PETALING JAYA: The controversial submarine contract and the gruesome murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu continue to be an albatross around the neck of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Despite his denials and swearing upon the Quran, the opposition never ceases to exploit the issue while a significant number of Malaysians believe that the prime minister’s hands are stained both with corruption and the blood of the Mongolian national.
And now, the French courts have launched an inquest into the submarine deal.
However, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin pointed out that certain claims don’t add up and also reveals that the relationship between private investigator P Balasubramaniam and Najib’s confidant Abdul Razak Baginda can be traced back as far as 2000.
Razak Baginda was involved in an extra-marital affair with Altantuya, who apparently served as a translator for the submarine deal. The former was charged with abeting her murder but the court later acquitted him.
He was said to have met Balasubramaniam in 2006 when he needed help to end his relationship with the Mongolian woman.
Citing one of the documents submitted to the French courts, Raja Petra in an article published in Malaysia Today today said the two knew each other even prior to that.
In the document, defence firm DCN’s regional director Didier Arnaud stated that he had met Balasubramaniam in 2000 and identified him as one of the members of the Razak Baginda-linked Perimekar company.
“There is something very wrong with this story. But which story is the wrong one? Did Didier lie to the French national police? Or are the others lying instead?” asked Raja Petra.
“On page 4 of document 146, one of the 153 documents submitted to the French court, the French police said: In the chapter entitled ‘Commercial Partners’, Didier Arnaud said, ‘On Aug 1, 2000, we signed a cooperation business contract with Thomsom International Asia defining our respective responsibilities.
Whatever one may think about the appropriateness of such an agreement, it seems certain that this must be made for the success of the operation. The Perimekar team has evolved over the past year, and with the eviction of Tan Sri Razali and Pintar group, Suhaidi Sulaiman, Rosli Rahman and Balasubramaniam took charge of Perimekar, also supported by Ismail Noor who had sidelined Jasbir Chahl’.”
However, it could not be ascertained if the “Subramaniam” mentioned by Didier in his statement was the same person as it was a common name.
Raja Petra also noted that Suaram’s Cynthia Gabriel had revealed Jasbir Singh Chahl’s name on June 16 this year.
During a fund raising dinner for the Scorpene inquest which was initated by Suaram, Gabriel had described Jasbir as the right-hand man of Razak Baginda.
“Jasbir is a central figure in the negotiation and procurement process. He is the first person to be served with a subpoena,” she had said.
Raja Petra said Jasbir was supposed to be the initiator of the submarine idea back in 1999 when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister, Daim Zainuddin the finance minister, and Najib the defence minister.
“However, Jasbir was kicked out of Perimekar not long after that. He then sued Perimekar for a couple of millions and the case was settled out of court. According to the reports, he was paid an undisclosed sum of money to settle this case out of court.
“Now, it was then when Razak Baginda was supposed to have appeared onto the scene, after Jasbir was ousted (the word the French used was ‘sidelined’). And the French national police quoted Didier as saying that the Perimekar team had ‘evolved over the last one year since 1999, which means, Perimekar had ‘changed hands’,” he said.
‘Something is wrong’
Raja Petra claimed that there was something amiss with this version.
“First of all, Razak was supposed to have appeared onto the scene after Jasbir was kicked out. Hence, in what way was Jasbir considered Razak’s ‘right hand man’? Secondly, Jasbir was pissed off that he was kicked out and he sued the company. The company then settled the suit out of court, which means there is a basis for Jasbir’s claim — that he was the initiator of the submarine deal.
“This whole episode appears more like a ‘hostile takeover’ than anything else. And this hostile takeover resulted in a suit, which was settled out of court. In what way, then, would Jasbir be considered Razak’s right hand man? There seems to be something wrong here,” he added.
Another point, said the blogger, was that Razak Baginda’s name did not appear in the list of names as reported by the French national police but Balasubramaniam’s does.
And what is interesting is that the French national police listed Balasubramaniam’s name in bold and capital letters.
“Why was his named bolded and capitalised while the others were not? Is the French national police trying to draw the court’s attention to this particular name? Yes, that is certainly a most interesting point and one that needs further investigation,” he said.
Another interesting point, Raja Petra said, was that Didier told the French national police that Balasubramaniam was one of the members of the Perimekar negotiation team since back in 2000.
“But back in 2000 Altantuya and Razak Baginda had not met yet. They did not meet until a few years later, at the end of 2004.
“Then, in 2006, Razak Baginda tried to break off his relationship with Altantuya but she would not let him go. And that was supposed to be when Razak Baginda first met Balasubramaniam in 2006 when he needed Balasubramaniam to help solve his ‘problem’ with Altantuya,” he added.