Saturday 23 July 2011

Scorpene dinner a blast despite missing lawyer

The deportation of their special guest French lawyer William Bourdon did not dampen Suaram's Ops Scorpene fund-raising dinner last night at Petaling Jaya Civic Centre.

suaram submarine dinner 230711 03More than 500 people turned up in a show of solidarity for the 55-year-old Frenchman whom Suaram had hired for the human rights NGO's pending Scorpene trial in France.

Speakers at the dinner included PKR MPs Nurul Izzah (Lembah Pantai) and Tian Chua (Batu), as well as cartoonist Zunar, all of whom condemned the BN government's deportation of Bourdon.

Nurul Izzah said that this move was a test for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, whether he still could still win the hearts of the people with his 'economic transformation programme'.

“In fact, this kick helped our cause even more,” she said, regretting that she could not meet Bourdon in person as a result.

suaram submarine dinner 230711 tian chuaEchoing Nurul, Tian Chua (right) said that Bourdon's detention yesterday morning reminded him of Malaysian Hollywood star Michelle Yeoh, who has been blacklisted by the military regime in Burma for playing pro-democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film.

“Sad to say, the (Malaysian government) has reduced us to the level of Burma,” he said.

Zunar, meanwhile, questioned why Bourdon was barred from entering the country to speak the truth, when Najib could fly overseas and spread misinformation.

“Why is it Bourdon cannot come from abroad to tell us the truth, meanwhile our prime minister can go abroad to tell lies?” he quipped.

PJ dinner raised RM200,000

french lawyer William BourdonSuaram has filed a legal case in Paris with Bourdon's (right) help, with claims that the French defence giant DCNS had paid RM540 million in commissions to a middleman Perimekar for the Defence Ministry's purchase of two submarines.

Such payments are illegal under French laws.
Perimekar is a subsidiary of KS Ombak Laut Sdn Bhd, the major shareholder of which is Mazlinda Makhzan, wife to Abdul Razak Baginda, a confidante of Najib Abdul Razak, then deputy prime minister and defence minister.
To raise funds for the suit, Suaram this week organised three fund-raising dinner in Penang, Petaling Jaya and Ipoh where Bourdon was to give a case briefing.

suaram submarine dinner 230711 zunarThe lawyer managed to attend the first in Penang to a packed audience on Thursday night before his detention upon touch down in KLIA the following day.

He was deported last night after several hours' detention along with his fiancée Lea Foriester, also a lawyer.

The dinner last night, minus Bourdon, successfully raised over RM200,000.

The emcee announced that they received RM150,000 in ticket sales alone, while Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim donated RM20,000 each.

suaram submarine dinner 230711 yellow submarineThe dinner raised RM4,000 in an auction for Zunar's 'Scorpene in Yellow Land' painting, and RM650 for a yellow submarine cake (left).

Guests also made on the spot donations totalling RM6,526 in a show support for Suaram.
Suaram had filed a legal case against DCNS over alleged irregularities in the deal back in 2009.
The matter has passed the initial inquiry stage and is expected to be heard in French courts in September.

Thus far, Bourdon's team have uncovered evidence which may point to millions of ringgit paid out to top Malaysian government officials.

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