Are Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti going to face charges of treason?
Did Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti commit treason by their act of espionage in giving Malaysian government secrets to a foreign power? Will the police investigation reveal that all three made a trip to the US to meet the authorities there? And who sent them to the US? Since it was not the government or the Prime Minister was it Mahathir?
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
No one anticipated the move by the US Justice Department and the US Attorney General last week on 20th July 2016 — except maybe Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the senior operators in the ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign).
Last week’s unexpected event was not something impromptu. In fact, it had taken two years since 2014 to plan this ‘US intervention’ — while the first shot was fired in December of that same year with the police report lodged by Khairuddin Abu Hassan.
The 20th July press conference by the US Justice Department and the US Attorney General, however, was not supposed to be the real killer blow. That was supposed to be the trigger of a series of blows, the second which was supposed to have happened last night followed by a third in Jakarta and the fourth during the Bersih 5.0 rally planned for next weekend or so.
This was what Sin Chew Daily reported:
Following the lawsuits filed in the United States to seize more than US$1 billion in assets linked to the 1MDB fund, Bersih 2.0 says it plans to hold a Bersih 5.0 rally.
Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah said they were still discussing with civil groups and NGOs and hoped to hold the rally soon.
She said Bersih 2.0 would even work with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on condition the latter adhere to Bersih’s reform agenda.
So the US affair of 20th July was the first of many more ‘explosions’ to come. It was merely the thunder to announce the coming of a storm followed by the lightning that was going to strike with devastating results. And that lightning was supposed to have hit last night with the rest of the storm following not far behind.
Mahathir knew that the 20th July press conference by the US Justice Department and the US Attorney General is not enough to oust Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. Most Malaysians, in particular the Malays, do not see the US as a reliable and credible friend. Most are wary and suspicious of the US and are of the opinion that the US will only do things that serve the US interest.
So the US announcement of the 20th of July was not the killer blow but was supposed to have triggered a series of responses. The US press conference in itself hardly caused much ripples amongst the Malay community. It was only the ANC people and the Pakatuns who got all excited to the point of getting an orgasm. But then this would be what the Malays would call shiok sendiri.
Against the backdrop of the 20th July US announcement, other explosions were supposed to have been triggered whereby the build-up affect would eventually bring about Najib’s ouster. And last night was supposed to have been the second shot in the series of planned events.
Last night was outgoing Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) chief Abu Kassim Mohamed’s farewell dinner. Former Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail and former Bank Negara governor Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz were both supposed to have attended that dinner and then the three of them would hold a joint-press conference and call for Najib’s resignation in light of what the US had revealed on 20th July.
But then, that same afternoon, Khairul Azwan Harun, the Umno Youth Deputy, made a police report saying that there are grounds to suspect the three of involvement in a conspiracy to topple the Prime Minister by giving documents that include forged or fabricated documents to the US authorities without sanction or authorisation from the Malaysian government.
The police are now investigating this allegation plus the police report that Khairul lodged and he would soon be called in for his statement to be recorded. Whether that would result in Abu Kassim, Zeti and Gani also being called in for their statements to be recorded is not yet known but there is every possibility this would happen as well.
However, what we do know is that because of Khairul’s police report, Gani chickened out and did not attend Abu Kassim’s farewell dinner last night and the press conference planned for the three to demand Najib’s resignation was called off.
The question now is was Khairul’s police report a clever pre-emptive strike or did he lay a trap for Najib’s detractors to walk in to? Phases two, three, four, etc., that were supposed to have followed the US announcement of 20th July, did not happen after all, which was what it was really all about.
After last night’s planned joint-press conference by the three to demand Najib’s resignation, Mahathir, who is currently in Jakarta, was also supposed hold a press conference with the international media and also demand Najib’s resignation. They were hoping that this would be picked up by the international media the world over.
Then the Bersih 5.0 rally would be held, which is also about the US press conference of 20th July, and they are hoping that tens of thousands would take to the streets to demand Najib’s resignation — like what happened in the Middle East dubbed the Arab Spring.
Mahathir has already told his people that Najib cannot be toppled by peaceful means (if not he would have been toppled by now a year ago) because, according to Mahathir, Najib has a strong hold on Umno, Barisan Nasional and the government. Hence the only way to topple Najib would be the Middle Eastern way à la the Arab Spring.
Of course, that means you can’t fry the egg unless you first crack the shell. And developments all over the world the last decade or so have demonstrated that. Revolutions have to be bloody or else do not waste your time attempting one. And the Bersih 5.0 rally following the heels of the 20th July US press conference, last night’s aborted press conference during Abu Kassim’s farewell dinner, and Mahathir’s planned press conference in Jakarta that also did not happen after all, is supposed to mean the end of Najib.
The problem is, after Khairul’s police report yesterday, they had to abort the follow-up action because by proceeding it would just prove what was alleged is true after all. So, in that sense Khairul made a brilliant pre-emption strike because the next phases after the 20th July announcement have all been called off. Even Bersih 5.0 may be called off since that rally is linked to the 20th July announcement by the US Justice Department and the US Attorney General.
And now Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti have to brace themselves for the possibility they would be called up by the police for their statements to be recorded. Instead of taking the offensive, like they were supposed to have done last night, they are now on the defence. Instead of asking Najib to resign, they now have to explain their actions.
It is already known that Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti made a trip to the US together to meet the US authorities. They took different routes and flew at different times but they did rendezvous in the US. They then met the US authorities to discuss the planned action and they asked the US authorities what documents were needed to make the plan work.
They then returned to Malaysia to collate all the information and the documents the US needed. According to the police report yesterday, some of these documents may, in fact, have been forged. This was similar to the July 2015 charge sheet that Gani prepared. They prepared the charge sheet first and then collated all the so-called evidence later to fit into the charge sheet — hence the need to fabricate some of the evidence to make the charge sheet stick.
Officially, the US Justice Department and the US Attorney General made that 20th July announcement without consulting the Malaysian authorities. What many did not know is that the US authorities had already received secret visits from Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti and that documents had been supplied to the US ‘under-the-table’. Whether the US realised that this was a ‘rogue operation’ and not a Malaysian government-sanctioned operation may soon be revealed during the police investigation.
The police will be investigating why Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti went to the US to meet the US authorities. They will also look into whom these three met in the US and what they discussed.
Did Abu Kassim, Gani and Zeti go to the US on their own initiative or did the US authorities summon them there? And if they were sent rather than summoned to the US who instructed them to go there? Since it was not the Malaysian government or the Prime Minister that did so was it Mahathir and was it on behalf of the ANC?
The three have just realised that they may be in the deep end of the pool with no life jacket to save them. When they went to the US all three were still in service. Hence this is a very serious breach of protocol. Offering or selling information and/or documents to a foreign power is considered espionage, never mind what that secret may be. And if those documents are marked ‘RAHSIA’ then that makes it even more serious.
Attempting to topple the Prime Minister is one thing. Working with a foreign power to attempt to topple the Prime Minister and secretly meeting them and giving them information and documents is an act of espionage and treason that can get you shot or hanged in some countries.
And the three know this. That is why they refuse to say anything to the press unless their lawyers are present (READ: Zeti, Abu Kassim to consult lawyers over conspiracy allegations). And that was also why Abu Kassim rushed to the Prime Minister’s office at 5.00pm yesterday soon after the police report was made to try to meet the PM to explain.
The PM, however, refused to see Abu Kassim and he went home dejected to attend his farewell dinner last night. He knows that this time he may have bitten off more than he can chew and if Gani or Zeti panic and turn ‘state’s witness’ then the three of them are going down the black hole of no return.
Of course, there is one way the three can save their necks. And that would be to admit that they went to the US to meet the US authorities at the behest of Mahathir. They can even confess that at that time they really thought Najib was going to fall and that Mahathir was going to take over and place his proxy as Prime Minister and his son as the Deputy Prime Minister.
Then, and only then, Najib may spare them the gallows or firing squad for their act of espionage by giving Malaysian government secrets to a foreign power in a conspiracy to topple the government. I suppose what is currently happening to the coup conspirators in Turkey may be a good indication of what is soon to come in Malaysia.