Thursday, November 20, 2008

Transkrip Sidang Media Abdul Razak Baginda

Abdul Razak BagindaLET me say firstly, Alhamdullilah, all praise to Allah SWT, the most compassionate, most gracious and most merciful, that I am here today, amongst you, as a free man.

I have spent the last 22 months in prison and it was the guidance of Allah SWT, my firm belief in my innocence and the support given by my family and close friends, that have helped me through what I would describe as the most stressful, anxious and sad period of my 48 years of existence.

Every Saturday, without fail, my family would come and visit me, during the allowed weekly visitation. A total of well over 100 times they turned up and their visit was the highlight of my week. I have been most fortunate.

It is perhaps human nature that when someone is in trouble, people shy away. I expected this and true enough, this human nature never fails. I spent two Hari Rayas in prison. Prior to my imprisonment, during the Raya season, I would receive hundreds of cards. For the last two years, I received a total of no more than 20.

Obviously, to escape never crossed my mind, but I still escaped, for my mind was always free. My family, my close friends, my lawyers and my books have all aided my escape, for my mind was never incarcerated.

I would like to say thank you to my fellow inmates. They helped me to get through prison life for, among other things, they showed much kindness. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them the very best of luck.

No words will ever be enough to reflect or describe the ordeal that my family have had to endure these last two years. Ever since my arrest in November 2006, so much have been said by so many. Lies and baseless assumptions became the basis of so-called truth and the real truth has become irrelevant and lost in translation. It seems no one is interested anymore in knowing the truth. Some quarters have made concerted efforts to twist and turn the story into a reservoir of gibberish and garbage. The lies quickly overtook the truth.

I must admit I was rather shocked to see the extent of how my case has been wildly exaggerated and how the ignorant have taken centrestage and managed to pull the wool over the eyes of so many people. Many have jumped on the bandwagon of skullduggery. The innocents have become the victims while the liars are running supreme. People have become so gullible and they believe what they want to believe, irrespective of the truth.

I know that there will always be cynics and manipulators out there to ridicule and to falsely interpret what I say. I am caught in “the damned if you do and damned if you don't” situation. Some have advised me to say nothing as the effort will be futile. They argue that whatever I say would not make any difference as people will prefer to keep to their own interpretations, in spite of the truth. Even after the truth is revealed, such people will have their own explanations. It appears to be unwinnable.

However, I feel that if I do not brave myself and try to turn the tide in order to tell the truth, then I will be merely turning a blind eye and indeed allow the liars to prevail. To me, to be indifferent is to be irresponsible.

Members of the media, I implore all of you and the public to stop spreading lies about Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the DPM, and his wife. I know that Datuk Najib and his wife had never met the deceased. So much fitnah has been thrown towards the DPM and his wife. Those who have spread such lies can never produce any authentic evidence because simply there are none. The truth is the truth and nothing can change the truth.

I would like to say here once again, Alhamdulilah, syukur to Allah SWT for reaffirming and fortifying my innocence through the courts. I would like to emphasis that I did not commit any offence in respect of the deceased. Nevertheless I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased for their loss.

Najib has never met Altantuya, says Abdul Razak

The following are Abdul Razak's answers to questions from the press:

Whether he has had contact with Najib since his release:

"To be honest, I have not, neither has he. No, none whatsoever. I have not met him, not seen him, spoken to him, SMSed him, e-mailed him."

Asked to describe his relationship with Najib:

"The press, the media, the bloggers, the man in the street have described my relationship with Najib in all forms. From a close aide, a close friend, an associate, an advisor. In jest I would say, why don't you take your pick? My relationship with Najib has evolved over the years. There obviously was a professional relationship and this goes back as early as the 1990s. And having known him professionally I also got to know him personally."

Asked how he knows Najib had never met Altantuya:

"How do I know? It is like asking me... I know, OK?"

Will he still work with Najib:

"I have never had any formal relationship with Najib. At one point someone described me as his political secretary. I have never held any official position vis-a-vis the Prime, sorry, the Deputy Prime Minister. An aide is someone who holds an official position. Very much reminiscent of the US system where Osama, sorry, not Osama bin Laden, but Barack Obama, sounds quite similar, he will be selecting his secretaries and special assistants. I am never an aide. I have known him for quite a while. I'd like to say here that he will make a good Prime Minister. He is a well-read person, we have had countless of times talked about books, exchanged books. He is well tuned to what's going on in the world. Intellectually, in terms of experience, I think he has got all that. I am quite happy with my freedom at the moment. I do not want to be tied up with any appointment whatsoever not that it is coming."

On immediate plans:

"I am going to the UK as I was a student at Oxford. Two weeks before I was arrested, I submitted my doctoral dissertation to Oxford. When I was arrested the university placed my dissertation on hold. So I am going back to basically be examined. Insya-Allah I will get my doctorate next year."

Will he stay on in Britain and not come back:

"Why the hell should I run away? I am innocent. I have been acquitted by the courts, I wanna stay here, this is my home. I'll be back in a couple of months’ time, I just wanna get my doctorate, that's it. Unless I get a cushy job like Prime Minister of the UK."

On why he was implicated:

"You must appreciate that the main trial is on and civil proceedings by the family of the deceased who have taken a legal suit against the government of Malaysia plus myself and the two accused. I am not at liberty to elaborate on that."

On why there was a change of lawyers:

"I am flanked by lawyers and the legal profession has its own set of ethics and I don't think I should reveal any reason why, whether I like a person's face or not."

On why he cancelled his first press conference:

"It has nothing to do with my appeal. I was quite confident upon my release that I could face the outside world especially the press. But after a few days I found myself to be not ready. You have to be in prison for two years to know what I am saying. My mind is incoherent, I keep losing things. You can't lose things in prison because you don't have many things to begin with. These days I lose my glasses and now my daughter has gone back to the UK, I have one less person to help me look."

On his relationship with the deceased:

"There has been a lot of lies spread. For example, it came from a very reputable media. It was stated that I met her at a party. Where did that come from? On the SMSes between Najib and my former lawyer, I was in prison then. Sorry, the alleged SMSes because it was never proven. On this so-called SMSes, why don't you be a bit more critical and not take it at face value. When someone says intervention, everyone says intervention and jumps on the bandwagon. No one questions the validity of that. Let me remind you that I was charged, went to prison, waited for my trial, which went on for 151 days, I did not see my family, did not touch them until court started. I went through all that, how can there be any interference if I went through all that, God almighty, come on."

Who are the liars:

"I don't want to be specific. All I want to say is, for the last two years, I didn't realise the extent of the reach of the so-called borderless world, the Internet world and how bloggers have taken, almost centrestage. The last two weeks I checked with my friends abroad, and they said there was a period in British society where bloggers ran supreme but after a while, everyone realised that bloggers are bloggers. I can start a blog and say anything with impunity. The phase will go away, people will say, bloggers, my God. My daughter or my taxi man can be a blogger if he can write well and he can manufacture facts. They are out there."

Will he take action against the media:

"I never made any comment until today. I have kept silent from the day I was arrested until today. I never said I would take any legal action."

Whether the photo of him, Najib and Altantuya together is genuine:

"I was investigated by the Multimedia Commission and I was shown the photograph. You must be a real idiot or moron to believe the photo is authentic. To begin with the girl is not even the deceased. So if any of you believe the photograph, God, you guys have been taken for a ride."

On the link to the submarine deal:

"There is no linkage whatsoever. Let me tell you about the timeframe. But everyone is lazy because no one checked the facts. The deal, the purported deal was signed in June 2002. I first met the deceased, November or December 2004. I just fail to see the connection yet it went on and on and on."

Will he write a book on his experience:

"The problem is if I say yes, you will be hounding me for it."

Why he was always smiling in court:

"I am innocent. At some point I said, God willing, I will be released. I cannot imagine an innocent man can be found guilty. I was worried because there was talk of pandering to the public, the media. But I went through the court system. People tend to forget I spent 22 months in jail. I regard myself as lucky actually. I think in a person's life I always believe something bad will happen to you but God has given me a better option than death. Imprisonment is a better option than death simply because I had a chance to reflect on my life."

Would he apologise to the family of the deceased:

"I never knew the family of the deceased. I have already expressed publicly my sympathy to the family."

What he has been doing the past three weeks since his release:

"To begin with, I have been eating a helluva lot, so I have been putting on a lot of weight. For 22 months I have not done anything really. Suddenly for three weeks I have to do so many things. In prison, everything is regimented. When I'm out, I am thinking I don't have much time, but I do have time, so I am adjusting myself. Not too well, I'm afraid, I'm still eating too much."

Where he met Altantuya:

"There is a death, and it doesn't make any difference where I met her. All I wanted to say in my statement was that Najib never met the woman. From there whoever said whatever, they are all lies."

Is he a victim of a political game:

"I don't sense that at all. What has happened is I was caught in the system, I went through the system and I am glad I survived the system. My wife reminds me, the system has put you in, the system will get you out."

What he would do if he was Altantuya's father:

"I can't be someone else. I can't think what he thinks or what you are thinking. He can do whatever he wants to do, I can do whatever I want to do, you can do whatever you want to do."

Has his reputation been unjustly damaged:

"Thank you very much, I didn't realise I had a reputation before I entered prison. I constantly remind myself that I want to close one chapter of my life and open the next chapter. The sooner I get on with my life the better. I just want to move forward not look back."

Court of public opinion believing he is still implicated:

"I can't really be responsible for that. When you say public opinion I really wonder who you have in mind. When you talk about people's power, you look at Thailand, you say, wow the people are against the government. A hundred thousand, 500,000, the media blows it out of proportion. But hang on a minute, is that democracy? If you talk about 500 people going out in the streets as opposed to a population of 100 million is that reflective of democracy? If I have money and pay everyone RM10 and get 100,000 people out today in the streets and protest against the government is that people's power? Is that public opinion? Blimey, that's not public opinion, that's just manipulation. So you talk about public opinion as if it is a coherent, consistent consensus and I don't think there is a consensus. So I don't want to pander to the so-called public opinion and I'd like to ask you who is the public opinion? Can a blogger reflect the public opinion? Blimey, if that is the case, I can run you down as well, mate, and say this is the public opinion. If we descend to a level where a taxi driver, for example, someone who doesn't know the facts, writes, and that becomes public opinion then I feel sorry for society. Just one individual, two individuals, one blogger, two bloggers can form an opinion and that becomes public opinion? Come on, give me a break."

Is he blaming Raja Petra Kamarudin:

"I wouldn't say any particular blogger. The whole idea that bloggers or so-called opinion-makers can form an opinion and that becomes the truth. That worries me. If bloggers can become the source of truth then we are in trouble as a society. Can you imagine enemies of the state using blogs to erode confidence, for example. You are talking about something even far more sinister. If a concerted effort is made towards the state, the government, the people, then we are in trouble. But in more developed societies, they have gone through the phase we are going through and after awhile they will say, let's not worry about them."

Will speculation stop after today:

"Even my press statement today there will be twist and turns. If I hold this up and say this is a tape recorder, and it is reported that Razak held a gun, I can't be responsible for that. What can I do? I just want to tell the truth and that's the truth.”

People's reaction after he was released:

"To my surprise, a lot of people wished me the best, some actually said congratulations, total strangers came up to me and say we are happy that you are out. I actually thought I was going to be a leper and everyone is going to shy away from me. Of course, when I walk around people were whispering and all that, but that's quite obvious."

Final word on bloggers:

"More often when you read bloggers. They do not base their writing on fact. It's a lot of hearsay. This person told me this, that person told me this, a little bird told me this, rather than I was there, I saw this, I did this. Let's be a bit more critical in what we read and don't accept things verbatim. If you don't then you can also write the same thing and tell lies on others. In fact, I was so surprised that it is so easy to tell lies on the Internet.”

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