Najib denies power abuse… again
KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 – Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak again denied any abuse of power in in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, telling Barisan Nasional MPs today that his associate Abdul Razak Baginda would be free if there was any interference.
“Najib said there is no abuse of power. If he did, Razak would be free,” a BN lawmaker told The Malaysian Insider after the breakfast meeting outside Parliament with Najib who, as BN chief whip, holds regular strategy meetings with the coalition’s lawmakers.
The deputy prime minister made similar denials two days ago as he tries to quell a fresh storm of allegations swirling around the case after Malaysia Today carried a report detailing what it alleged was an exchange of text messages between Najib and prominent lawyer Datuk Shafee Abdullah.
The lawyer initially represented Abdul Razak who was eventually charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of Altantuya in 2006.
Opposition politicians and critics have seized on text message exchanges published in the Malaysia Today news portal, whose editor Raja Petra Kamarudin is detained under the Internal Security Act and is facing criminal charges of sedition and criminal defamation related to the murder case.
In one SMS, Najib allegedly tells the lawyer that Razak – his advisor – “will face a tentative charge but all is not lost”.
Malaysia Today said this message raises some questions about Najib’s role in the case. “Why did he mention ‘tentative’ charge and that ‘all is not lost’ for RB (Razak Baginda)? How would Najib know this before Razak was charged? These are important questions which will have ramifications, not just on this case but far beyond,” a posting on the website said.
Meanwhile, Najib also told Umno lawmakers present at the meeting to reply and rebut allegations with substance, noting that some of them have done well with amply researched materials in the on-going budget debate.
“He told us that accusations such as the Eurocopter deal cannot be left unchallenged as public perception is important,” another BN lawmaker told The Malaysian Insider, referring to opposition claims that the recently-announced Eurocopter contract to replace the air force Nuri helicopters was rushed and too pricey.
Najib, who is aiming to replace Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as prime minister next march, also cautioned Umno MPs not to hurt the feelings and sensitivities of lawmakers from BN component parties in their parliament replies as relations in the BN are tense following some racial slurs and statements by the Malay lawmakers.
How in hell.. heavens will NTR rebut and deflect the recent allegations of the:
a) ‘private sms’ exchanged with a defense lawyer involved in a murder case (which he himself did not deny took place), and
B) the premature signing of a LOI to purchase military hardware from Eurocopter two days prior to a portfolio swap with AAB?
The Eurocopter deal is apparently under investigation by the PAC while AAB will be seeking clarification from the Defense secretary. The big question is – how could the LOI be issued when a full evaluation including mandatory test flights are prerequisite standard operating procedure in such matters? Malaysia-Today broke the story on 12th October ’08 with a full disclosure contained in a 5 page letter from one of the participating tenderer.
For the LOI to be signed two days prior to AAB’s entry looks deceptively suspicious considering he (AAB) was the person making the announcement. AAB was quoted in the MSM to have said ” We have signed a Letter of Intent with Eurocopter. Mindef has taken into consideration its needs and Eurocopter presented the best option among all the bidders.”
For the moment, all queries on the matter are met with the standard response, namely “We will check and announce the facts later”.
Therefore, if AAB was not thoroughly informed on the Eurocopter issue by NTR, was the former being set up by the latter to take the fallout when details of irregularities surfaces (as in the case with Mentari’s letter)? After all, with AAB’s pre-determined exit from public office by March ’09, NTR would have preferred any negative publicity be ‘assigned’ to the new Defense minister since nobody, especially from UMNO, would touch an outgoing lame duck politician.
On the other hand, AAB could verify the procedures leading to the LOI signing (i.e. two days prior to his appointment) and ascertain whether in fact a full evaluation was done (including test flights) to come clean on the matter.
And subsequently, RECONSIDER his full confidence on his number two because I don’t think AAB would like the spectre of a murder case to be linked to his legacy, if any.
Lastly, don’t you find it strange that the Eurocopter matter is supposedly under investigations by ‘independent’ state agencies whilst the ‘private sms’ issue has been conveniently ignored by UMNO/BN politicians.
Ain’t life cheap.. despite the facts?