PKR information chief Latheefa Koya has denied she had in any way coerced or influenced Rahimi Osman, a former aide of Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim, into signing two statutory declarations implicating Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor in fabricating sodomy charges against Anwar.
“Of course not, I categorically deny it,” Latheefa, herself a prominent human rights lawyer, told Malaysia Chronicle.
According to a police report lodged by Rahimi this afternoon, he claimed he was forced to sign two statutory declarations by Latheefa and other party members at the Quality Hotel in Klang.
Rahimi at the aborted press conference
“I was forced to sign two statutory declarations in June 2008 about Anwar and Saiful. The declaration was not true because I did not write it. I was forced to sign it because I feared for my safety. At that time there were hundreds of Anwar’s supporters and right-hand men around Quality Hotel,” Malaysian Insider reported Rahimi as saying.
The former aide also said that he was forced to stay at the hotel for a few days after signing the SD.
However, apart from Latheefa, Anwar’s lawyer Sankara Nair also questioned why Rahimi suddenly changed his mind after three years.
“Why is he making an about- turn only now after about three years? This clearly smells sinister,” said Sankara.
“Initially he is being listed as part of Anwar’s defence witnesses. He voluntarily approached us to testify for us in the case. I emphatically wish to state that Rahimi was not forced to sign the statutory declarations. He made the SDs voluntarily and the SDs were in Anwar’s favour.”
Something fishy going on
Rahimi had lodged the police report at the Klang police station at around 3pm and had arranged to give a press conference at the Lotus restaurant at 4 pm.
Najib and Rosmah met Saiful
However, the press conference was disrupted by a group of men who claimed to be PKR members. According to Malaysiakini, the group said they were “defending Anwar”.
There were six people allegedly led by PKR vice-president aspirant K Sureshkumar and another man by the name of M Jayabalan.
“Call off the press conference. How much were you paid? We know what happened between you and Saiful,” yelled M Jayabalan repeatedly.
Meanwhile, PKR officials are investigating the incident which appears to be aimed at discrediting not only Anwar but also the party itself.
“We don’t know anything about that all. If the group that disrupted the PC are really PKR members, we will have to probe why they behaved the way they did. A lot of strange things seem to be happening of late,” Latheefa told Malaysia Chronicle.
“If they did do it for whatever reasons of their own, they will still have to be responsible for it. It is not the smartest thing to do and if they had checked with the party, we would have warned them against such behavior.”
Najib denounced for sodomy trial
Anwar, the 62-year-old PKR adviser, was accused of sodomizing his former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.
Richard Branson – mobbed in KL
He has denied the charges and accused Najib and Rosmah of collaborating with Saiful to frame him and derail his political comeback. Najib had initially denied ever meeting Saiful but later admitted they had met. A day after their meeting, Saiful lodged the police report which led to the ongoing trial against Anwar.
Due to the flimsiness of the evidence, the case has been sharply criticized by civil society and prominent leaders within Malaysia and overseas. Parliamentarians from Europe to the U.S. and Australia have written to Najib to condemn the trial.
Nobel Laureate and former U.S. vice president Al Gore has also slammed the case. The latest world figure to add to the mountain of criticism against Najib for forcing through the trial is British tycoon Richard Branson.
“I hope the case gets dropped. The case is fundamentally wrong and it does not make Malaysia look good in the world map,” Richard, the Virgin airlines boss, had told reporters during a trip to Malaysia last month.-MalaysiaChronicle