Anwar demands NSTP apology, damages over forced SD claim
KUALA LUMPUR, June 25 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim demanded today the News Straits Times and Berita Harian apologise and pay damages over articles claiming the opposition leader ordered a former Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) investigations director to clear him of stashing away RM3 billion in offshore accounts.
The former deputy prime minister also demanded the two newspapers under the Umno-controlled New Straits Times Press (NSTP) group publish a denial by Abdul Razak Idrus and ensure “false” allegations related to the money purportedly hidden away in 20 master accounts are not repeated.
“Abdul Razak has now denied the allegation he was ordered by Anwar (picture) to make the statutory declaration (SD) clearing him of wrongdoing,” Anwar’s lawyer R. Sivarasa told a press conference.
The PKR political bureau member said the former graftbuster sent a text message to the NST and Berita Harian, and in particular one of the writers of the article, Farrah Naz Karim, saying:
“Saya pula bukan diarah oleh DSAI tetapi saya diminta oleh KP SPRM untuk elakkan beliau atau pegawainya disapina oleh DSAI sebagai saksi plaintiff dlm civil suit terhadap NST yg didengar pd akhir Nov 2009 (I was not ordered by Anwar but asked by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief commissioner to avoid him or his officers being subpoenaed by Anwar as plaintiff witnesses in the civil suit against NST which was heard at the end of November 2009).”
The letter of demand, issued through PKR vice-president N. Surendran’s law firm, states that the NST’s “SD done on Anwar’s order” and BH’s “Anwar suruh sumpah” articles on June 21 “are completely false, malicious and defamatory.”
The article in the NST claimed that Abdul Razak told the daily from Indonesia that he was asked by then ACA chief Datuk Seri Ahmad Said Hamdan to stand in for the commission when the latter was subpoenaed by Anwar in a suit the opposition leader had initiated.
“Razak, who left the service in 2004, said as he was subpoenaed as the plaintiff’s witness, he acceded to Anwar’s request to draw up the SD as he claimed Anwar had refused to put his statement down in an affidavit,” said the report.
It also quoted Abdul Razak as saying “he (Anwar) was afraid that I would turn hostile, so I was asked to make the SD and I tendered the SD when I was in the witness box.”
The ACA was the country’s anti-graft body until it was replaced by the MACC in 2009.
Anwar had on June 13 issued a demand warning the NST to apologise and retract a report claiming he had ordered the chief executive of a bank to transfer public money into private accounts, or face court action for defamation.
The former Umno deputy president-turned-PKR de facto leader was referring to the NST’s front-page report the day before titled “Anwar gave order”.
Anwar, who was also finance minister before being sacked from government in 1998, has come under attack in the Barisan Nasional-friendly mainstream media over allegations he owned 20 master accounts worth RM3 billion while in power.
The MACC has also been directed to reopen investigations into former Bank Negara Malaysia assistant governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid’s allegations made nearly 13 years ago.
Anwar’s letter of demand also demanded a reply within 24 hours, failing which, he would sue.