How to torpedo a submarine investigation


The Malaysian government, therefore, now has to defend itself against a possible legal action. And to do that it has to bring into question Suaram’s status as an international NGO. And if the Malaysian government can prove that Suaram is not an international NGO but is a registered company (and hence profit-motivated) then it may be able to torpedo the submarine investigation. Hmm…torpedo a submarine investigation…I like that.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

CM slams ‘revenge’ probe on Suaram

Lim Guan Eng says the ulterior motive is apparent since the authorities chose to act on Suaram only now despite the organisation being in existence for 23 years.

(Free Malaysia Today) – DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has criticised the federal government’s investigation on human rights organisation Suaram, calling it a “clear act of political revenge”.

By picking on Suaram, the Penang chief minister said Putrajaya had again demonstrated double standard with its selective prosecution. He was curious why Barisan Nasional did not give the same attention to many companies that had committed more serious financial irregularities.

He noted that Domestic Trade, Co-operative and Consumerism Minister Ismail Sabri had said that Suaram would soon face prosecution for its “confusing” and “misleading financial accounts”. Lim said Sabri’s statement intensified the attack on Suaram while the BN government’s selective prosecution of Suaram had exposed its penchant for punishing whistle-blowers.

He was convinced that the selective prosecution of Suaram was a political revenge to distract attention from the Scorpene and National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandals. He recalled that PKR election strategy director Rafizi Ramli was arrested for revealing bank account details that led to the charges against NFC chairman Mohamed Salleh Ismail. “Suaram appears to have been victimised for its role in publicly highlighting and assisting in the Scorpene corruption trial in France,” he added.

According to press reports, the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) was supposed to have made a recommendation early this week to the Attorney-General’s Office to press charges against Suara Inisiatif Sdn Bhd, a company linked to Suaram, for unexplained financial irregularities.

Lim asked why a privately-funded human rights NGO was being electively victimised over supposed financial irregularities when there were a multitude of high-profile and scandalous cases of alleged corruption and mismanagement of public funds such as the RM500 million commission for the purchase of two Scorpene submarines and the RM250 million NFC scandal.

“No minister ever talked of investigating the accounts of the companies involved in the two alleged scandals,” he added. He said Suaram’s accounts had been audited and submitted routinely every year and even the NGO leaders publicly declared they had nothing to hide. “As Suaram was formed in 1989, why take action only now but not for the previous 23 years? Is it an act of vengeance?” he asked.


An EXCLUSIVE insider report by YL Chong, a.k.a. Desiderata

Some time in early 2001, the Far Eastern Review ran a short report saying that Malaysiakini was receiving money from “purported” rogue trader (as alleged by several Malaysian leaders including the then Prime Minister), George Soros. FEER claimed the money was channelled through South East Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA). Yes, Premesh denied this report of George Soros funding, whether “direct of indirect”.

I later found out at a company meeting that Premesh was not being truthful. I wrote later that while FEER was barking up the right tree, it was standing on the wrong branch. The investment money came NOT from SEAPA but from the Media Development Loan Fund (MDLF), via a George Soros unit called the Open Society Institute (OSI), which has many offices outside of the United States.

I was then News Editor, and hence privy to information raised at Malaysiakini‘s meetings, and I had learned that indeed Malaysiakini had received an initial 10 percent down payment of RM188,000 for a 10 percent interest in Malaysiakini. At a weekend meeting, I told the top two guns — Steven Gan and Premesh Chandran — they had better come clean by telling the “full story” and not half-truths. I said how the investment money came through from George Soros — direct or indirect — was not important. The truth was indeed that RM188,000 came as initial investment from MDLF, a Soros unit.

I told them since Malaysiakini flagged itself as promoting transparency and openness, it was not right to hide the fact. I said I had no problem with funding from Soros into the news portal — as long as we practised ethical journalism.

Since the top two guns did not agree with me — in fact Steven Gan said it would be the death of Malaysiakini if they admitted to receiving this Soros funding! — I was given Hobson’s choice but told them I would hand in my resignation the following Monday (two days later).

Premesh in a following press statement kept on insisting it was NOT true when I said indeed, the FEER story was correct in essence — barking up the right tree but wrong branch was my metaphoric narrative! — disclosed when I went public on why I resigned. Premesh still vehemently denied the story of Malaysiakini having received money from George Soros, and defamed me by saying I resigned over dissatisfaction over my “pay”!

I believe it was some 10 to 11 months later, MDLF paid the remaining 90 percent of its investment, or more than the 1.88 million initially indicated at the time of my resignation) or MORE for a 30 percent (I stand corrected on this point on the numbers). I drew the NST attention to this development and it ran an update story on this development.


Inspector Clouseau, where are you?

There appears to be some confusion as to what is currently going on in Paris. We are being told that there is an on-going trial in Paris and that the French police are about to arrest and extradite Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak to France to face charges and whatnot. This sounds like a Manuel Noriega of Panama episode all over again. Are we going to see a planeload of French commandos parachuting into Putrajaya to whisk Najib out of bed?

Actually, this is not an open court hearing but merely an application by Suaram who filed a criminal complaint, together with an application to join the proceedings as a civil party — Civil Party Petition — before a judge in chambers. The judge will first have to look through the evidence and determine whether a crime has been committed before ordering a trial.

Based on Suaram’s application, the prosecutor ordered the Tribunal De Grande Instance in Paris to investigate the allegations of impropriety in the submarine contract. The result of this police investigation runs into hundreds of pages from D1 to D153, which you can read below.

The idea to initiate a campaign to keep the Scorpene submarines issue alive until the 13th General Election was mooted by R. Sivarasa and Tian Chua some time back in 2009. Sivarasa and Tian Chua discussed the matter with Anwar Ibrahim who decided that Suaram would be the best vehicle to use to initiate the action.

French lawyers were then engaged to act on behalf of Suaram to apply to the French court for a probe to be conducted on all the companies and personalities involved in the submarines contract. This was a sort of ‘class action suit’ to be taken by Suaram but Suaram had to first convince the court that it had locus standi on the matter. Suaram was presented to the court as an international NGO similar in status to Amnesty International whose job is to uphold democracy and human rights. This pleading to the court can be seen in the first document, document D1, below. (Malaysia Today, 26 June 2012)



Okay, so what is really going on here?

First of all, it was Desmond YL Chong of Malaysia Chronicle, a.k.a. Suara Tian Chua, who revealed that Malaysiakini was receiving foreign funding. And Chong pointed out that this is wrong and he went on to explain why that prompted him to resign from Malaysiakini two days after he discovered this ‘scandal’.

Hence it was Tian Chua’s ‘running dog’ who first triggered this problem resulting in the shit hitting the fan.

Now, these people funding Malaysiakini are the same people who are funding Suaram. Hence, if Chong feels that it is wrong for Malaysiakini to receive funding from these people, then, according to the government, it should be equally wrong for Suaram to do so as well.

That is point number one.

The next point is regarding what is going on in Paris, which you can read about above. The crucial part of this French investigation is in document D1:

And the part you must note in that document (D1) is as follows:

SUARAM est une organisation non gouvernementale fondée en 1989 (SUARAM is a non-governmental organization founded in 1989).

Il ne fait donc pas le moindre doute qu’eu égard à l’article 2 du code de procédure pénale français SUARAM est tout à fait recevable à ester en justice pour obtenir réparation des atteintes qu’elle a personnellement subie de par l’évident phénomène corruptif entourant la vente de ces sous-marins (There is therefore no doubt that, with regards to Article 2 of the French Code of Criminal Procedure, SUARAM is quite admissible to sue for compensation for she has personally suffered damage because of the obvious phenomenon surrounding the corrupt sale of these submarines).

The French investigation into the sale of the two submarines to Malaysia was launched mainly because of an application made by Suaram. Suaram had applied to the French court for this investigation to be launched on the basis that Suaram is an international NGO that has suffered damage because France sold two submarines to Malaysia. And Suaram is seeking compensation.

Hence Suaram is the complainant cum applicant and the defendant in this case is the Malaysian government. But the action is being taken in a French court, not in Malaysia. And Suaram has managed to convince the French court that it is an International NGO and therefore has locus standi to take this ‘class action suit’ against the Malaysian government.

The Malaysian government, therefore, now has to defend itself against a possible legal action. And to do that it has to bring into question Suaram’s status as an international NGO. And if the Malaysian government can prove that Suaram is not an international NGO but is a registered company (and hence profit-motivated) then it may be able to torpedo the submarine investigation. Hmm…torpedo a submarine investigation…I like that.

And that is why the Malaysian government is going after Suaram. The Malaysian government has to rip to shreds Suaram’s ‘status’ so that it can argue that not only is Suaram a profit-motivated company and not an international NGO, but it also has no locus standi in this ‘class action suit’.

I would say that this is a very clever ‘defend by attacking’ strategy, which I would also use if I were placed in that same situation.

Well, as they say, all is fair in love and war.