Zahid owes Malaysians an explanation and apology for the canard that “several Malaysians” had directed Justo to tamper with the PSI emails and documents when Justo had not done so

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report and allegation of July 3, 2015 that Malaysian government investigators have found US$700 million (RM2.6 billion) deposited into Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s personal bank accounts in AmBank in March 2013 just before the dissolution of Parliament and the holding of the 13th General Election was a stone that killed two birds – both a boon and a bane for the UMNO/BN coalition.

It was boon for the besieged MARA Chairman, Datuk Seri Annuar Musa, the Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Salleh Apdal and to a lesser degree, the Prime Minister himself for it completely overshadowed the breaking story of the RM100 – 200 million MARA Inc property corruption in Melbourne.

Calls for the sacking of the MARA Chairman and Board of Directors for their gross negligence and irresponsibility over MARA Inc’s property corruption scandal in Australia were completely drowned by the tidal waves created by the WSJ report. (Has Annuar, whose tenure as MARA Chairman ended yesterday, been rewarded with re-appointment as MARA Chairman?)

But it was more of a bane for the powers-that-be in the UMNO/BN coalition for it virtually killed the painstakingly-orchestrated campaign to turn the tables after some five years of being under attack on the 1MDB scandal and to go on the offensive by fully exploiting the arrest in Thailand of the Swiss national and former IT executive of PetroSaudi International (PSI), Xavier Andre Justo on June 22.

On 24th June in Malacca, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that based on information obtained from the Thai authorities investigating the case, several Malaysians were alleged to have directed Justo to manipulate and tamper with information stolen from his former employers, PSI.

He said the government may arrest these Malaysians and allow their extradition to Thailand, but added that there had yet to be any formal request for extradition.

This has now proved to be a lie, as the Thai Police have said that Justo had admitted to the Thai police blackmailing of PSI, using the thousands of emails and documents stolen from the company, but he denied tampering with the documents.

The Royal Thai Police Commissioner of Office of Information and Communication Technology Lt Gen Prawut Thavornsiri said on Thursday: “He didn’t make any changes to the documents and sent the original documents (to the buyer) as digital copies.”

For weeks, the Home Minister, the Inspector-General of Police and the Umno/BN Government generally made fools of themselves with the story of “blackmail by tampered email”, as they seem incapable of understanding that there could be no blackmail if the emails had been “tampered” or doctored – as any such “blackmail” could be simply foiled by denying their truth or veracity.

Now that the truth are finally established, that Justo never tampered with the PSI emails and documents, and the tale of “several Malaysians alleged to have directed Justo to manipulate and tamper with information stolen from his former employers, PSI” was a pure concoction and figment of imagination, Zahid owe an explanation and apology to Malaysians for this canard and lie.

How did this lie come about. Was it concocted by Zahid himself, or was he misled by the Inspector-General of Police or some other Police officer without checking on its veracity?

Shouldn’t someone take responsibility for this canard and lie and pay the price for it?

It does not escape notice that the UMNO mouthpiece, New Straits Times, had been carrying out a blitzkrieg campaign of demonization and falsehood after its “exclusive” report on Justo’s arrest in Koh Samui on June 22, as for instance, saying:

“Based on several accounts, Justo allegedly got hold of thousands of corporate documents and emails, and later sold them by way of doctoring and tampering so as to create value for the higher bidder.” (June 29, 2015);

“He (Justo) was also alleged to have tampered with certain e-mails to paint PetroSaudi’s business relationship with 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in a bad light”. (June 30, 2015).

“Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said they had requested a chance to question Justo over claims that he had tampered with certain emails to put PetroSaudi’s image and that of 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in a negative light.” (July 1, 2015).

As the repeated offender in spreading this canard and lie that Justo had tampered with emails and documents, New Straits Times is not displaying journalism at its best but gutter falsehood as its worst!

This is why the editorial comment of the NSTP Group Managing Editor A. Jalil Ahmad last Sunday (July 12, 2015) on “A Cabinet shake-up soon?” was so funny and ironical.

Jalil had quoted Indonesian President Joko Widodo when hinting to Indonesia’s top editors that he might reshuffle his nine-month-old cabinet as he needed people he could trust.

Joko had said: “My (ideal) staffers would be those who, when they speak, the public believes them, investors believe them, the markets believe them. Their words are irrefutable.”

In Malaysia, we have not only a Prime Minister and a Cabinet whom the highest percentage of the citizenry in the nation’s history find untrustworthy, this applies to most of the print media as well, with New Straits Times competing with Utusan Malaysia – both in the stable of UMNO media – for the top spot as the most untrustworthy newspaper in the country.

The recent attempt to reactivate the “Justo offensive” with the addition of the “Lester” offering to regain the initiative by the UMNO/BN government in the long-drawn-out 1MDB scandal, with Ministers suddenly in fits of hysteria, yelling about treason and national sabotage, cannot make any mark on an increasingly suspicious Malaysian public about the sincerity and transparency of the Najib administration.

This is especially the case when after more than two weeks, Najib is still unable to do the simplest of things: to say yes or no to WSJ allegation that RM2.6 billion had been deposited into the Prime Minister’s personal bank accounts in March 2013 just before the 13th general elections, and where the RM2.6 billion came from and where and to whom they had gone to.

All the Justos and Lesters in the world will not be able to help Najib regain national confidence and international legitimacy when he cannot even answer the simple questions as to whether RM2.6 billion had been deposited into his personal bank accounts, where the RM2.6 billion came from and where it has gone to.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah