Sunday, November 2, 2008


A letter from Haris Ibrahim, dated 31st October, 2008, to:

1. YB Tan Sri Bernard G. Dompok,
United Pasokmomogun Kadazandusun Murut Organisation,
Ibu Pejabat UPKO,
Lot 9 & 10, Tingkat 2 & 3,
New World Commercial Centre,
Pekan Penampang,
Peti Surat 420,
89507 Penampang, Sabah.

2. YB Dato' Seri Ong Tee Keat,
Malaysian Chinese Association,
8th Floor, Wisma MCA, 163,
Jalan Ampang,
50450 Kuala Lumpur.

3. YB Tan Sri Dr. Koh Tsu Koon,
Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia,
Level 5, Menara PGRM,
8, Jln Pudu Ulu, Cheras,
56100, Kuala Lumpur

Dear Yang Berkhidmat – Yang Berkhidmat,

Re: The Sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia

God’s peace be with you.

I am a Malaysian citizen. I also moderate a blog called ‘The People’s Parliament.’

I am writing to you because you are the only leaders within Barisan Nasional in whom I dare place my hopes that my concerns relating to the person who aspires to soon be appointed as the sixth Prime Minister of Malaysia will receive genuine attention and, hopefully, positive action.

Yang Berkhidmat Tan Sri Bernard, allow me to say that I have long admired and appreciated your willingness, when your colleagues in the Barisan Nasional chose to remain silent for reasons best known to them, to speak up and remain steadfast on issues of national concern. Many of us remember how, in early 2006, you were the only non-Muslim minister who did not retract the memorandum earlier submitted by you and nine of your other non-Muslim colleagues in the cabinet to the Prime Minister following upon the controversial refusal of the civil High Court to adjudicate on the matter of the faith of the deceased Everest climber, Sarjen Moorthy. We have also not forgotten how, when the Deputy Prime Minister rather irresponsibly and baselessly declared last year that Malaysia is an Islamic state, yours was the lone voice that publicly disputed this groundless claim.

Yang Berkhidmat Dato' Seri Ong and Yang Berkhidmat Tan Sri Dr. Koh, it is my sincere hope that as you have both only recently been elected to the pinnacle of your respective parties, both of which have demonstrated, since the 12th General Elections, a greater sensitivity to the wishes and concerns of the electorate and a willingness to speak up on those wishes and concerns, you will now lead your parties with the requisite courage to address the concerns which I now wish to draw your attention to.

We are soon to see a changing of the guard in UMNO.

Barring any surprises, it is expected that, unless brought forward to December this year as is being speculated by certain quarters, the UMNO general assembly will take place in March 2009 whereafter, it appears to be a foregone conclusion that Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib will take over the presidency of UMNO from Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

That is not my concern.

My concern, and that of a great many, is the assumption and assertion by many in UMNO, and the seeming acquiescence to the same by the leaders of the other component parties in Barisan Nasional, that if and when Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib takes over the presidency of UMNO, he will, as a matter of course, take over the Prime Ministership of this country because, so the argument seems to go, he will then be the president of UMNO and the Prime Minister of Malaysia has and will always be the president of UMNO.

I perceive two difficulties with this argument. One is constitutional, the other one of perception of, firstly, the general public, and secondly, Members of Parliament, as to the suitability of Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib for the office of Prime Minister.

In truth, the second difficulty will become immediately apparent when the first difficulty as mentioned above and detailed below is fully appreciated.

The argument that the Prime Minister has always to be the president of UMNO is, with respect, flawed and contradicts Article 43(2) of the Federal Constitution which, in the most unambiguous language, stipulates that His Majesty the Yang Di Pertuan Agong shall appoint as Prime Minister, the one who in his judgment is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of’ the Dewan Rakyat.

The Constitution does not stipulate that His Majesty shall appoint the president of UMNO as Prime Minister, but the one who, in the judgment of His Majesty, is likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of’ the Dewan Rakyat.

No doubt, the previous three Prime Ministers were and the current Prime Minister is the president of UMNO. What must be noted, though, is that at the time of their respective appointments, no one seriously thought to question, let alone doubted, whether any of the previous three Prime Ministers or the current one commanded the confidence of the majority of the members of’ the Dewan Rakyat.

The notion that the Prime Minister must always be the president of UMNO is, therefore, plainly misinformed. The president of UMNO can only be appointed Prime Minister if His Majesty forms the view that that president was likely to command the confidence of the majority of the members of the Dewan Rakyat.

It is most important that this false notion be set right and set right immediately. No doubt you will face tremendous opposition from your counterparts in UMNO when you assert the correct, constitutional position as I have laid out above, but in this regard, I must remind you that your oath of office as Members of Parliament behoves you to act without fear and with one aim, that is, to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

I turn now to the more thorny matter of the second difficulty of perception I have alluded to above: whether Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib is suitable for the office of Prime Minister.

Allow me to put this matter differently.

Given the matters that I will shortly narrate below, can you, in all honesty, say that you would have the fullest confidence in Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib as Prime Minister of our country?

The matters that I ask you to take note of.

1. Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib has maintained that he neither knew, was ever acquainted with nor had any dealings whatsoever with murdered Altantuya Shaaribuu, the central figure in the ongoing murder trial in Shah Alam. Yet:

1.1 on 29th June, 2007, Mongolian national, Burmaa Oyunchimeg, a prosecution witness in the abovementioned murder trial, testified that she had seen a photograph of the victim, accused Razak Baginda and a government official. Newspaper reports give the impression that both the prosecution and some of the defence went to great lengths to try and not allow this witness to continue with this line of testimony. However, when she was examined by Mr. Karpal Singh, who finally managed to get leave to ask the witness who the government official was, she replied, “Najib Razak. I remember the name Najib Razak because the name Razak is the same. I thought maybe they were brothers.” Subsequently, when Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib was asked to comment on this evidence, he declined to do so, on the grounds that it would be inappropriate for him to comment further as any statement he made might be deemed to be on a matter sub-judice, given that the trial was still ongoing. To this date, Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib has never categorically denied this piece of evidence. To the best of my knowledge, no effort has been made by the authorities to investigate this piece of information.

1.2 On 3rd July, 2008, private investigator Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal publicly disclosed his own statutory declaration made on 1st July, 2008 in which he gave details that categorically pointed to Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib knowing Altantuya very, very well. A careful analysis of the statutory declaration will reveal that whilst details contained therein related also to the accused Razak Baginda and the victim, amongst others, the most damaging details contained therein related to Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib. The very next day, in the most suspicious of circumstances, Balasubramaniam publicly disclosed a newer statutory declaration made by him retracting the contents of his earlier statutory declaration. Balasubramaniam and his family have since disappeared and have not been seen by family and friends. A news report dated 10th July, 2008 has it that Bukit Aman CID chief Mohd Bakri Zinin confirmed that a team of police had taken a statement from Balasubramaniam in a "neighbouring country," declined to say which country he and his family were in but confirmed that Balasubramaniam had said he left Malaysia because he feared for his life. Mohd Bakri also confirmed then that police were investigating both of the contradictory statutory declarations and asked for time to complete the investigations. To-date, we have not heard on the outcome of those investigations. Meanwhile, as reported in a media report on 15th July, 2008, the nephew of Balasubramaniam, R. Kumaresan, startlingly disclosed that whilst he had been in contact with his uncle, he had declined to inform the police of Balasubramaniam’s whereabouts when asked to do so by the police because "I cannot reveal the full details to the police and by doing this I understand what the consequences are... but if I do reveal everything I know what will happen to them."

2. On 26th June, 2007, another Mongolian national, Uuriintuya Gal-Orchir, who testified at the murder trial, complained in the course of her testimony that local immigration records of her, Altantuya and their friend Namiraa Gerelmaa’s entry into Malaysia on 8th October, 2006 had mysteriously vanished. Lead prosecutor Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah and the defence lawyers protested that this evidence was irrelevant. To the best of my knowledge, this matter of the disappearing immigration records of Altantuya and her friends has never been investigated to verify if correct and, if found to be correct, who might be responsible for the same and if it might have a bearing on the murder trial.

3. Paragraph 52 of the first statutory declaration of Balasubramaniam details an sms that was allegedly sent by Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib to Razak Baginda on the day that the latter was arrested. The sms reads: “I am seeing IGP at 11am today ... matter will be solved ... be cool.” The correctness or otherwise of this sms is presumably the subject of the police investigation referred to by Bukit Aman CID chief Mohd Bakri Zinin. However, in another series of sms’es supposedly between Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib and senior lawyer Muhd Shafee Abdullah, the authenticity of which Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib has impliedly admitted, the former sent the following sms to the latter on the morning of 16th November, 2006, the very morning that Razak Baginda was charged in court in connection with the murder of Altantuya : “Pls do not say anything to the press today. i will explain later. RB will have to face a tentative charge but all is not lost”. These sms’es were publicly disclosed on 11th October, 2008 with an immediate public outcry for an investigation whether an abuse of power by an interference with the administration of justice had occurred. On 14th October, 2008, Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib, in reference to this series of sms’es, publicly denied that they evidenced any abuse of power, without ever refuting the authenticity of the same. To-date, there has been no public statement by the relevant authorities whether these sms’es are the subject of any investigation to ascertain if indeed any abuse of power has occurred. If in fact an investigation has been done, no results of the same have been announced. Incidentally, even as write this letter, I have just received word that Razak Baginda has been acquitted of the charge that Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib categorized as ‘tentative’.

You will note that whilst there are many allegations of corruption and secret commissions circulating, I have not sought to trouble you to take note of the same as, to date, these appear to be without any factual or evidential basis. The matters listed above, however, are all matters on record.

It may well be that the matters that I have raised above do not occasion any concern on your part because you are privy to other information that fully vindicates Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib of any and all inferences and aspersions that might reasonably be drawn or made from the matters abovestated. If so, then I must ask, for the peace of mind of the great number who are now burdened with these concerns and, so that an innocent man in the person of Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib should not have to unfairly suffer such inferences and aspersions, that you make public at the soonest possible such other information as you may have.

However, if, like the rest of us, you too, are left to draw the same inferences and aspersions that might reasonably be drawn or made by the rest of us from the matters abovestated, I ask again how you and every other decent member of the Dewan Rakyat might, in all good conscience, say that you have the fullest confidence in Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib to lead this country as Prime Minister? Would not every man and woman in the Dewan Rakyat who has sworn to act in the best interests of this country, be under an obligation to disclose to His Majesty that by reason of the matters stated above remaining unsatisfactorily answered, you cannot lend your support to Yang Berkhidmat Dato Seri Najib to lead this country as Prime Minister?

I fully understand and appreciate that the matter that I seek to bring to your attention vide this letter is a difficult one. However, if these serious matters which relate to the leadership of our country and which now greatly trouble the people are not to be taken back to our political leaders, then I am truly at a loss as to who these grave concerns should be taken to.

Finally, I am obliged to inform you that this letter will also be displayed on my blog. You may wish to instruct your staff to note the sentiments of readers and commentators to the same.

Your duties will no doubt afford you little time to respond to this letter. I shall be grateful if you would give the matters and concerns raised herein your fullest attention and to take such action as your conscience dictate.

I thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to read this letter.

I am, as always, anak Bangsa Malaysia,

Haris Ibrahim