How clean are Pak Lah’s hands?

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Malaysia’s former Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, admits that ‘somebody’ paid a lobby fee — purportedly US$1.2mil (RM4.56mil) — to arrange his 2002 meeting with United States President George W. Bush.

“I don’t think the (Malaysian) Government paid. But I must admit the Heritage Foundation (a US think tank) arranged it.”

“They talked me into meeting Bush because they said I would be able to influence him in some way regarding US policies.”

“Secondly, it would be good for Malaysia if the relationship between Malaysia and the United States improved.”

“I agreed with that. I thought I could do something. This was for the good of the country,” Dr Mahathir said after delivering a public lecture, Developing the Nation, at Universiti Sains Malaysia.

Official records obtained by the U.S. Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, however, shows the opposite of what Mahathir said. Page 59 of that report shows that an invoice was made out to the Malaysian Embassy, for the attention of Dr Fauziah Mohamad Taib, who was then the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Malaysian Embassy in Washington. The invoice, for an amount of US$300,000, came from the fake American International Center and is for ‘services for June 19- August 19, 2001’.

According to a former Abramoff associate, Malaysian Chief of Mission, Ambassador Ghazzali bin Sheikh Abdul Khalid, met Abramoff on several occasions. It is unclear what was discussed during these meetings but it is believed it was about getting Mahathir invited to tea at the White House.

According to the Abramoff associate, in 2001 and 2002, Abramoff received US$1.2 million from the Malaysian government as payment for his lobbying services. Documents obtained by Senate investigators confirm at least US$900,000 of that amount.

The associate added, after Mahathir’s White House meeting, Abramoff, a pro-Israel and Jewish lobbyist, was invited to dinner at the Malaysian Embassy in honour of the Prime Minister, and was seated close to Mahathir near the head of the table.

Okay, we now know beyond any shadow of doubt that Dr Mahathir is guilty as hell. But never mind. He is already out of office. What we would like to know is whether Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is still in office, has in any way also used the Malaysian Embassy in Washington for shady dealings and whether his hands are equally dirty.

We must not forget that current Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1993 (a post which he also held before he fell out of favour in 1987) until he became the Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister soon after Anwar Ibrahim’s sacking and incarceration in September 1998. With that point planted in our minds, let us now review the following:

Jamal Abder Rahman’s testimony at the Anwar Ibrahim trial

Fernando: Can you name some of the Malaysian VIP’s who used your limousine services?

Jamal: The present Yang DiPertuan Agong (the Malaysian King), Abu Hassan Omar, who was then the Foreign Minister, Abdullah Badawi, who was then the Education Minister, Tun Daim when he was the Minister of Finance.

Fernando: Did you provide limousine services to Dato’ Seri Anwar?

Jamal: Yes, every time he visited Washington DC.

Fernando: Did you yourself drive these VIP’s around?

Jamal: Yes.

Fernando: In September, 1998 did you go to the Malaysian Embassy in Washington?

Jamal: Yes, I did.

Fernando: Did you meet a Malaysian diplomat by the name of Mustapha Ong?

Jamal: Yes.

Fernando: During that meeting what transpired?

Jamal: He asked me to go to New York for business.

Fernando: When?

Jamal: The following day, at 6.00 am.

Fernando: In your limousine?

Jamal: No, in my private car, a Cadillac.

Fernando: What transpired during the journey?

Jamal: We drove off and just before the Delaware Bridge, he asked me if Dato’ Seri Anwar had made any sexual passes at me. I told him, “You must be joking!” Then he said, “You can make some money.”

Gani: Objection! It is irrelevant and is hearsay (evidence).

Fernando: We will be calling witnesses.

Judge: It is quite relevant; they relate to the facts-in-issue. Go on.

Jamal: He told me, “If you can say that he made sexual advances at you, we can make some money.” I got very upset. Then he said, “Relax. Why don’t you say that you brought some girls and boys for him.”

Judge: Why are you asking all these questions, Mr Fernando?

Fernando: To show the level, intensity and efforts made to fabricate evidence against Dato’ Seri Anwar! It also shows that the fabrication was not only confined to Malaysia but attempts were made to get concocted evidence even in the United States. And these perpetrators are Malaysians! What else did you say?

Jamal: I said, “Look here Mr Ong, leave me alone; I don’t care about Malaysia, I don’t care about nobody right now. We are going to New York for business. Let’s finish the business and I don’t want to hear the subject no more!”

When we drove on New York, he tried to convince me further and in the meantime I was thinking to myself, do I know two Anwar Ibrahim? He (Ong) told me, “There is a videotape in Malaysia everybody by now knows Anwar Ibrahim from the videotape; why don’t you say so.”

I said if you have a videotape, why the heck do you want me for? He replied, “So that the Americans will know too!”

Fernando: Then what happened?

Jamal: The subject was dropped. When we arrived in New York, I dropped him off at a diplomat’s apartment. I think it was on the 13th street, East Side. The Malaysian diplomat came down holding a very small booklet and passed it on to Mustapha Ong and they were talking in Malay. I did not understand them. Ong put his hand on my shoulder, trying to convince me to spend the night there. I refused. I wanted to go back to Washington. Mustapha showed me the booklet and asked, “Why don’t you sign this and we can make up to US$200,000. Don’t be crazy.”

Fernando: What was your response?

Jamal: I said: “You are looking at the most crazy man in the world. That’s me.” And I told him: “You change the name from Jamal to Mustapha Ong and say that Anwar Ibrahim made sexual passes … made love to you. Say anything and you make the money!” I then said, “Have a good day!”

Fernando: What happened then?

Jamal: I left and went back to Washington DC … straight. Then I went to see the Malaysian Ambassador, one Dato’ Dali.

Fernando: What happened then?

Jamal: I told Dato’ Dali what transpired during the journey. He was very, very upset. He said, “Jamal, I assure you I have nothing to do with it. The Embassy has nothing to do with it.” And he was very upset; I could see the fire on his face. He said, “You should have slapped him on the face.” I said, “I should have done that.”

Fernando: Did Dato’ Seri Anwar make any passes at you or sodomise you at any time?

Jamal: No sir, he did not, he never did and never will!

Fernando: So this man wanted you to fabricate this evidence, did he not?

Jamal: I think so.

Fernando: On the way to New York from Washington, did Ong ask you to meet anybody or propose to meet anybody?

Jamal: Yes, he did.

Fernando: What did he say to you?

Jamal: He asked me to meet somebody from Abdullah Badawi’s staff so that I can collect the money.

Fernando: So you were saying, “… to see somebody from Abdullah Badawi’s staff to collect the money?”

Jamal: I did not receive the money.

Fernando: Why did he want you to see somebody from Abdullah Badawi’s staff?

Jamal: I understood, by that, if I say what they wanted me to say, I will get the money.