Anwar played me out in politics, Nalla tells defamation trial


(The Star) – A senator told the High Court that he was “played out” by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in politics, causing him to feel upset, disappointed and betrayed.

Senator Tan Sri S. Nallakaruppan, 69, who is president of Malaysian Indian United Party, said there were instances where he had been played out by Anwar, whom he claimed was a friend for more than 34 years and with whom he used to play tennis.

“One of the incidents I cannot forget is the Ijok by-election,” the fifth witness for Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin testified in the trial of a RM100mil defamation suit filed by Anwar.

Questioned by Khairy’s lead counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah Thursday, Nallakaruppan said he was unfairly “discarded” in favour of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim as the candidate during the Ijok by-election held on April 28, 2007.

“I was supposed to run for PKR. I thought I had a better chance to win because of the Indian population there but he (Anwar) disappointed me. Anwar used to refer me as popular as film actor MGR and people liked me,” he said.

He said he felt betrayed when Anwar asked him at the last minute before nomination day not to contest in the Ijok by-election.

“Towards the end of my membership with PKR before I resigned, I was asked by Anwar not to compete for or withdraw from the position of vice-president of the party (PKR) in order to give way to his blue-eyed boy and so-called ‘first choice’ (Datuk Seri Mohamed) Azmin Ali,” he said.

He said he had no alternative but to follow Anwar’s instructions over this and submitted his letter of withdrawal on May 18, 2007.

To a question, he said Anwar offered to appoint him as PKR vice-president later, but he has refused because he wanted to stand in the party elections to judge his political career within the party.

Asked by Muhammad Shafee, he said he obtained the second highest number of votes in the nomination for the position.

“This was the beginning of my differences with him,” said Nallakaruppan, whose replies and sudden remarks to various questions while looking at Anwar, who was seated near the witness stand, caused laughter in the packed courtroom.

Asked by Anwar’s lawyer Latheefa Koya, he said he was upset when Anwar asked him not to stand for the vice-president’s position.

When asked further whether he waited for the party election to be over, he told Latheefa: “You are teaching me politics, you are asking a fish how to swim. Why must I wait when they asked me to withdraw?”

Khairy had testified on Monday that his politicial speech on Feb 19, 2008 only implied that Anwar could not be trusted in his political relationships.

Another witness, Datuk Lokman Noor Adam, 43, who is a government think tank member attached with the Department of Special Affairs, denied Latheefa’s suggestions that he was in court to give false evidence to support Khairy in the case.

“I volunteered to be a witness as he (Khairy) needs proof that Anwar wanted to go against Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (to contest for the Umno presidency),” he said.

To a question by Latheefa, Lokman said he supported Anwar but he considered his plan to run for Umno presidency as an act of backstabbing as Dr Mahathir had “groomed him (Anwar) from nothing”.

Anwar filed the lawsuit on March 7, 2008 alleging that Khairy, as then Umno Youth deputy chief, had uttered defamatory words and caused the posting on websites (including of a video clip entitled “Anwar and kin no threat”.

The hearing before High Court Judicial Commissioner Azizul Azmi Adnan continues Friday.