling family has broken into an open warfare, which is no secret in Sarawak.

This website has not hesitated to put its view that none of the enormous wealth that lies within the grasp of the stupendously rich Mahmud clan has been legitimately obtained. Sarawak Report agrees with very many others that all these ill-gotten riches ought to be nationalised back to the state for health, education and general economic progress from which it was diverted.

Amongst those likely to be made happier by such an action would appear be Taib’s family itself, which has been riven by the classic consequences of obscene greed, including family feuds, dissipated lives and general hatred and scheming all round. The lot of them are evidently fighting over who is going to get the lion’s share of Daddy’s loot, whilst some are exhibiting astonishing relative meanness over matters such as divorce and child support settlements to discarded members.

Hanifah Taib, the fourth and most ambitious of the offspring, has just succeeded to her father’s old federal seat in Mukah, her new political career somewhat stymied by the fact that PBB is no longer part of the ruling coalition.  She has been displaced as her father’s effective consort, following the death of their mother Leila, by the arrival of his brassy second wife, Syrian national, Ragad, obtained through a marriage facilitator in the Middle East.

That marriage was seen as a power move by Taib’s other powerful female relative, his sister Raziah, who pursues a business-focused marriage with her third husband, Robert Geneid, who is of Lebanese origin and reportedly brokered the arrangement.

However, Ragad, who was still in her late 20s at the time of her union to the septuagenarian she had not previously met, has moved swiftly to establish control over her once fearsome spouse, allegedly elbowing out and alienating his immediate family.

The Geneids, and certainly Taib himself, had not been apparently aware at the time of the marriage that not only had Ragad already been divorced twice, but she had two sons from her earlier unions. Having navigated objections over this and other matters, Ragad has now apparently imposed her advantage in physical energy and size and brought into play her skills and her family’s advice to establish a dominant position within the household.

Ragad’s own family and various close companions pass a lot of time in and around the Taib family home and over the past months she has managed to secure the adoption of her two sons by Taib, along with ‘native status’ for all three of them.  They are now poised to inherit Taib’s fortune equally with his actual adult children and also to engage in land dabbling and other concessions exclusively allowed to ‘natives of Sarawak’.

The former issue can only have worsened the rivalry and tensions within the Taib family itself, whilst the later has infuriated just about every denizen of Sarawak. Neither is Ragad’s ostentatious, flashy and flirtatious style perceived as dignified on the arm of the elderly Governor: people find it hard to believe that her heart is really in the job and suspect instead that her eye is on the money.

All of which has thrown into sharper focus the pressing matter of a review of the Taib family entitlement to any of that money in the first place.  With Taib failing and his offspring and siblings left fuming impotently on the sidelines, Ragad is feared to be readying herself to depart the scene with a hoard that will have made her decade in Sarawak more than worth its while.

There are concerns that this political wife now stands between every transaction conducted between the Governor and his once loyal private secretary, to the extent that rumours have circulated that Taib remains incarcerated in a locked room for considerable periods – the key being on the outside of the door.  If half the rumours are true, then this Head of State is no longer in control of state affairs nor indeed of his own vast financial empire.

All of which is worrying for Sarawak.

A starting point for addressing these matters would be for the suspended MACC report into Taib’s financial misappropriations from the state to be re-opened. The matter of the Governor’s physical and mental health and state of independence ought also to be transparently addressed.  Since his daughter has now become a public figure, she should come out with a statement of her own position on this matter and assessment of her father’s situation.

Meanwhile, the federal government must not hold back from reforming outrageous inadequacies in the anti-corruption legislation brought through by the previous BN government, which has protected corrupted ministers. Under these rules the likes of Taib only had to exit the cabinet roon during the moment decisions were made that benefited them personally, in order to avoid culpability for blatant self-enrichments.

That ‘get-out’ needs ending and the money Taib stole needs to be returned in trust to the State of Sarawak.

Grateful For Royal Pardon, But Anwar Yearns To See Civil Justice Also In His Case

Invited to speak at London’s Doughty Street Chambers, famous for its human rights focus, Anwar Ibrahim today stunned his audience by revealing that he has requested the firm to continue with the case they had drawn in his defence – even though he has now been fully pardoned and exonerated by the King.

“I want to have [my case] set out and reviewed in court and to have it judged purely on the principles of law – this would show the beginning of the rule of justice in Malaysia”, he explained.

Grateful For Royal Pardon, But Anwar Yearns To See Civil Justice Also In His Case

Head of Chambers, Geoffrey Robinson introduces Anwar

Opening the discussion on ‘The Future of the Rule of Law In Malaysia’, David Bentley QC told the audience how their chambers had been approached last year to attempt one last review of Anwar’s case, in order to see if there remained any legal channels in Malaysia to overturn the verdict.

He explained that the situation had presented itself as bleak, not least because Malaysia lacks provisions for oversight review by the Federal/supreme court to make sure justice has been served.  He said this meant that the Federal Court could not be requested to re-open the case.

David Bentley also pointed out that his team had also been troubled by the fact that, unlike for example in the UK, an acquittal in a criminal case could be challenged by the prosecution, as had taken place in Anwar’s situation.

Anwar had been found not guilty by a High Court judge, Bentley pointed out, on the grounds that the crucial DNA evidence used against him had been shown to be suspect and inadequate by two eminent Australian scientific experts. In normal circumstances this ought to have been the end of any criminal prosecution and indeed the Malaysian High Court judge had deemed it so.

However, when the case was unsually sent upwards to first the Appeal Court and then Federal Court, the London lawyers said they were dismayed to discover that the evidence of the respected scientists had been ridiculed and dismissed by the higher judges. In one ruling the DNA experts were described as “armchair observers”, said Bentley, for reasons that were not clarified.

For this reason the team from Doughty Chambers had constructed a last ditch challenge condemning the ill-informed scientific basis of the later rulings (where the judges had not themselves heard the expert evidcence).  Even so, they acknowledged that to obtain an order to re-open matters would be a cutting edge achievement in terms of Malaysian law.

The Doughty Chambers team produced their papers at the start of the year, but then found themselves over-taken by events on May 9th – for which they were delighted.

Grateful For Royal Pardon, But Anwar Yearns To See Civil Justice Also In His Case

Doughty Street team – David Bentley QC and barrister Jen Robinson

Anwar then spoke about his situation, pointing out that many others have suffered under archaic legal processes in Malaysia, which he as a politician has had a unique advantage of viewing first hand (by virtue of joining them in prison).

He made clear that he has become a passionate advocate for prison and penal reform as a result, which brought several rounds of claps.

He spoke passionately about his relief at the words of the Agong, who had assured him that the pardon had been granted not because he had the power to do so, but because of his personal and sincere belief that Anwar’s case was a travesty, so he wanted to reverse a miscarriage of justice.

It was for this reason that he was granted not merely a pardon, but a total exoneration from all charges.

Yet, in the cause of modernisation and judicial reform, Anwar then went on to explain that he was minded to encourage his London lawyers to continue to press their case through the Malaysian courts, in order to test those reforms.  Pakatan Harapan had been won the election on a reform agenda, he said, “who is prime minister doesn’t matter, we are commited”

He explained that to find justice through a reformed Malaysian system would be a test of his mission, but did not elaborate on whether such a move could be contemplated in his own case at this stage of the planned transformation to a legal system free from interference.

Grateful For Royal Pardon, But Anwar Yearns To See Civil Justice Also In His Case

Invited to speak at London’s Doughty Street Chambers, famous for its human rights focus, Anwar Ibrahim today stunned his audience by revealing that he has requested the firm to continue with the case they had drawn in his defence – even though he has now been fully pardoned and exonerated by the King.

“I want to have [my case] set out and reviewed in court and to have it judged purely on the principles of law – this would show the beginning of the rule of justice in Malaysia”, he explained.

Grateful For Royal Pardon, But Anwar Yearns To See Civil Justice Also In His Case

Head of Chambers, Geoffrey Robinson introduces Anwar

Opening the discussion on ‘The Future of the Rule of Law In Malaysia’, David Bentley QC told the audience how their chambers had been approached last year to attempt one last review of Anwar’s case, in order to see if there remained any legal channels in Malaysia to overturn the verdict.

He explained that the situation had presented itself as bleak, not least because Malaysia lacks provisions for oversight review by the Federal/supreme court to make sure justice has been served.  He said this meant that the Federal Court could not be requested to re-open the case.

David Bentley also pointed out that his team had also been troubled by the fact that, unlike for example in the UK, an acquittal in a criminal case could be challenged by the prosecution, as had taken place in Anwar’s situation.

Anwar had been found not guilty by a High Court judge, Bentley pointed out, on the grounds that the crucial DNA evidence used against him had been shown to be suspect and inadequate by two eminent Australian scientific experts. In normal circumstances this ought to have been the end of any criminal prosecution and indeed the Malaysian High Court judge had deemed it so.

However, when the case was unsually sent upwards to first the Appeal Court and then Federal Court, the London lawyers said they were dismayed to discover that the evidence of the respected scientists had been ridiculed and dismissed by the higher judges. In one ruling the DNA experts were described as “armchair observers”, said Bentley, for reasons that were not clarified.

For this reason the team from Doughty Chambers had constructed a last ditch challenge condemning the ill-informed scientific basis of the later rulings (where the judges had not themselves heard the expert evidcence).  Even so, they acknowledged that to obtain an order to re-open matters would be a cutting edge achievement in terms of Malaysian law.

The Doughty Chambers team produced their papers at the start of the year, but then found themselves over-taken by events on May 9th – for which they were delighted.

Grateful For Royal Pardon, But Anwar Yearns To See Civil Justice Also In His Case

Doughty Street team – David Bentley QC and barrister Jen Robinson

Anwar then spoke about his situation, pointing out that many others have suffered under archaic legal processes in Malaysia, which he as a politician has had a unique advantage of viewing first hand (by virtue of joining them in prison).

He made clear that he has become a passionate advocate for prison and penal reform as a result, which brought several rounds of claps.

He spoke passionately about his relief at the words of the Agong, who had assured him that the pardon had been granted not because he had the power to do so, but because of his personal and sincere belief that Anwar’s case was a travesty, so he wanted to reverse a miscarriage of justice.

It was for this reason that he was granted not merely a pardon, but a total exoneration from all charges.

Yet, in the cause of modernisation and judicial reform, Anwar then went on to explain that he was minded to encourage his London lawyers to continue to press their case through the Malaysian courts, in order to test those reforms.  Pakatan Harapan had been won the election on a reform agenda, he said, “who is prime minister doesn’t matter, we are commited”

He explained that to find justice through a reformed Malaysian system would be a test of his mission, but did not elaborate on whether such a move could be contemplated in his own case at this stage of the planned transformation to a legal system free from interference.

Anwar’s Message To The UK – Support Our Democracy And Help Us Get Our Cash Back!

Anwar Ibrahim met up with some of his most sturdy supporters from the British parliament at Westminster today (Tuesday), who had come to celebrate his freedom and return to politics.

Foremost amongst them was the current Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who consistently spoke out in support of Anwar and human rights reform in Malaysia over several years.  Also, Ann Clwyd MP, who issued a number of questions to the Foreign Office in recent months, questioning the imprisonment of Anwar and Najib’s oppressive legislation, such as his National Security Act and ‘Anti-Fake News’ law.

Yet, whilst he thanked these politicians for speaking up for democracy in Malaysia during recent hard times, the new prime minister designate delicately expressed his opinion that official British support for himself and other campaigners for reform had been markedly low key, particularly as he languished in solitary confinement.

“I might have expected more [outspoken support] from the ‘bastion of democracy’ – I mentioned it to Boris Johnson at the Foreign Office – although David Cameron did raise it, but we would have expected more”

Listeners were well aware that throughout the period the UK instead pursued a policy of close contact with Najib, whom the Foreign Office had apparently deemed untouchable.  It was a policy that resulted in a number of massive investments in the UK by Malaysian government-linked funds, such as EPF and PNB, some of which are now being questioned as potentially dubious, given the rampant corruption surrounding Najib.

Yesterday, Anwar had reportedly raised these matters in a meeting with the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson. As the previous Mayor of London, Johnson had turned the earth on what has become the capital’s most expensive ever development project at Battersea Power Station, together with Najib himself and then UK prime minister, David Cameron.

Anwar's Message To The UK - Support Our Democracy And Help Us Get Our Cash Back!

July 2013 – launch of the Malaysian backed redevelopment of Battersea

However, as the price tag has risen to over £1.6 billion (RM9 billion) on the project Anwar has insisted that the British must now assist fully in investigating the details of this investment and also to help Malaysia regain billions of losses owing to corruption such as 1MDB.

“Britain is an important ally and great friend of Malaysia and we are continuing to do [trade and investment] but certainly we want their full support to help investigate for us to regain the billions of losses back to the country.”

Introducing Anwar, Ann Clwyd said his brave ordeal and imprisonment were an inspiration to all:

“I am particularly delighted to be able to introduce you today as a free man – after you have been fully pardoned and released from prison, following the surprise victory of your Alliance of Hope coalition in the Malaysian general elections last month. You never gave up – and neither did we – and you are now back at the forefront of Malaysian politics – to change your country for the good of all its citizens.

And out of your personal suffering and unwavering commitment will no doubt come a deep understanding of the plight of many in Malaysia – who have felt for far too long ignored, marginalised and/or repressed.  I think all of us here today therefore have a lot of hope that things will now at last get better in Malaysia.

Of course, given the challenges you face, particularly in the aftermath of the 1MDB Scandal and the restriction of many basic liberties by the previous Government, we realise this won’t be an easy task.  But we will continue to support you until you are able to implement the human rights commitments set out in your coalition’s election manifesto.”

Anwar replied that this was not the time for bitterness about what had happened and the priority is Malaysia’s future.  He said he too is aware of the importance of acting fast to secure Malaysia’s new democratic progress.

This is the time, he pointed out more than once, for champions of democracy such as the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Europe to strongly support South East Asia’s new recruit to their shared democratic values.  What is most needed, he stressed, is support for the Pakatan Harapan government in its quest to build strong institutions to defend those values as quickly as possible.

“This government came on a clear platform of reform. The judiciary must be fair and the media must be free. Draconian, repressive laws must be revoked… Mahathir and I, now we are a team and we won on that platform and we will not shirk. Malaysia must transform to a mature democracy, must be just. We must rid the country of any trace of fanaticism, any purveyors of violence.

Anwar acknowledged that there had been many promising revolutions that had given rise to disappointment. He does not want there to be any neglect of Malaysia over avoiding such an outcome.

I appeal to the UK authorities, to the States and Australia to support the strenghtening and solidifying of the institutions of democracy. It is not easy to transform a judiciary which has been blatantly corrupt and compliant of the executive.  The mistake by many western nations is that while there is euphoria, ‘we are very happy for you’ [you then do nothing].  Here is a success story, here is a transformation that is commendable… but nothing is certain. It is still new, it is still fragile, so countries who are friends of democracy must assist in strengthening the institutions.  Malaysia is not a poor country, we are not asking for funds to help for food or shelter, but we need support in trying to strengthen the institutions of democracy”

It was a plea for Malaysia to receive just recognition, engagement and encouragement from the democratic family of nations in response to its huge achievement in managing peaceful transformation through an election – and it was well received today by supporters in Westminster.

Anwar's Message To The UK - Support Our Democracy And Help Us Get Our Cash Back!

Anwar with veteran human rights campaigner Ann Clwyd MP

 

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On ‘Scam’ Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Company owner, PPB man Saidi Abg Samsudin, said to benefit from his contacts with the PM’s wife Rosmah.

Sarawak Report has viewed copious documents indicating that in January 2017 the former Prime Minister personally pushed through an extraordinary RM1.25 billion project, which was  awarded to a car rental company in Bintulu, purporting to install solar energy supplies for 369 Sarawak schools in the interior.

Letters signed by Najib clearly authorised for the Ministry of Education’s strict rules on tendering and price negotiation to be over-ruled during the awarding of the project and later for payments to continue to be made, even though the terms of the contract were not being fulfilled by the company.

Ministry of Education staff who raised concerns about quality control were transferred from their posts, according to our information, and reports to the police and MACC were ignored right up until the last election.

Insiders say several companies qualified to install solar power in Malaysia were by-passed, in favour of the politically connected Sarawak company, Jepak Holdings Sdn Bhd, which lacked a track record in the field.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Jepak Holdings owner, PPB man Saidi Abg Samsudin (right) with the ex-Minister of Education, Mahdzir bin Khalid

Now, 18 months into the three year contract not a single solar power unit has yet been installed at any of the designated schools, although the money has continued to flow from the Department of Education.

Angry whistleblowers have now passed their dossier of damning information to senior anti-corruption figures in the new government, who have indicated the matter is now being investigated. As one disgusted insider told Sarawak Report:

“The company was made tycoon overnight by Najib.  This company even enjoyed a privilege never given to any companies in the world where even price comparison and negotiations were skipped. Najib’s Minutes for the Company encompasses issuing an Uncompromising Letter of Award, pressing the Ministry to forgo price negotiations and also requesting the Ministry to approve the finalized price set by the company itself.”

Solar Power Plan Or Fancy Excuse To Award A Billion Ringgit?

Particularly galling for Sarawak families is the fact that the consequences of the contract have included serious supply problems for the affected schools, many of which have been regularly cut off from electricity altogether and facing blackouts for several hours a day.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Jepak boss Saidi with PPB boss, Governor Taib Mahmud

Previous to this project, which was touted to provide cleaner, cheaper solar energy, the affected schools relied on deisel generators, which were supplied and maintained by some 30 local companies, who were required to regularly tender for the service contracts by the Ministry of Education. Jepak Holdings had held one of the contracts.

However, under the new contract Jepak Holdings took over the entire diesel supply and maintenance work for all 369 schools for an agreed lump sum of RM21.8 million a month, whilst simultaneously being tasked to convert the schools to solar hybrid systems at a rate of at least ten schools a month.

It might appear a seemingly enlightened strategy, if placed in the right hands for the right amount of money.  However, insiders say that the diesel contract was in fact heavily inflated above the actual cost of supplying the schools.

Worse, despite raking in millions, the company has failed to provide sufficient upkeep and supply of the existing diesel generators, let alone install the new solar power supplies. The schools need 2 to 4 generators, but most are currently running on just 1 genset which can only provide electricity for a maximum of 12 hours a day.  According to a source:

“to cover up their incompetency, the company just falsified claims and in at least one case forged a school principle’s signature on forms to verify the work. The principle discovered this fraud when Ministry officials conducted a random check. The school head then wrote to officially complain to Ministry, but no action was taken.  Instead, the principle was later forced to withdraw the complaint after receiving threats.  He was even told to call certain high ranking officers in Ministry and to inform them that it had just been a misunderstanding.”

Jepak Holdings

So, what appears to be the background to this chaotic situation, where over a billion ringgit of public money appears to have been thrown at making life even worse for Sarawak’s interior schools and teachers?

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Jepak Holdings is owned by PBB big-wig Saidi Abg Samsudin and his wife and daughter

Jepak Holdings is primarily a car rental company, set up in 1985, is owned by a senior PBB member Saidi Abg Samsudin, who is the Deputy Chief of the party’s Jepak, Bintulu seat.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Saidi, a PPB man from Jepak nabbed the RM1.2bn contract as elections loomed

He is right hand man to the state seat YB Talib Bin Zulpilip, a long-term party insider close to Taib Mahmud, who chaired the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation for many years.

Most crucially, perhaps, Saidi is known to have had a close relationship with Najib and Rosmah and since the issuing of the contract has also become a regular golfing companion of the Chief Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Alias bin Ahmad, whom the documents show took an unsual interest in helping force through the Sarawak schools solar project against the advice of civil servants.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Saidi and new buddy Alias bin Ahmad at the latter’s daughter’s wedding last year

Alias bin Ahmad resigned his post just before GE14, having sidelined staff whom he accused of being particularly critical of the management of the project.

It is understood that he was a personal appointee at the Ministry of Education of Najib’s, in that the prime minister had overruled the minister’s own selection for the post in favour of Alias.

Photographs show that Saidi prominently attended the wedding of Alias’s daughter in KL and closely socialised with the Chief Education Secretary.

Saidi also is understood to have supplied RM1 million that Rosmah presented to the families of victims of fire in a religious school last year and he has been photographed socialising with Rosmah’s key aide and spokesman Rizal Mansor.

The Bintulu man was equally known to have forged a close relationship with the former Eduction Minister himself, Mahdzir bin Khalid, who together with his Chief Secretary is said to have battled with civil servants to defend the contract and finally went over the department’s head to gain Najib’s approval to ignore rules on contracts.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Greeted at the Alias wedding by then Education Minister Mahdzir bin Khalid

Damning correspondence, which is now being examined by anti-corruption investigators, show that some months after the contract was initiated in 2017 Ministry of Education officials had suspended payments to Jepak Holdings, on the grounds that promised work was not being performed.

After apparent conflict between Education Department personnel and the minister and his chief secretary, who wanted the payments made, it was agreed that the minister would apply directly to Najib to gain prime ministerial authorisation to ignore the requirements of the department’s standard rules on contracts.

That authorisation was received in writing from the Prime Minister last July, which enabled Jepak Holdings to continue to receive vast sums of money, for apparently failing to perform even the most basic functions of its contract.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Letter from Education Minister last July to Najib requesting rules be by-passed on the billion ringgit contract

The key letter sent by the Education Minister to Najib Mahdzir Khalid (above) was entitled:  “Application to obtain special clearence to skip procument procedure for the jepak project of power supply”.

Najib wrote in his own hand at the top of the letter, after it was stamped as received by his office a not to Datuk Othman, Head of Procurement at the Ministry of Finance:

“Dear Datuk Othman, I agree to give special clearence as requested. Please implement it. Thank You.

The note was signed by Najib in his capacity as Minister of Finace and dated 19th July. With this written permission made in response to a request by the Minister of Education, the objections of Education Ministry staff were over-ruled and the money continued to flow into the non-performing project.

The directive continued a pattern of unorthodox procurement on the project, which correspondence shows was officially initiated by a letter sent by Jepak Holdings on November 6th 2016 to the Prime Minister himself, proposing the hugely expensive solar power project and extolling its virtues in cementing local Sarawak voters in their allegience to BN.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Letter to Najib from Jepak Nov 11th 2016

The letter was signed by Saidi and by the next day Najib had scrawled a written instruction at the top of the letter to the Education Minister. It read:

“Yb Datuk Mahdzir Khalid produce letter of award for this project based on Jepak Holdings letter immediately”

Again Najib signed the note in his capacity as Finance Minister signed 7th November.

The unusual procurement process for the enormous project continued to be rushed through with a letter of award being produced just four days later on 10th November.  And the special prime ministerial assistence continued in April the following year, when the Jepak Holdings again wrote directly to Najib asking him to prod Education Chief Secretary Alias to forward a 9,8%  deposit payment of RM130 million on the project:

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Jepak goes straight to the PM to get money out of the Education Department, which was stalling on the cash

Once again scrawling on the top of the letter Najib signed and dated his instruction to Alias:

“Datuk Alias, I agree with Jepak’s request for the payment and do it fast  without delay.”

This was despite a letter of protest having been written days before on 30th of March by the Department of Education’s procurement head, Mr Aedy bin Ramli, complaining at the company’s failure to deliver on the project.

Najib Signed Off Hundreds Of Millions On 'Scam' Solar Project For Sarawak Schools

Clear concerns in the Department of Education over the wasteful project was over-ruled by Najib

 

Conflict With Supplier

The billion ringgit fiasco seems set to focus anti-corruption investigators under the new Attorney General even more firmly on contracts relating to pliable politicians in Sabah and Sarawak and it appears the concerns over this particular project has spawned a number of related charges.

To carry out the solar side of the project, Jepak Holdings had apparently turned to a major supplier of solar panels, engaging with the company in a cosortium to supply the schools.  However, a dispute ensued with the supplier apparently alleging that Jepak misrepresented the nature of the requirements, by claiming that the Ministry of Education was expecting a hybrid solution that produced only 70% of the required power from the solar panels.

In fact, the contract stipulates that 90% of the energy must come from solar power, placing far more expense upon the supplier, which has caused deadlock on the production and supply. Under the contract at least 180 schools ought to have now receied panels, but so far none have been installed.

The supplier is believed to have filed its own suit, alleging it is owed several million.  Leaving investigators to discover why the prime minister and his advisors in the Department of Education and apparently his wife were all so keen to brush aside the rules and appoint a company run by a political ally to perform a billion dollar contract it was not equipped to carry out?

Anti-Corruption Drive Must Start With Corruption Busters

Malaysians are grateful that the newly positioned IGP identified which way the wind was blowing on election night and, together with armed forces chiefs, made it clear to the Agong that the people must not be frustrated in the appointment of the government of their choice.

For several tense hours on the night of May 9th, the ‘independent’ Election Commission had suspended the formal announcement of results, in deference to their loyalty to Najib, whilst the ex-prime minister looked for ‘solutions’ to his landslide defeat, involving anything but the return of Mahathir to power.

Those included no less than two calls by Najib to Anwar in his prison cell, seeking to carve  some sort of deal with the man he’d jailed, whilst the former ‘FLOM’ reportedly howled with tears. The panic being played out during those dark hours also involved intense discussions with palace advisors to suggest the appointment of one of the other opposition figures as prime minister – anyone who Najib thought could be more easily put under pressure than Dr M.

It was, according to well informed political insiders, decisive advice from police head, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, that broke the impasse.  The entire country knew about the opposition victory via the internet, passions were rising over the obvious disruptive tactics and the police chief did not want violence to break out on his watch.

In the early hours, therefore, the election results started to flow once more and the Agong announced that he would invite Mahthir to the palace.  Angry popular scenes were thereby averted.

It was a good move by the IGP.  Nevertheless, this top cop was appointed by a tainted government, recommended by a tainted predecessor and heads an establishment dominated for years by a culture of loyalty to a man, who believed the law was for ‘little people’ not the leaders of the country.

Who in Malaysia can forget that as late as March this year this IGP was stating that 1MDB was not a criminal matter and that there was no evidence against Jho Low?  It has to be asked how equipped is such a crime chief to assist the government in its present top tast of exposing 1MDB and retrieving all the missing cash – more importantly, how far can he be trusted?

Who Can Clean Out The Cops?

Sarawak Report reported on a number of occasions on the apparent short-comings of Fuzi’s predecessor, including inappropriate connecti0ns with a notorious organiser of a police protection racket and businesses involving the sale of firearms, which he himself must licence.

Despite the failure of the previous IGP to deny these matters, Prime Minister Najib had attempted to extend his tenure beyond GE14 and his normal retirement.  Loyalty to Najib was all that mattered. It was IGP Khalid Baker, who had tipped off the premier in 2015 that he was facing charges drawn up by the AG over his thefts from 1MDB/SRC.

In the end it was Khalid himself who bowed to pressure and stepped down, paving the succession of the head of Special Branch, Fuzi, to replace him shortly before GE14.

They are not known to be stupid in SB, hence the right call on election night.  However, the new corruption-busting administration must now decide if Fuzi and his top associates, all close to Najib, are the best men to carry out the much needed clear-up of a police force that has been allowed to descend from being custodians of the law into a dangerous threat all on their watch?

Fuzi currently tolerates one Noor Rashid as his Deputy IGP, for example, another crony extended beyond his retirement by Najib just weeks before the election.  Insiders have just passed to Sarawak Report damning evidence of an episode that has stained Noor’s reputation amongst his men, but which the police establishment seems to have chosen to ignore.

In 2015 it appears that Noor’s car was stopped in Cheras, whilst being driven by his son and was allegedly found to contain illegal substances.  The upshot? Far from the alleged perpetrator being duly charged, it was the police officers involved who received punishment for stopping the ‘wrong’ car and reporting the situation to their colleagues.

These officers were all later transferred out of their jobs, having received a warning letter that appeared to claim that they had no authority to stop or check the DIGP’s car – even though it was privately registered, so they were not aware of who the owner was (not that the DIGP or his family should be above the law in the first place):

Anti-Corruption Drive Must Start With Corruption Busters

Letter chastising officers for stopping Noor’s car

Anti-Corruption Drive Must Start With Corruption Busters

Signed

The letter translates:

This dept has conducted disciplinary investigation on the issue of detaining and inspecting a car owned by the deputy inspector-general that was driven by his son at 7 mile Jalan Cheras, Kuala Lumpur on 13 october 2015 around 1830 hours and the dissemination via whatsapp application by members of the patrol car branch of the Cheras district police hq, Kuala lumpur.

2. The result of the investigation found that you had broadcasted the number of the car owned by the deputy inspector-general to the whatsapp group “NKRA MPW Series 1/2014” when you have no authority to verify the matter, which led to negative comments from members of the WA group. Your conduct contravenes the Standing Order of the Inspector-General of Police A 110 paragraph 8.1.3.1 which is making false statement towards any members of the force and paragraph 8.1.40 on authority to verify or disseminate any information related to the police force or other matters related to the force or any other matters that should be kept secret. Your conduct can be understood as ‘irresponsible’ under Rules 4(2)(g) Public Servant Rules (Conduct and discipline) 1993.

3. After examining the overall facts of the case, I decided not to take disciplinary actions towards you this time, but instead, issue this ‘ reprimand letter’ as a reminder to be more professional and having integrity while executing your duties and responsibilities. You are required to obey every instructions and rules of the force from time to time. Please use this opportunity to change your attitude by giving proactive and excellent service.

4. This department will not hesitate to take stern actions if its proven that you commit offence of the rules and laws in future.

On behalf of Director, Integrity and standards compliance dept, Bukit aman

There are those in the police force who feel that the episode imparts an impression that senior officers and their relatives are immune and the public is likely to be likewise concerned at this apparent attitude by top brass.

There are further concerns in that the officer understood to be in prime position to eventually replace this Deputy IGP is none other than the former CID chief Mohammed Salleh, who was revealed as one of the top cops in regular telephone contact with the leader of the so-called ‘Ops Gopi’ protection racket by exposes in this website last year.

He was transferred to nacotics in the aftermath of Sarawak Report’s revelations that (like the then IGP himself) Salleh had received several calls from the suspected ringleader of a gambling and massage parlour extortion syndicate, Gopinathan Krishnan, and had rung him back just hours before ‘Gopi’ was arrested and allegedly confessed his role to MACC investigators.

Large sums of money were also seized in this notorious case.  However, in the end it appears no charges were pressed against the crooks, who had been so apparently caught ‘red handed’.  The case appears to have simply melted away, not least owing to pressure from then prime minister Najib, our sources have told us.

Gopi has been released, probes into senior police personnel have been dropped and no charges have been pressed. Now, Mohammed Salleh is being widely touted to be Fuzi’s favourit as the next DIGP, which would involve him leap-frogging over more senior and respected officers.

Under the new order Malaysians will be expecting an untainted police force, starting at the top.  Sarawak Report suggests that the clear out needs to start immediately to prevent growing obstruction of anti-corruption measures in Malaysia and the danger of continuing high level collusion with members of the past regime, who may be seeking to distabilise the new government.

After all, if junior police officers can be moved out for stopping a Deputy IGP’s car and removing substances, then senior officers with dubious connections to gangster activity ought likewise to be moved aside and certainly not promoted.

Victory Has Brought Harapan Unsavoury New ‘Allies’ In Sarawak

Making his dramatic ‘hop’ today from one side of the political divide to the other, Sarawak Chief Minister Abang Jo fully confirmed the view that his party, PBB, does not regard itself as being representative of the people of the state, but of the powers that be over in KL – telling the Sarawak people what to do.

This political ‘change of heart’ was not about manifestos or agendas or political values, it was about his well founded fear of wipe-out at the next state election, now that his party has lost its powerful federal friends.  For decades PBB has wielded the big stick over communities in Sarawak, reminding them that their BN coalition represented the guys who control the army and the police across the water.

Under Najib, their own man (Fadillah Yusof) even sat in the top chair at the Public Works Department signing off all the big contracts, whilst his businessman brother Bustari ‘interfaced’ with myriad government contracts ‘of interest’ to the PM. So, PBB controlled the strings to the purse as well.

Sarawakians and the present local opposition parties will be asking how this fits with the reform agenda of Pakatan Harapan, which PBB/BN bitterly opposed at GE14?  They will also be asking what intention any of this shows of a PBB state government protecting local interests against the interests of a cash strapped federal government in KL?

Of course, this all remains half-baked manoeuvring, not least with the party’s own Secretary General making clear he was not aware of the new arrangement!

So far, according to reports, it is merely a question of the Chief Minister having informed Prime Minister Mahathir of his decision to move over to support him (certainly in the dictatorial days of Taib Mahmud this would have been enough).  In return, the Harapan leader has made clear he would be happy to have PBB voting with him on a federal level, not least since it would give him a 2/3 majority.

However, in terms of formally joining the Harapan coalition, matters promise to be thornier. What are the long-term opposition folk in Sarawak, who have long worked for parties like PKR and DAP going to say when it comes down to parcelling out seats locally at the state election?

The constituent parties of Harapan first came together having signed a ‘Declaration’ on ideals, which PBB notably refused to sign up to – in Sarawak’s case the issue of oil and resource justice is key in that respect.

Politics, even for cynics, has to revolve round stated principles and ideas, so why should the state parties of Harapan agree to just absorb a bunch of visceral opponents, whom they believe have wrecked the country for decades, simply because those opponents fear losing next time round?

Abang Jo and his friends want to keep holding positions of power and to continue to be the top guns in Sarawak, for reasons of pure self-interest, so they are asking to join the winning team, straight after they lost a vital match.  But, they are likely to find the positions are filled and that their skills in dirty tackles are not required.

These political ‘frogs’ may not care about principles and policies (as opposed to positions, profit and projects, which they do care about) but their Harapan opponents have fought for principles for years and will not just give them up.

Murder Cover-Up Case Nets Najib, Rosmah and Lawyers Cecil Abraham & Shafee Abdullah

The significance of a court ruling in KL today was perhaps muted by the extraordinary excitement of these moving times.  However, that ruling has opened the floodgates against a cover-up exercise that has strained the Najib administration for over a decade.

Sarawak Report has been covering the dogged litigation of widow Selvi Bala and her former lawyer Americk Sidhu (now himself a witness in the case) against 9 defendants, whom she holds responsible for blackmailing her husband PI (private investigator) Bala after he tried to speak out as a witness over the murder of the Mogolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Bala, like others, had considered the trial a travesty designed to protect ‘high level’ individuals caught up in Altantuya’s threats to expose both her knowledge about kickbacks on a French submarine deal with the former Defence Minister and later PM, Najib Razak, and also her alleged affairs with Najib and his proxy ‘defence consultant’ Razak Baginda.

The private investigator had issued a statutory declaration to the effect that both Baginda and Altantuya had told him that Najib had been her lover and that he was certain that Najib’s two bodyguards, who were found guilty of shooting then blowing up Altantuya’s body, would not have done so without orders.

Murder Cover-Up Case Nets Najib, Rosmah and Lawyers Cecil Abraham & Shafee Abdullah

Deepak Jaikashan – ready to tell all and about to face the court

Cover-Up

Today’s court hearing went to the heart of the cover-up that allegedly followed Bala’s declaration back in 2008, which Najib and his lawyers had managed to keep the matter out of court by one method or another right up until the last election.

Selvi’s case was that 9 defendants had conspired to force her husband Bala to change his declaration, in order to leave out Najib’s name.  These defendants were primarily Najib and his wife Rosmah, two of Najib’s brothers, a business partner of Rosmah, Deepak Jaikashan, (whom she used as fixer for the occasion) and some lawyers, primarily Cecil Abraham and his son Sunil, who were close to Najib.

Together, Selvi claimed, they had threatened, blackmailed and bribed Bala to flee the country with his family, after a night during which he was forced to sign a new declaration drawn up by Cecil Abraham and son Sunil. In 2013 Bala returned and retracted that second declaration, shortly before dying of a heart attack.

During the course of Selvi’s case for compensation, owing to the impact on her family, all of these defendants successfully pressured the courts to strike out the case against them (on highly controversial grounds accepted by Najib’s Chief Justice Raus) except for Deepak, who had since 2012 made clear he was prepared to back up Bala’s story.

This meant that Selvi’s litigation was continuing throughout last year, but against Deepak only.

Deepak’s Exposure 

Thus by 2017 Deepak alone was defending Selvi’s demands for compensation, keeping the case hanging on by a thread.  Nevertheless, the world could see that if Selvi gained a ruling in her favour by the court against this last defendant, then that judgement would confirm the complicity of all the others, including Najib and Rosmah, in the shocking cover-up of evidence in a murder trial that pointed heavily towards their additional complicity either in that killing or, at the very least, in the failure to prosecute those responsible for ordering the death of a woman who was blackmailing Najib and his proxy.

As Sarawak Report exclusively reported at the time, Deepak had no desire to plead other than guilty for his part, since he plainly wished for the greater guilt of those who had engaged him to fix the cover-up to be exposed.

We published an exclusive copy of the original defence drawn up by Deepak’s lawyers, which acknowledged all of Selvi’s allegations and named Najib and Rosmah as the “masterminds and beneficiaries” of the conspiracy to cover-up PI Bala’s evidence.

However, moments from putting that document into court last November, Najib’s agents intevened in the form of another lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, who together with the Tabung Haji Chairman, Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim, liased between Deepak and the Prime Minister to force a change of story.

As Deepak has informed Sarawak Report, Najib was abusing his powers as PM/Finance Minister to hold huge tax bills over Deepak’s head, which he offered to drop if Deepak cooperated.  Ironically, those bills were linked to land deals that Deepak had conducted on behalf of Najib’s own wife Rosmah, for whom he was acting as a proxy, says the businessman.

To get off millions in tax demands, Deepak agreed to play ball and allow Shafee to place a new defence that denied all Selvi’s allegations.  However, right up to the election Deepak and his ‘new lawyer’ Shafee wrangled with each other and the court, finding excuses to avoid a hearing where Deepak could be cross examined about his change of tune.

What a Difference an Election Makes

When the case returned to court after the election what a different story Deepak had to tell.  In an exclusive interview with Sarawak Report last month the businessman had already confided that the endless hospital appointments, designed to keep him out of the witness box to avoid embarrassment before polling day, were of course a sham.

Azeez, says Deepak, had organised a doctor to provide a certificate and place him overnight in hospital, a matter he conspired over with Shafee. Deepak has played recordings to Sarawak Report of those conversations between himself, lawyer Shafee and the agent of Najib, Azeez, where the fake hospital appointments were arranged.

Today, again before the judge, Deepak admitted that his first and not the second defence devised by Shafee was the honest statement he plans to stand by.  He also made clear he had never formally appointed Shafee, who had represented him only through blackmail.

Both these points were accepted by the judge, leaving Deepak to face cross-examination on the case at the next hearings, as well as Shafee himself and the other witnesses named in the case.

Face The Music

The consequences for lawyer Shafee, now accused of faking hospital appointments and blackmailing a reluctant client on behalf of a separate interest, namely Najib and Rosmah, the prospect of the later stages of this civil trial are dismal.  Not least, because Shafee is likely to be also asked about a combined payment by Najib of RM9 million out of 1MDB money, for services not yet explained.

And what about two other Najib associated lawyers in the case?  Selvi’s petition stated that on the night her husband was blackmailed into changing his statutory declaration, in order to remove all reference to Najib, the prominent lawyer Cecil Abraham and his son Sunil joined Bala and Deepak overnight in a hotel room at the Hilton Sentral hotel in KL, in order to draw up that spurious new document.

Deepak, in his first and now revived defence, admitted this claim to be true and confirmed the role of the two lawyers, who had been called into the matter by Najib together with two of his brothers, who helped handle the situation that night. Americk Sidhu is expected to put in a complaint to the Bar Association shortly regarding this disturbing conduct.

Given the extensive and unhealthy ties between Najib and these lawyers, the present reported role of the father and son as key advisors to the Agong, currently resisting the appointment of the new prime minister’s choice of Attorney General is disturbing.  Are they representing the interests of the present administration or the old PM?

Most at risk from the developments in this marathon case, launched by a single widow to avenge her dead husband and compensate her family, are the former PM himself and his wife, described by the defendant himself as ‘masterminds and beneficiaries’ of the ‘conspiracy’ to silence Bala.

For ten years this couple have moved heaven and high water to hold this case at bay, now they no longer have the power to do so and the reason for their apparent attempts to obstruct the course of justice seem set to become fully known to all.