Saturday 5 July 2008

Was the retraction of parts of SD by P. Balasubramanian due to criminal intimidation?

The following is the full text of the statement given by PKR vice-president R Sivarasa at a press conference at the party’s headquarters in the afternoon of Friday 4th July 2008.

"Yesterday, in this very room, in the presence of many of you here again today, Bala Subramanian released a statutory declaration which gave evidence of criminal suppression of evidence and perjury in the Altantuya murder case.

In front of dozens of persons, Bala stood by his sworn statement, but in an answer to a question he acknowledged his fear for his personal security due to the power and position of those he has implicated. I am very troubled that last night, one way or another, and true to Bala’s concerns, another crime was committed.

The crime was something which caused Bala this morning to retract the statements he made on Tuesday, July 1, 2008 and revealed publicly yesterday. In particular, we have taken notice that line by line the specific statements that were revised in Bala’s new statement have selectively removed those which specifically implicate the deputy prime minister by name.

This sorry episode confirms again what Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday - that there is a consistent pattern of manipulation of the criminal justice system in this country. Last night witnessed yet another instance of manipulation of evidence relevant to the most significant murder trial in recent times.

We are fully satisfied that the first statutory declaration by Bala was voluntary and with the intention the truth should no longer be hidden from the public – that it was important for us to know the secrets he had carried with him since October / November 2006. Our confidence in the original declaration is based on the information given to us by Americk Singh Sidhu and our observation of Bala himself.

For the record, his statutory declaration was first shown to us on Wednesday, July 2 - one day after it was attested to with his attorney on Tuesday, July 1.

Now the key question arises – which of these two statutory declarations represents the truth? This is the question that the royal commission we called for yesterday must immediately deal with first.

The fact that the retraction was done so speedily and in circumstances where Bala says it was made under duress but will not name who pressured him speak for themselves.

Who would have a motive to send Bala to make such damaging allegations against the police, the AG’s Chamber and Najib Razak with the idea that he would then withdraw it the next day to attempt to embarrass us? It’s difficult to think of anyone.

Who however would have a motive to intimidate Bala last night to retract his statement immediately? Obviously, from the contents of his first statutory declaration, a number of people would have that interest.

We demand that a royal commission be established to investigate the key question stated above – which of these two statutory declarations represents the truth?

This issue must also be ventilated in the Altantuya trial by all parties there so that the truth is established. In fact, the prosecution is now duty-bound to reinvestigate all of Bala’s allegations.

Sivarasa Rasiah"

Emphasis was added by me.

Veritas vincit

- Truth conquers

Vide et credere

- See and believe

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