1Malaysia Business A-Team

November 20, 2009


1Malaysia Corporate and Business Team: A Formidable Force behind Najib Tun Razak

Everyone knows whenever there’s a change to the premiership not only political landscape changes but also the stock-market landscape. When Mahathir called it a day in 2003 almost immediately his cronies listed companies were affected. The same goes to Badawi although his departure doesn’t have the same impact  And now with Najib Razak as the new Prime Minister naturally his cronies, or rather those who are closely linked to him are instantly on investors or punters’ radar.

Malaysia politics and business model is rather unique because you will see both scratching each other for survival and prosperity. This is something that foreign investors find rather hard though amused to accept or understand, not to mention their frustration due to escalating business operating costs.

Dow Jones went crazily above the psychological-level of 8,000-points before profit-taking trimmed the gains and closed at 7,978.08, thanks mostly to G20’s pledge of over $1 trillion to combat global economic crisis. However, the KLCI was marginally down following the release of the external trade data by the statistics department. Malaysia’s exports for February 2009 fell 15.9% year-on-year, while imports were 27.3% lower. Total trade in February was 21% lower at RM67.2bilionl, with trade surplus of RM11.97billion.

If Badawi’s circle of businessmen included Equine Capital Berhad’s Patrick Lim, ECM Libra Group’s Kalimullah Hassan and Scomi Group’s Kamaluddin Abdullah (his own son), Najib’s circle of businessmen is many times larger. So who are the people (and companies) closely linked to the new Prime Minister Najib Razak who could see their fortunes rising?

1) Top on the list is none other than his youngest brother Nazir Razak, CEO of Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Berhad (KLSE: COMMERZ, stock-code 1023). Perhaps the most business-savvy within the family members Nazir was known for his infamous controversial acquisition of Southern Bank from owner Tan Teong Hean.

After failed the initial attempt Nazir turned to Chua Ma Yu who engineered the downfall of  Tan’s Southern Bank ultimately. With the largest lender Malayan Banking Berhad’s (KLSE: MAYBANK, stock-code 1155) in its bad shape would we see Bumiputra-Commerce acquire Maybank to become the largest bank instead?

2) Johari Razak, the second eldest who read law Johari-Razakfrom University of Kent is one of the senior partners since August 2007 at Shearn Delamore & Co , a law firm located at Wisma Hamzah-Kwong Hing. He also holds the following positions:

  • Ancom Berhad (KLSE: ANCOM, stock-code 4758): Non-Executive Chairman
  • Nylex (Malaysia) Berhad (KLSE: NYLEX, stock-code 4944): Non-Executive Deputy Chairman
  • Hong Leong Industries Berhad (KLSE: HLIND, stock-code 3301): Non-Executive Director
  • Daiman Development Berhad (KLSE: DAIMAN, stock-code 5355): Non-Executive Chairman
  • Tower Real Estate Investment Trust (KLSE: TWRREIT, stock-code 5111): Non-Executive Director
  • Deutsche Bank (M) Berhad: Director

3) Mohamed Nizam Razak, the middle brother, studied politics, philosophy and economics at Oxford University in the UK and was a stockbroker, being CEO of PB Securities Sdn Bhd in the 1990s. He also holds the following positions:

  • Hiap Teck Venture Berhad (KLSE: HIAPTEK, stock-code 5072): Non-Executive Director
  • Delloyd Ventures Berhad (KLSE: DELLOYD, stock-code 6505): Non-Executive Director
  • Mamee Double-Decker (M) Berhad (KLSE: MAMEE, stock-code 5282): Non-Executive Director
  • Yeo Hiap Seng (M) Berhad (KLSE: YHS, stock-code 4642): Non-Executive Director
  • Deutsche Bank (M) Berhad: Director

Nizam Razak together with Syed Mokhtar were once eyeing for the 19.4% stake in DRB-HICOM held by the family trust of late Yahaya Ahmad.

4) Mohamed Nazim Razak, the fourth brother, is an architect who married former host of TV3’s Nona show, Norjuma Habib Nazim-RazakMohamed. He also holds the following positions:

  • Hong Leong Bank Berhad (KLSE: HLBANK, stock-code 5819): Non-Executive Director
  • Hong Leong Capital Berhad (KLSE: HLCAP, stock-code 5274): Non-Executive Director

Nazim is also the Chairman of Meru Utama Sdn Bhd which won a seven-year advertising concession from Malaysia Airports Holdings Berhad in late 2007. Besides, Nazim is also a director of Eng Wah Organization Limited, a Singapore-based business involved in cinema operations, film distribution and rental of retail and office space. But of course the multi-billion dollar question is would Quek’s Hong Leong Bank leverage on this latest political landscape to acquire Public Bank?

Tan-Kay-Hock5) Tan Kay Hock, chairman of Johan Holdings Berhad (KLSE: JOHAN, stock-code 3441) and George Kent (M) Berhad (KLSE: GKENT, stock-code 3204). Both Najib and Tan Kay Hock are golfing buddies and have known each other for a long time. Tan is also a member of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) and owns 49.59% stake in George Kent. Interestingly, Malayan United Industries Berhad (KLSE: MUIIND, stock-code 3891), controlled by Khoo Kay Peng owns 9.3% stake in George Kent and 7% stake in Johan Holdings.

6) Robert Kuok, second PM Abdul Razak and third PM Hussen Onn were childhood friends and their friendship going back to their school days at Raffles School Singapore. Another of their classmate was Lee Kuan Yew, the first PM of Singapore.

Razak juniors used to visit their “Uncle Kuok” and although the Malaysia’s richest man’s businesses are mainly based in Hong Kong, he still has leftovers such as Transmile Group Berhad (KLSE: TRANMIL, stock-code 7000), PPB Oil Palms Bhd (KLSE: PPB, stock-code 4065) and Malaysian Bulk Carriers Berhad (KLSE: MAYBULK, stock-code 5077).

7) Shahril Shamsuddin, owner Shahril-Shamsuddinof Sapura Group is said to have close family relationship with Najib. Companies related included SapuraCrest Petroleum Berhad (KLSE: SAPCRES, stock-code 8575), Sapura Industrial Berhad (KLSE: SAPIND, stock-code 7811) and Sapura Resources Berhad (KLSE: SAPRES, stock-code 4596). He is one of the six trusted individuals personally picked by Najib for ideas on issues ranging from economy, capital markets and general business soon after Najib was appointed Finance Minister.

8 ) Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, the tycoon whose empire is said to be the most comprehensive and includes almost every sector. He also enjoys good relationship with former PM Mahathir and his DRB-HICOM’s assembly plant provides huge employment in Pekan, Najib’s political base. Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd or Deftech, a subsidiary of DRB-HICOM, is the country’s leading supplier of land-based defence vehicles to the Defence Ministry, Najib’s favorite ministry. Stocks related to Mokhtar Albukhary includes:

  • MMC Corporation Berhad (KLSE: MMCCORP, stock-code 2194)
  • Padiberas Nasional Berhad (KLSE: BERNAS, stock-code 6866)
  • Kramat Tin Dredging Berhad (KLSE: KRAMAT, stock-code 2151)
  • Amtek Holdings Berhad (KLSE: AMTEK, stock-code 7051)
  • Integrated Rubber Corporation Berhad (KLSE: IRCB, stock-code 2127)
  • Tradewinds Corporation Berhad (KLSE: TWSCORP, stock-code 4804)
  • Tradewinds Plantation Berhad (KLSE: TWSPLNT, stock-code 6327)
  • Zelan Berhad (KLSE: ZELAN, stock-code 2283)

Mokhtar also is very close with Muhyiddin Yassin, the Deputy PM and should Muhyiddin become the next PM, Mokhtar is definitely the businessman to benefits the most. Their relationship started when Muhyiddin was the Johor Chief Minister and Mokhtar was building his empire in the state then.

9) Mohamed Azman Yahya, director of Khazanah Nasional Berhad (KNB) and founder and group chief executive of outsourcing firm Symphony Mohamed-Azman-YahyaHouse Berhad (KLSE: SYMPHNY, stock-code 0016) as well as ex-CEO of Pengurusan Danaharta Berhad. He is one of the six trusted individuals personally picked by Najib for ideas on issues ranging from economy, capital markets and general business soon after Najib was appointed Finance Minister.Listed companies related to Azman includes:

  • Bolton Berhad (KLSE: BOLTON, stock-code 1538): Executive Chairman
  • Malaysian Airline System Berhad (KLSE: MAS, stock-code 3786): Non-Executive Director
  • PLUS Expressway Berhad (KLSE: PLUS, stock-code 5052): Non-Executive Director
  • Pharmaniaga Berhad (KLSE: PHARMA, stock-code 7081): Chairman
  • Scomi Group Berhad (KLSE: SCOMI, stock-code 7158): Non-Executive Director

10) Rohana Mahmood, Najib’s milieu and chairman and partner of Ethos Capital, a RM200mil private equity firm. Rohana and Omar Mutapha Ong, a former special assistant to Najib, are co-founders of the boutique advisory firm Ethos & Co. She and another close aide of Najib, Abdul Razak Baginda, are co-founders of the independent think-tank, Malaysian Strategic Research Centre. Najib was chairman of the think-tank, now disbanded. Listed companies related to Rohana includes:

  • Paramount Corporation Berhad (KLSE: PARAMON, stock-code 1724)
  • TH Group Berhad (KLSE: THGROUP, stock-code 8109)
  • Dijaya Corporation Berhad (KLSE: DIJACOR, stock-code 5401)

Azman-Mokhtar11) Azman Mokhtar – the managing director of Khazanah Nasional Berhad. He is one of the six trusted individuals personally picked by Najib for ideas on issues ranging from economy, capital markets and general business soon after Najib was appointed Finance Minister.

12) Md Nor Yusof – an ex-banker who was the former managing director of Malaysia Airlines and past chairman of the Securities Commission. He is currently director and chairman of Khazanah’s executive committee. He is one of the six trusted individuals personally picked by Najib for ideas on issues ranging from economy, capital markets and general business soon after Najib was appointed Finance Minister.

13) Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh – chairman and MD of express bus operator, Konsortium Transnational Bhd. The former Proton boss was called upon by the Government in 1996 to revive the ailing public transport company. He is one of the six trusted individuals personally picked by Najib for ideas on issues ranging from economy, capital markets and general business soon after Najib was appointed Finance Minister.

14) Bakke Salleh – Felda Holdings Bhd CEO

15) Lodin Wok Kamarudin – Lembaga Tabung Angkatan Tentera chief

16) Politicians closely related to Najib – Jamaludin Jarjis, Shafie Apdal, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean the old cronies during the Mahathir era would not shine again since the former premier is expected to play important roles in Najib’s Administration to ensure that Najib behaves accordingly.

Source: Stocktube

PI Bala: Part 5

November 20, 2009

PI Bala Part 5: ” I was told Rosmah was happy with my retraction”

In the fifth and final part of the mystery interview with private eye P Balasubramaniam published in Malaysia Today, he tells that prime minister’s wife Rosmah Mansor was “very happy” with him for retracting his first statutory declaration which implicated her and Najib Razak in Altantuya’s murder.

He added that Rosmah had wanted to have breakfast with him.azlanBalasubramaniam, a central figure in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, also revealed that he had met Najib’s younger brother Nazim the night before signing the second declaration which exonerated Najib and Rosmah.

He added that he was only paid RM750,000 of the promised RM5 million for the retraction.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

How long had you known ASP Suresh before this incident?

I have known him for about 10 years. I met him when he was a senior investigation officer at the IPK Kuala Lumpur. I was a private investigator then.

ASP Suresh used to ask me to assist him in obtaining fast traces and details on mobile phones as I had contacts in the phone companies and was able to get the information required faster than the police who had to go through official channels.

At one stage, I was working for ASP Suresh as a bouncer at his pub in Jalan Imbi. He had been suspended from his duties as a police officer sometime in 2006 as he was being investigated for corruption by the ACA.

Had you met Deepak before this incident?

No. But I had done some PI work for his brother Dinesh in the past. I knew Deepak was Dinesh’s brother.

You have said that you met a Malay VIP Datuk outside the Volkswagen showroom at The Curve on the night of July 3rd 2008. Who was this gentleman?

He was Datuk Nazim Razak, the younger brother of Najib. He was there with his pregnant wife. Although I did not speak to her, I recognised her as being a TV personality. I think she was the host on the ‘Nona’ programme. Deepak was the one who brought them there to meet me. That is why ASP Suresh did not want us to meet in a place where there would have been a CCTV camera.

When you were in the Hilton Hotel at KL Sentral with Deepak, Dinesh and ASP Suresh and after you had signed the second statutory declaration, was there anything said to you which you consider to be significant?

kuala terengganu by election najib visit razali house 140109 rosmahYes, there were two things which Deepak told me. He informed me that Rosmah was very happy with me for retracting my first statutory declaration and wanted to have breakfast with me.

When I enquired from Deepak how long I was expected to leave the country for, he informed me it would be until Najib became the next prime minister and that I could return after that.

When did you contact your lawyer Americk Sidhu?

I called him in the middle of July 2009. I was still in India then. I wanted to arrange a meeting with him to inform him what had happened to me and to apologise for all the trouble I had caused. Americk was in the UK when I called him so we arranged to meet in Kuala Lumpur when he returned at the beginning of August.

Did you meet him?

Yes. We met in early August. At the meeting were two other senior lawyers whom Americk had arranged to be present. I told them everything that had happened to me from the time I left Americk’s office in the evening of the July 3, 2008.

Did you realise that this meeting had been secretly videoed?

I did not realise I was being filmed. I was, however, subsequently informed that a recording had been made and this video is safekeeping. I understand this was done to protect me in the event something untoward happened to me again.

How did you manage to survive financially all the time you were away?

NONEDeepak arranged intermittent payments to be made to me. Some payments were made to my wife directly into her account with the EON Bank in KL.

Other payments were made to ASP Suresh who then arranged payment to me directly or through a friend of mine in Malaysia. I have copies of some of the cheques issued by Deepak Jaikishan and from his company, Carpet Raya Sdn Bhd.

I also have copies of my wife’s bank statements showing the deposits which were made. I also have copies of my HSBC account in Chennai.

How much money did you receive from Deepak from the time you left Malaysia in July 2008 till now?

All together, approximately RM750,000.

Do you have any money left?

Yes, I have invested approximately RM250,000 for my future as I am not sure what will happen to me. I also spent some money on renovations to my house in Rawang as my wife and youngest child were there. These renovations were in respect of the security of my home only.

The rest of the money was spent on renting accommodation in Chennai, paying for my children’s schooling and for daily expenses.

Didn’t Deepak promise you RM5 million?

The negotiations were all conducted by ASP Suresh at the Bak Kut Teh stall in Rawang on the night of the July 3, 2008. I was not involved in these negotiations as I was not concerned about money but the safety of my family.

I have subsequently come to realise that ASP Suresh had a vested interest in all this as I know he has received about the same amount of money from Deepak as I have. His job was to keep me under control. This is why he is annoyed with me for not following his instructions because his income from Deepak would be affected.

Why did you wait so long before revealing all this?

When I was at the Hilton Hotel at KL Sentral, I had asked Deepak how long I would have to stay out of the country. He told me it would have to be until Najib became the prime minister. I could not return to Malaysia before February 2009 as one Kumar had my passport in his possession in India for five months.

I only got my passport back after I complained to Deepak when he visited me in India with ASP Suresh. Deepak called his brother Rajesh to find out what had happened to my passport and within two days Kumar asked me to pick it up from him. I was at this time in India illegally as my visa had expired on September 5, 2008.

In order to get my visa extended I had to seek assistance from my wife’s uncle who is a state exco member in Tamil Nadu who managed to get it extended for one year. Only after this was I able to travel back to Malaysia.

What happened when you arrived back in Malaysia in February 2009?

When I landed in KL, I called Dinesh to inform him I was back in Malaysia. I was summoned to Deepak’s office in Sungai Besi at 11.45 pm the same night and was told in no uncertain terms to leave the country immediately, but I stayed a little longer as I wanted to be with my children and my wife. They didn’t know I had not left immediately.

Why did you come back to Malaysia in April 2009?

Just to see my wife and children. This time I did not tell anyone I was back and so I was not harassed.

Why have you now decided to reveal everything?

Because I want to stop all harassments and so that I can return to my normal life.

anwar ibrahim press conference 030708 04 balasubramaniamWere the contents of your first statutory declaration true?


Were you forced to sign the first statutory declaration under duress?

Absolutely not.

Were you forced to sign the second statutory declaration under duress?

Yes, because I was fearful for the safety of my family and I did not read the contents of the second statutory declaration before I was asked to sign it.

PI Bala: Part 4

PI Bala Part 4: From Bangkok to Kathmandu to New Delhi

November 19, 2009

In the fourth part of the mystery interview with private investigator P Balasubramaniam published in Malaysia Today, he tells of the hardships he faced being forced to live away from home.

azlanBalasubramaniam, a central figure in the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, also revealed that he had returned to Malaysia several times this year without going through immigration.

Below are excerpts from the interview.

Why did you not tell them the truth about the way the second statutory declaration was made since you had your family with you and they were all safe?

I was still in a state of confusion and was concerned for the safety of my family. I was made aware that Deepak had some very powerful connections, especially after meeting the Malay VIP Datuk at The Curve a few nights previously and his advice was still in my mind.

I was also surprised at how far Deepak’s connections reached as he seemed capable of organising things in different countries and had even arranged a Thai woman to apply for our Indian visas in Bangkok.

At that time, I had no idea what to expect so I felt I should follow their advice until I could think more clearly as I had my family to consider as I did not want them to be harmed. My family and I were also in a foreign country with no access to finances.

Did you communicate with anyone after this?

Yes. ASP Suresh called me from KL and advised me to change hotels so that the police officers from KL would not be able to contact me again if they required a further statement.

He also informed me to call my nephew in KL and ask him to stop talking to the press and to avoid holding any more candlelight vigils as this was making Deepak feel uneasy. I then called my nephew and told him to stop all activities of this nature and he agreed.

Did you change hotels?

Yes, we moved to the Beverly Hills hotel. It was while we were at this new hotel that I received news from Rajesh that our visas could not be done in time as it would take at least five working days to process.

Deepak then arranged for a moneychanger, to whom he was acquainted, to pay me 100,000 Thai baht for my expenses. I then waited for further instructions at this hotel.

What happened after that?

At about 2.30pm on July 11, Rajesh called me to tell me to go to the airport to collect some e-tickets he had arranged for my family and I to fly to Kathmandu, so we packed our bags and headed to the airport.

However, when we reached the airport, Rajesh called and told me the flight had only been arranged for the next morning at 10am. We then took a taxi back into town and checked into another hotel.

The next morning we returned to the airport, picked up our tickets and flew on a Thai Airways flight to Kathmandu.

What happened when you landed in Kathmandu?

p balasubramaniam private investigator altantuya murder caseWe were met at the airport by a representative of the Yak & Yeti hotel who drove us to that hotel.

Why was it necessary for you to fly to Kathmandu?

Before we could enter India we needed to apply for our Indian visas, which we had not been able to get in Bangkok.

ASP Suresh told me Deepak did not want us to stay in Bangkok any longer as the police knew we were there and that is why he wanted us to leave to Kathmandu so we could apply for our visas there.

How long did you spend in Kathmandu?

We had applied to the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu for our Indian visas. After we managed to obtain one-month visas for India, we left Kathmandu for New Delhi. This was on July 22. We had spent approximately 10 days in Kathmandu.

How long did you spend in New Delhi?

We stayed in a hotel in Delhi for two nights before flying to Madurai en-route to Madras.

How did you manage to extend your one-month visas?

Our visas expired on Aug 21, 2008. Deepak’s people had promised to get an extension for one year but nothing was done. So I had to get a one-month extension for myself and my family till Sept 20, 2008.

I then sent my wife and children back to KL to stay with my mother-in-law in Segambut without Deepak’s knowledge. I remained in Madras trying to get my visa extended. Deepak’s agent called Kumar tried to help me but after five months nothing happened. I complained about this to Deepak and ASP Suresh when they visited me in Chennai.

Deepak called Kumar who returned the passport to me with a sick certificate saying I could not leave the country due to an illness. This had to be done as I was then in India illegally as my visa had expired.

I then asked for help from my wife’s uncle who is a state exco member for Karaikal district. He managed to get my visa extended until September 5, 2009.

Did you return to Malaysia during this period?

Yes, I returned a few times to sort out some of my personal affairs. Each time I returned, I entered the country via Thailand across the Malaysia-Thai border at Bukit Kayu Hitam and left the same way. I did not go through Malaysian immigration.

I did not contact anyone each time I returned as I was afraid Deepak would find out. The only person who knew I had returned to Malaysia was ASP Suresh but he did not let Deepak know.

He was upset with me for allowing my wife and children to return to Malaysia but I explained to him that my children needed to be educated and they could not get into a local school in Chennai. Whenever I returned to Malaysia, I used to stay with my wife and mother-in-law in Segambut.

Where did your wife stay all the time she was in Malaysia?

She stayed with my mother-in-law in Segambut and managed to get my children into a school in Sentul. She did come to Chennai a few times with the children to visit me.

Where are your wife and children now?

They are presently in Chennai. I managed to enrol my two eldest children into a school there. My wife may return to KL so that my youngest child can receive his schooling there. I will have to stay with my eldest two children in Chennai.

Can you remember the dates you returned to Malaysia?

Yes, I was in KL from February 16 to March 5 this year. During this period, I met Deepak at his office in Sungai Besi. He was very worried I had returned to Malaysia and asked me to go back to Chennai immediately. He warned me that my life would be in danger if I stayed any longer.

The second time I returned to Malaysia was from the April 11 to May 2. The third time I returned to Malaysia was at the end of July 2009.

What did you do when you returned at the end of July?

I decided to contact my lawyer Americk Sidhu and explain to him exactly what had happened to me over the past one year as I was very unhappy with the situation I was in.

PI Bala: Part 3

PI Bala Part 3: Cops grill PI Bala in Bangkok, praise his courage

Npvember 18, 2009

In the third part of the ‘mystery interview’ with private investigator P Balasubramaniam which appeared on Malaysia Today, he revealed how the Malaysian police questioned him in Bangkok.

The focus was on the first statutory declaration. He said the police had asked him which of the two statutory declarations was true and when he replied the first, one of the officers shook his hand and commended Balasubramaniam on his courage.

Below are excerpts from the interview:

Where did you go once you landed in Bangkok?

p balasubramaniam private investigator altantuya murder caseDeepak was supposed to arrange for someone to meet us at the airport but there was no one there. As I was feeling very tired, I hired a taxi to take me and my family to the Shangri La hotel. We checked into the hotel and we went to sleep.

Did anyone contact you while you were at the Shangri La Hotel?

No, because no one knew where we were and I did not have a Thai SIM card so I could not use my handphone to call anyone.

What did you do the next day? (July 15)

I took my wife and children shopping to buy some clothes as we did not have much with us. I also managed to buy a Thai SIM card and communicated with ASP Suresh to inform him where I was.

Deepak had told me that all communication should be through ASP Suresh and that his brother, Rajesh, would be handling everything for me from now on.

What did you the day after that? (July 6)

The Shangri La management informed me the hotel was full that night due to a pre-booked wedding function so we had to leave. I then left and checked into the Hilton hotel nearby with my wife and children.

Rajesh had arranged for one of his contacts in Bangkok to assist me and my family in obtaining Indian visas. This contact was a Thai woman who came to the hotel to collect all our passports and the visa fees from me.

What happended on July 7?

I received a call in my room from a Special Branch officer. He was calling from the lobby and asked to see me. I then went down to meet him. I recognised him as he used to be a colleague of mine when I was with the Special Branch. He was the liaison officer from the Malaysian Embassy in Bangkok.

What did you both discuss?

He asked me whether I would give permission for the Malaysian police to record a statement from me and if I was agreeable, he would inform KL about this. I asked him to wait while I called ASP Suresh to inform him about this development.

Did you call ASP Suresh?

Yes. ASP Suresh told me exactly what to tell the police interviewers. He wanted me to avoid any mention of the involvement of Deepak, Dinesh and himself.

So what did he tell you?

In short, he basically told me to tell the police that after I had made public my first statutory declaration, I felt remorse and wanted to retract it so I decided to call a lawyer called Arunampalam, whom I was supposed to have met through my PI work, and arranged to meet him at the Lotus restaurant next to the Nikko Hotel along Jalan Binjai.

When I met up with him at this restaurant he advised me to retract the first statutory declaration and that he would draft a second one for me to that effect. I was supposed to say that I went to his office with him where he prepared the second statutory declaration which I signed and that I went to the Prince Hotel the next day with him to release this statutory declaration to the press. This is what I was told to say to the police when they recorded my statement, according to ASP Suresh.

What did you do next?

After discussing this with ASP Suresh, I informed the Special Branch officer from the Malaysian embassy that I was agreeable to my statement being recorded, so this officer informed KL and told me he would come and pick me up from my hotel the next morning and take me to the Malaysian embassy. In fact, we went out for a meal together that evening.

Were you picked up the next morning?

Yes, this SB officer came to the hotel the next morning and drove me to the Malaysian embassy where we arrived at about 9.00am.

At about 9.30am, three police officers arrived. They had apparently flown to Bangkok from KL the evening before once they had received confirmation that I was prepared to allow them to record a statement from me.

Did you recognise any of these Police officer?

Yes, there was ASP Muniandy from the Commercial Crimes Division of Bukit Aman, another Indian officer and a Malay officer, whose names escape me at the moment.

How did they greet you?

They were all very pleasant to me. ASP Muniandy asked me which of the two statutory declarations was true and I said the first one. He then shook my hand and told me I was a very brave man.

Did they record your statement?

Yes. They questioned me for about six hours. They did not seem to be interested in my second statutory declaration and concentrated their questions in relation to my first statutory declaration. They wanted to know who was involved in it and how I was led into making it.

I explained everything to them from the time I met my lawyer Americk Sidhu in a pub one night with ASP Suresh, M Puravalen and Sivarasa Rasiah in April or May 2008 up to the time of my first press release. ASP Muniandy was the officer asking all the questions while his colleague recorded my statement.

Did they comment o anything you told them?

No. I just repeated what ASP Suresh had told me to tell them about the circumstances which prompted me into affirming the second statutory declaration and they recorded all of it.

PI Bala Part 2

Malaysiakini (November 17)

PI Bala Part 2: Last Hours in Malaysia

In the second installment of a ‘mystery interview’ with private investigator P Balasubramaniam which appeared on Malaysia Today, he purportedly tells of how he was made to sign a second statutory declaration and bundled out of the country.

He reveals how after a press conference, he and his family were allegedly taken to Bangkok and then to Singapore and finally Chennai, India. Below are the excerpts from the interview:

What happened next?

Balasubramaniam: Deepak gave instructions to Dinesh to book a room at the Hilton Hotel, KL Sentral. I left with ASP Suresh to my house in Rawang to see my wife and explain to her what was happening. I was concerned for the safety of my family.

p balasubramaniam altantuya murder case private investigatorDeepak had informed me he wanted me to retract my first statutory declaration and then to immediately leave the country with my family.

I was in a state of shock as to what was happening. I had anticipated that I would be arrested and interrogated after releasing my first statutory declaration but I did not anticipate my family would be threatened so I was not prepared for this.

As this VIP Datuk was also involved, I realised the situation was very serious.

What time did you arrive home after leaving The Curve?

ASP Suresh and I arrived at my house at about 2am that morning. I explained everything to my wife and told her we had to pack up and leave Malaysia that very day as I had been instructed. I also told her to get ready to go to the immigration department that morning to apply for my children’s passports and to renew hers.

I had arranged with a friend of mine called Christopher to pick them all up at 8.30am and to drive them to the Pusat Damansara immigration department that morning with all their luggage.

Where did you go next?

ASP Suresh then drove me to the site at which he was burning wires where he organised his workers to do the loading onto some three-tonne trucks. We then left for the Hilton Hotel in KL Sentral.

What time did you arrive at the Hilton Hotel?

We reached the hotel about 3am. ASP Suresh called Dinesh to find out the room number. Both Deepak and Dinesh met us in the lobby and we all went up to the room. I had been told earlier that my family and I would be sent to Hong Kong. I said I was not happy about being sent to Hong Kong and I would prefer to go to Chennai. Deepak agreed to this.

He then tried to arrange a private jet for us. This had to be cancelled when it was realised we would have to go through immigration at the airport. Deepak then suggested we go through Singapore by road, then fly to Bangkok en route to Chennai. I agreed.

They continued talking to me about the seriousness of my first statutory declaration and that I would have to retract it. Otherwise they could not guarantee anything if the deal failed. Eventually Dinesh left for home to take a nap.

What else did you discuss while in the hotel room?

Deepak was telling me how he had become very good friends with Rosmah (Mansor) from the time she used to visit his shop in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman. He wouldn’t let me sleep as he was talking all the time.

Did anything else happen that morning?

Dinesh returned to the hotel looking refreshed. At about 7.45am, someone delivered a draft copy of the second statutory declaration to the hotel. Deepak went down to the lobby to collect it after receiving a call on his handphone.

Sometime later a commissioner of oaths arrived. He was a Malay man. I was asked to sign this statutory declaration in front of this commissioner of oaths and he attested my signature. He asked me if I knew where his office was and I said I did not.

He then told Deepak to make sure he showed me where his office was on the way to the Prince hotel. I was never given an opportunity to read the contents of this statutory declaration.

Did you know at this stage that you would be taken to the Prince Hotel?

Yes. Deepak had informed me that he would be organising a press conference at the Prince hotel later that morning and that he would make sure a lawyer represented me. He told me not to worry and that I would not have to say anything, just leave it to the lawyer to talk to the press.

What time did you leave Hilton Hotel?

About 8.45am. Deepak, Dinesh and I left together. I went with Dinesh in his BMW while Deepak went on his own. Dinesh did not show me where the commissioner of oaths’ office was.

What time did you reach Prince hotel?

We arrived at the Prince Hotel at about 9.15am and drove up the ramp to the car park where we waited for further instructions from Deepak who was apparently downstairs by that time. Eventually Dinesh received a call on his handphone and he escorted me to a lift which took us down to what looked like a type of lobby on an upper level.

Did you meet anyone in this lobby area?

p balasubramaniam private investigator altantuya murder case 040708 01Yes. Deepak was waiting in this lobby with another Indian man. This Indian man was introduced to me as one Mr Arunampalam (photo, right), a lawyer.

This lawyer spoke to me and told me to just keep quiet in the press conference arranged for us in the main lobby. He told me not to talk to any of the reporters under any circumstances and that he would do all the talking.

Deepak then told Arunampalam to answer not more than three questions from the reporters waiting downstairs and handed him a few copies of the second statutory declaration to distribute to the reporters.

What happened next?

At about 10am, Mr Arunampalam and myself took the lift down to the main lobby where we met about four or five reporters. Mr Arunampalam talked to them and gave each of them a copy of the second statutory declaration.

He told the reporters that I had been forced to sign the first statutory declaration under duress and that I now wanted to retract the contents. He would not answer any of the questions the reporters asked him.

Where were Deepak and Dinesh during the press conference?

I think they left the hotel as they did not join us in the press conference.

What happened after the press conference?

Mr Arunampalam then drove me back to the Hilton Hotel in his own car. He dropped me off at the lower lobby and I never saw him again.

Did you at any time engage Mr Arunampalam as your lawyer to appear in the press conference?

No. I have never met this lawyer before. Deepak was the one who arranged for him to represent me at the press conference. I never told him what to say. All this was arranged by Deepak and not myself.

What did you do once you had been dropped off at Hilton Hotel?

I went back to the room and knocked on the door. Deepak and ASP Suresh were there. I waited in the room while Deepak was making phone calls to a Ms Wong who I think was his secretary. She was apparently with my wife and children at the Pusat Damansara immigration centre helping my wife with the passport applications and renewal.

During this period, Deepak gave me RM20,000 in Hong Kong dollars for my expenditure. He told me he had arranged a tourist van to drive me and my family to Singapore where we were to catch a flight to Bangkok.

What time did you leave Hilton Hotel?

At about 1pm, Deepak received a phone call from Ms Wong informing him the passports had all been done and so I left the Hilton Hotel in the van with an Indian driver. This van then drove me to the Pusat Damansara immigration centre. The driver was talking to Ms Wong during the journey and was receiving instructions where to meet my wife and children.

When we arrived at the Pusat Damansara immigration centre, I met my wife and children and we loaded all the luggage into the van and proceeded on our journey to Singapore.

What happened when you arrived in Singapore?

The driver stopped at the Malaysian immigration at the Causeway and we all had to get out of the van to present our passports at the counter. None of our passports were stamped. We then proceeded across the Causeway to the Singapore immigration who did stamp our passports. After clearing immigration, we were driven straight to Changi airport.

What happened at Changi Airport?

I changed some money to get Singapore coins so I could call Deepak to find out about our flight to Bangkok. Deepak told me our tickets were waiting for us at the Silkair counter. I proceeded to this ticket counter and collected our tickets. We all caught the evening flight to Bangkok which left Singapore at about 8pm.

Related reports

Part 4: PI Bala – from Bangkok to Kathmandu to Delhi
Part 3: Cops grill PI Bala in Bangkok, praise his courage
More questions on PI Bala’s ‘immunity

10 Years and More to come: Congrats, Malaysiakini.com

November 20, 2009

Today is Malaysiakini.com’s 10th Anniversary. What a decade it was for Prem Chandran, Steven Gan and their young, idealistic, resourceful and talented team of web-journalists. They went through great lengths to bring us timely and accurate reports on political, economic, social and cultural developments in our country. Despite  incessant harassment by the authorities, especially Musa Hassan’s men and women in Blue-Black uniform and Special Branch, Malaysiakini.com remained true to its purpose and mission.

That decade (1999-2009), when Malaysiakini.com was trying to find its place in the world of journalism, covered the last days of the authoritarian Mahathir Administration, the 2003-2009 period of the weak and do nothing administration of Abdullah Badawi and the political tsumani of March 8, 2008 that ensued, and the ushering of Najib’s 1Malaysia government with the possible  return of Mahathirism.

From today, Malaysiakini.com enters a new decade. Exciting times ahead as Najib struggles to seek legitimacy and faces the challenge of Pakatan Rakyat in what, I hope, will be a two-party democracy. No matter what happens, we  all can be assured that Malaysiakini.com will be there to bring us news, and reports on a timely basis.

This web-paper has found its own niche– by serving intelligent and knowledgeable readers( subscribers)–and its readership will increase in the years to come because it has demonstrated that it will not wilt under pressure from the 1Malaysia government.

I admire and respect the Malaysiakini team for their idealism, courage and integrity. My wife and I join thousands of your subscribers and Malaysians of goodwill  in congratulating and wishing Malaysiakini.com and its brave men and women  all the best for the coming decade.

May you all set new journalistic standards for Malaysia, one founded on balanced, accurate and responsible reporting. We must together beat the pro-1Malaysia government mainstream media to a pulp by providing news and information, not propaganda to an increasingly discerning community of readers.–Din Merican