WikiLeaks report incorrect: Sabah Speaker

(Bernama) — Sabah Legislative Assembly Speaker Datuk Seri Salleh Tun Said Keruak has dismissed as untrue a WikiLeaks report on his purported comment over the failed bid by the opposition Pakatan Rakyat to take over the federal government on Sept 16, 2008.

“I never confirmed or endorsed the purported defection of MPs to the opposition or Pakatan Rakyat. At that time, as far as I can recall, the opposition tried hard to win over MPs from Sabah but they failed to woo them.

“What had happened was more of a “psy war” adopted by the opposition to destabilise the Barisan Nasional (BN) government,” Salleh, a former Sabah chief minister, told Bernama after attending the Kota Belud Wanita Umno Aidilfitri open house in Kampung Siasai, here.

Online portal Malaysiakini was quoted as reporting yesterday that a leaked US embassy cable had lent credence to Pakatan Rakyat leader Anwar Ibrahim’s claim that a group of Sabah and Sarawak politicians had planned to defect from the BN on Sept 16, 2008, over alleged marginalisation of the two states.

An entry in the cable, posted by WikiLeaks, quoted Salleh as telling US embassy officials that potentially more than half of the 25 Sabah MPs were ready to abandon the BN.

The cable claimed further that embassy officials found “no expressions of support” for then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership among the senior Sabah politicians they met in a series of meetings in the state from June 18 to 20 that year.