Malaysia

Suaram activist summoned over Scorpene fund-raising dinner

A human rights activist from Suaram has been summoned by the police over a fund-raising dinner it held to support its legal action in France on the Scorpene submarines.
"I don't understand what is wrong with having a fundraising dinner, unless the government is concerned about more details being divulged in the on-going inquiry in France," Suaram secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel told The Malaysian Insider today.
Gabriel said she had been informed that she would be served with a notice on Monday compelling her to give her statement about the dinner held at the Petaling Jaya civic centre on July 19.
"Suaram was harassed last year and it appears as if the same thing is happening this year as the government is worried about what other new information will emerge from the inquiry," said Gabriel.
Last year in September, it was probed by the Registrar of Societies after the government alleged the NGO received foreign funding.
Gabriel said someone had lodged a police report over the dinner, which was attended by 750 people.
She said the dinner had been held to raise funds for the ongoing inquiry in France, where startling revelations about Malaysia's purchase of Scorpene submarines have emerged.
Prior to the dinner event, Suaram had fired public imagination when it said the dinner would feature a surprise witness who will share details of the alleged scandal involving the purchase of two Scorpene submarines 11 years ago.
The human rights group had filed a suit against French-based naval defence firm DCNS, for allegedly paying 114.9 million euro (RM452 million) in illegal commissions to Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which is partly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda, a close confidante of the then Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The surprise witness at the dinner turned out to be Americk Singh, who was the lawyer for the late private investigator, P Balasubramaniam.
Balasubramaniam, or PI Bala as he was known, was hired by political analyst Abdul Razak to deal with Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu when she was in Malaysia in 2006.
Americk told the dinner audience that the two bodyguards of Najib found guilty of Altantuya's murder in 2006 were the scapegoats for the Mongolian model’s murder.
Although Abdul Razak was jointly charged for the murder with the policemen, he was acquitted.
But last week in a twist, the architect of the Scorpene deal Jasbir Singh Chahl told the government-backed New Straits Times that Altantuya had never been part of the Scorpene deal, prompting Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to accuse Suaram of spreading lies.
Suaram responded by pointing out that in 2002 Jasbir was replaced by Abdul Razak, suggesting that Jasbir could not have been privy to events during the time in question. – August 3, 2013.

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