Some mentions about the aspiring next No.1 Umno
Posted October 13, 2008on:
|Altantuya-Najib allegations resurface|
|Oct 12, 08 2:54am|
|Altantuya Shariibuu, the controversially murdered Mongolian national, and Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak are back again in the spotlight.
Making waves in cyberspace is an article entitled ‘Abuse of power by the deputy prime minister’ appearing in ISA detainee Raja Petra Kamarudin’s Malaysia Today website.
The report reveals a string of SMS messages purportedly exchanged between Najib and lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah (left) over a period of nearly one month, starting from Nov 8 to Dec 2, 2006.
Their correspondence revolved around Abdul Razak Baginda (right), one of Najib’s advisors charged with abetting two police officers in the slaying of the 28-year old Mongolian national – with whom the deputy premier has been alleged to have had a sexual relationship.
Tipped to succeed Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi when he steps down by March next year, Najib is now in locked in the throes of a heated race for top party posts in his Umno party.
Not only is he contesting the Umno presidency, which Abdullah is vacating, he is also busily organising and installing a line-up of lieutenants who can help him shore up power in his bid to become the next premier.
No effect on campaign
However, his supporters deny the latest news could have any effect on his campaign.
“We are not bothered about that,” said a long-time close supporter told Malaysiakini. “It is obviously intended to sabotage him but he is riding a wave of popularity now. I don’t think Umno members have much choice anyway.”
Yet the 55-year old Najib, who has repeatedly denied the allegations, has taken the trouble to swear his innocence twice. The last was at mosque during the Permatang Pauh by-election tussle with Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
In delegates’ conferences at 191 Umno divisions across the country, Najib has secured 28 nominations – winning the thumbs-up from all the divisions that have voted so far.The UK-trained economist needs to obtain a total of 58 nominations in order to stand for party election in March next year.
So far, no one else has been nominated to contest the presidency – which comes with the premiership in tow – but party watchers say it it is still a long journey ahead, with another three weeks to go until nominations end on Nov 9.
Meanwhile, anti-Najib banners have sprung up in some parts of the city. Civil groups have been condemning Raja Petra’s (right) detention under the Internal Security Act, calling for the oppressive law – that was originally intended to contain terrorists – to be repealed.
Some critics have even suggested that his arrest was to stop him from writing about the Altantuya murder, which could potentially upset Najib’s plan of becoming the nation’s next prime minister.
“The extension detention order is clearly politically motivated to silence critics and dissenting views from the government. Raja Petra has been very vocal in exposing corruption and abuse of powers in the government, especially the gruesome murder of the Mongolian women, Altantuya that may implicate powerful figures in the government,” said Syed Ibrahim, chairman of the Abolish ISA movement.
String of SMSes
The Malaysia Today article, which came out on Saturday, said while the SMS correspondence did “not answer lingering questions about Najib’s alleged past relations with Altantuya, the text messages show clearly Najib’s active intereference in the case very early on.”
One of the text messages allegedly sent by Najib said that Razak “will face a tentative charge but all is not lost.”
The article went on to question: “This message raises a lot of questions about Najib’s role in this case. Why did he mention ‘tentative’ charge and that ‘all is not lost’ for Razak Baginda? How would Najib know this before Razak was charged? Is there already a deal in place that will see Razak aquitted?”
A thorn in Najib’s flesh, Raja Petra – who is also a well-known supporter of Anwar – has published numerous exposes about Najib and his wife on his website.
He is also facing sedition charges for having allegedly implied the deputy premier and his wife, Rosmah Mansor (left in above photo) were involved in Altantuya’s death. Both have denied the allegation.