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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MACC want PI Bala to lodge official request

By G. Manimaran

KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) is seeking a formal request from private investigator P. Balasubramaniam to enable the graft busters to probe allegations he has made about the circumstances surrounding the death of Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The missing private detective has made a series of sensational claims that Najib knew murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu and his brother Nazim and a businessman linked to the prime minister’s wife made him retract a statutory declaration on the case.

Earlier this month, Balasubramaniam (picture), who is now overseas, had said he was prepared to give a statement to MACC.

The MACC had, in a letter dated Dec 17 to the private detective's lawyer Americk Sidhu, asked Balasubramaniam to deal formally with the agency.

"The MACC have contacted me by sending a letter to my office in KL requesting that I correspond with them on a formal basis before they respond to my original offer of arranging an appointment for them to interview Bala.

"Their letter to my office was dated 17th Dec and arrived on the 21st," Americk said in an email response to The Malaysian Insider.

Balasubramaniam had expressed his intention to cooperate with MACC in an email to the agency earlier this month. On Dec 4, PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin lodged a police report over Balasubramaniam's allegations and handed over a recording of an interview with the private investigator to the authorities.

After a number of blogs and news portals published the interview conducted with Balasubramaniam and his lawyers in Singapore, a number of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders had lodged reports with the MACC.

Balasubramaniam, in his original email to MACC, had listed down conditions for his questioning by the authorities, including a requirement that it be conducted either in Singapore or London.

Asked today if he thought the MACC's response was positive, Americk said:

"I am not sure whether we can consider the MACC's response as positive as all they have asked is for me to reiterate what I have stated earlier in a formal format.

"In this day and age I am not sure why the MACC consider an email not 'formal'."

Datuk Seri Najib Razak has frostily ignored Balasubramaniam’s claims that his architect brother was allegedly involved in the private investigator’s disappearance and payoff for his silence in the Altantuya murder case.

The Umno president has previously denied knowing Altantuya, who was killed in October 2006, despite claims by Bala and popularised by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin. Najib’s close friend, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, was acquitted of charges of plotting her murder while two elite policemen are to hang for the offence. They are appealing the sentence.

In an interview with Bala carried in Raja Petra’s Malaysia-Today.net news portal, the private investigator claimed he met architect Nazim, a younger brother of Najib, last year.

Bala claimed the meeting had been arranged by a carpet businessman identified as Deepak Jaikishan, whom the investigator claimed was a close associate of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the PM’s wife.

He also alleged that he was offered RM5 million to retract his first statutory declaration and that his family was threatened if he did not do it.

The former Special Branch policeman further claimed he was forced to sign a second pre-prepared statutory declaration which he claims to have never read and was paid RM750,000 after he disappeared.

So far, no one knows the whereabouts of the private investigator but he claimed he returned three times to Malaysia this year since fleeing in July 2008 after issuing contradictory statutory declarations. Police are seeking him although he claimed to have given them his statement in Bangkok before travelling to India.

Pakatan Rakyat has used the Altantuya case in some of its campaigns in the nine by-elections since Election 2008, winning seven in most opposition-held constituencies. The only Barisan Nasional seat it wrested effectively was the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Messi wins FIFA World player of the year award

ZURICH, Dec 22 — Lionel Messi became the first Argentine to win the Fifa World Player of the Year award yesterday.

The 22-year-old forward, who also landed the European Footballer of the Year prize earlier this month, picked up the accolade after collecting four major titles with Barcelona — the Champions League, the Club World Cup, La Liga and the King's Cup.

"This finishes a magnificent year for Barcelona, my team mates and for me," said Messi after receiving the trophy from UEFA president and former France international Michel Platini.

The Argentine, who joined Barcelona as a 13-year-old in 2000, claimed 1,073 points in a poll of 147 national team coaches and captains.

Portugal and Real Madrid winger Cristiano Ronaldo, last year's winner, was a distant second with 352 points followed by Spain and Barcelona midfielder Xavi (196).

Messi was leading scorer in the 2008-09 Champions League, hitting nine goals including one in the 2-0 final win over Manchester United.

He also notched the extra-time winner in the 2-1 Club World Cup final victory over Estudiantes in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Messi's vote appeared to be entirely based on his club form as his performances for Argentina, under coach Diego Maradona, were largely disappointing.

Argentina struggled to qualify for the World Cup and their results this year included a 6-1 hammering in Bolivia and defeats by Paraguay and Ecuador.

Before the ceremony, Messi told reporters he could not explain why he failed to perform at the same level for his country.

"I don't know," he said. "I try to do the same as I do for Barcelona. But the World Cup qualifiers are complicated, sometimes it's difficult to play and it was a big effort for us to qualify.

"I believe the World Cup could be completely different for us ... it could be better for me and Argentina."

The Fifa award was introduced in 1991. — Reuters
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pua slams government ‘bailout’ of Syabas

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 — DAP chief economist Tony Pua slammed what he described today as an unjustifiable “bailout” of another private company with close ties to the government, this time involving the Selangor water supply company Syabas.

A press statement issued by the Malaysian Rating Company (MARC) yesterday revealed that Syabas, while in financial distress, has been given the AA rating after news that it will receive RM330 million from the federal government.

The statement added that the loan will be unsecured and interest-free and is expected to be given to Syabas by year-end.

The money will be used to repay Syabas' outstanding debts and rectify its cashflow problems.

Speaking to a press conference at Parliament lobby, Pua (picture) expressed shock at the revelation made by MARC and said that the bailout could not have come at a worst time.

"This is a shocking development and we must ask the federal government why it is using taxpayers’ monies to provide life-support to a private company?

"Even when the government forked out RM4.6 billion in soft loans to Port Klang Free Zone, which is a 100 per cent government entity, a 4 per cent interest rate was charged," said Pua, the Petaling Jaya Utara MP.

PAS central committee member and Kuala Selangor MP Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, who was also at the press conference, said the interest-free loan is akin to giving a Christmas present to Syabas.

"Syabas has been given a present in the form of lucrative loan terms by the federal government which is now a Father Christmas," he added.

Syabas is currently at loggerheads with the Pakatan Rakyat-led Selangor government over water supply rights in the state.

The Selangor government is attempting to take over the rights in its bid to restructure the water industry as part of its promise to provide cheaper water to its electorate within the state.

But the Barisan Nasional-led federal government seems keen on awarding the contract to Syabas despite the company's ailing finances, and Pua and other opposition lawmakers want to know why.

"We will make a last-ditch appeal to the Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to intervene to revive the water restructuring exercise under the state government to ensure that the rakyat's interest is fully protected," said Pua. (TMI)
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Only 45% Malaysians are happy with Najib

Only 45% Malaysians are happy with Najib
Oh, what a diversion: Shoot those who back Chin Peng’s return. But we do not know how many really want him back. But we do know how many want Najib to leave: Only 45 percent happy with Najib. I leave it to you to decide: which is more serious?