Zainal Abidin refutes RM50mil defection allegation

(Bernama) — Former deputy defence minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Zin has refuted allegations by Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Ipoh Barat division chief Fauzi Muda that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had offered the grassroot leader a whopping RM50 million to induce Pakatan Rakyat's representatives in Perak to crossover to the Barisan Nasional, three days after the 2008 general election.

"I was there at the discussion and Najib (who is also Umno deputy president) did not discuss about that. There were about 10 of us in the room when Fauzi met Najib. There was no such offer made. For me this one-year-old story is fictitious in nature to destroy the image of the Deputy Prime Minister and Umno," he told a press conference, here today.
Zainal said he met Fauzi, through a mutual friend Suleiman Mansor on March 11, last  year, at the Jalan Duta toll plaza and subsequently agreed to take him to meet Najib at about 10pm the same day as Fauzi wanted to talk to Najib about "some business and personal problems".
"It was a coincidence that I was supposed to meet Datuk Najib that night. So I told him that he (Fauzi) could follow me to Najib's official residence in Putrajaya.

"We met the Deputy Prime Minister in a discussion room with about 10 other people. We spoke about nearly an hour and this topic was never brought up. What more the offer of RM50 million.
"I have never been involved in any crossover attempts and as far as I am concerned this offer never took place. I do not know this Fauzi as I have only met him once, which was when I took him to see Najib," he added.
Yesterday at a press conference, Fauzi made a damning claim saying that Najib had tried last year to induce him to secure the crossover of two Pakatan Rakyat representatives in Perak.
He claimed that he was offered a total RM50 million for his services and to pay off those he managed to convince, but that he had remained non-committal.

Reading from a statutory declaration, Fauzi did not name any elected representatives said to be lured by the Barisan Nasional, in the document or during the press conference.
He also refused to distribute copies of the statutory declaration. While conceding that he had no concrete evidence to back his allegation, Fauzi nonetheless dared Najib to deny the claim.
Zainal said after the meeting, neither Najib nor Fauzi spoke to him about the matter, which made him conclude that nothing serious had transpired between the two.
Asked if he was sure that such an offer was not made, he said:" We were there for about an hour and and there was no such offer made."
He said although he could not ascertain what Fauzi had told Najib or vice-versa, he was certain that such an offer would not have been made in front of 10 people, if at all the RM50 million offer was made in the first place.
Asked if he had contacted Suleiman since the allegation was made, Zainal said:" I have not but what is the use, it was not Suleiman who made the allegation, it was Fauzi."
However, he said Fauzi while being driven out of the Deputy Prime Minister's house did not look happy "over something".
Queried if he knew Fauzi was from PKR prior to the meeting, Zainal said he did not even ask which political party Fauzi belonged to as "I just wanted to help someone who was asking for assistance."
"Although I did not hear clearly what Najib had told Fauzi, I can certainly say that they did not discuss about elected representatives crossing over. It could not have happened, if it did then I would have known about it immediately," Zainal added.