PKR denies tactic to smear Najib


By Shannon Teoh, The Malaysian Insider

Former PKR vice president Sivarasa Rasiah has denied that the opposition had planned a smear campaign against Datuk Seri Najib Razak after an attempt to secure federal government through defections on September 16, 2008 had failed.

The Subang MP told the Malaysian Insider today that such a strategy was never part of Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) plans as stated in a leaked United States diplomatic cable.

“Whatever information we brought up was already made public. There was no such deliberate strategy to scandalise Najib,” he said this afternoon.

Sivarasa, who is now a member of the party’s political bureau, was said to have told US political officers that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim remained determined to take over federal government through defections before Najib took over the reins in April 2009 from then prime minister Tun Abdullah Badawi.

US ambassador to Malaysia James Keith had written to his government that along with current vice president Chua Tian Chang, Sivarasa had said that Anwar was “focused on preempting Najib’s takeover if possible, because they believe Najib would invoke authoritarian measures to scuttle the Opposition before the next national elections.”

“In the months ahead, PKR would look for opportunities to weaken support for Najib and the government… using new information linking Najib to scandals, like the Altantuya case and the Eurocopter purchase,” the cable stated.

But Sivarasa insisted that “after September 16, there was no longer any attempt to take over by defections. It ended there.”

The opposition pact has persistently linked Najib to the gruesome 2006 murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shariibuu, the mistress of Abdul Razak Baginda, said to be a close aide of the prime minister.

The case was also linked to the RM7 billion purchase of two Scorpene submarines from a French defence firm when Najib was still defence minister in 2002, a deal that is still being investigated by French courts for an alleged RM500 million kickback to Abdul Razak’s Perimekar Sdn Bhd.