Indian Malaysian sleuth joins forces with Ibrahim (Roundup)

July 3rd, 2008 - 10:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Kuala Lumpur, July 3 (IANS) In a fresh twist to l’affaire Anwar Ibrahim, an ethnic Indian private investigator has joined forces with him to allege Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak’s interference in the murder trial of a Mongolian woman. Razak denied the charge, leveled in a statutory declaration made by investigator P. Balasubramaniam, terming it “a red herring” floated by Ibrahim, himself under probe for allegedly sodomising an aide last week.

The charge is not new in that Razak had earlier denied having met the Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu, or having a hand in her murder some months ago.

A blogger, Raja Petra had made this charge earlier for which he was arrested last month and later released on bail amidst high drama.

Razak said the charge, this time leveled by Balasubramaniam was a pack of “malicious lies” aimed at smearing his image.

“I am very sure this action is a desperate move by Anwar Ibrahim to divert attention from the sodomy allegation he is facing,” he told a press conference that was attended by scores of journalists at his office in parliament here Thursday.

Najib said what was important now was “not issues raised as a diversion”. The people wanted to know whether the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) advisor (Anwar Ibrahim ) had committed the offence (sodomy) as alleged, official news agency Bernama reported.

“The responsible parties must be ready to face the consequences if it is found laws had been broken,” NST Online quoted him as saying.

Asked whether he would be making a police report against Balasubramaniam or take legal action against him, Razak, said he left it to the police to take action.

Razak is the second most important person in the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and also the deputy of the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.

Ibrahim heads the Pakatan Rakyat opposition alliance and has been threatening to bring down the Badawi government.

Asked if he would describe the current as a personal attack on him by Ibrahim, Razak said: “The question is why it surfaces now, after the sodomy complaint was made (against Ibrahim).

“Suddenly, everyone has come under attack, the Inspector-General of Police (Tan Sri Musa Hassan), Attorney-General (Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail), I, why now?”.

The deputy prime minister said he did not wish to speak on the ongoing murder trial of the Mongolian woman since the matter was sub judice.

Razak, along with Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, has been dealing with the Ibrahim controversy, day to day.

The duo had assured full safety to Ibrahim after he took refuge in the Turkish embassy here last Sunday, alleging that his life was in trouble.

In a repeat of 1998, when he was jailed, Ibrahim is again facing the charge of sodomising an aide. He has vehemently denied this and has termed it a conspiracy to prevent his return to parliament in a bye-election.

Also reprised is the diplomatic row between Malaysia and the United States after the latter cautioned against the “politically motivated” probe against Ibrahim.

A statement last Tuesday by US State Department spokesman Tom Casey pointing to the possibility of “a pattern” in what happened to Ibrahim in 1998 and what is happening now has incensed the Malaysian government.

“America should not interfere with a legal exercise in our jurisdiction. This matter (of Ibrahim’s sodomy case) is still under investigation and we have not yet come to a conclusion,” Home Minister Albar, who was the country’s foreign minister till March, said in parliament Wednesday.

He called Ibrahim “a glitch” for having “complained” to the US.

Ibrahim, however, remains defiant. His plans to “take over” the government by toppling Badawi remain “on track,” PKR vice president Azmin Ali said.

Ibrahim, who addressed a 15,000-strong rally of party supporters earlier this week, is to hold at least three more rallies as part of the offensive.

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