20 November, 2008

Truth, lies and blogs

"The 22 months in prison was the most stressful, anxious and sad period of my 48 years of existence," was how political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda described the time he spent under remand in his first press conference since being freed on Oct 31.

He was freed of abatement to murder of his Mongolian lover in a long and sensational trial.

Abdul Razak Baginda today broke his silence to hit out at bloggers who turned lies and assumptions into truth, so much so that the truth became irrelevant.

"I was shocked at the extent my case had been wildly exaggerated and that throughout his two years of imprisonment, lies and baseless assumptions have become the basis for truth, so much so the truth had become irrelevant and was lost in translation,"

"While some have told me to say nothing, I feel if I do not be brave and try to turn the tide in order to tell the truth, then I will be merely turning a blind eye and allow the liars to prevail."

“I told them what I told you all today, that Najib did not know or has met the deceased (Altantuya Shaariibuu)," said Abdul Razak:

“I implore all of you and the public to stop spreading lies about Datuk Seri Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor as I know they have never met the deceased Altantuya.”

Saying that he had not been in contact with Najib since his release, Abdul Razak described his relationship with Najib as an official one and that he (Najib) was a friend whom he had personal contact with.

Asked about what he thought of Najib becoming the next Prime Minister, he said: “He (Najib) is a well read person and well in tune with what is going on in the world, and in terms of intellectual and experience, he will make a good Prime Minister.”

Asked if he would continue rendering his services as a political analyst to Najib when the latter becomes Prime Minister, Abdul Razak said: “I’m quite happy with my freedom at the moment and don’t want to be tied up with any appointment whatsoever...not that it’s coming.”

Speaking further about the trying time, Abdul Razak said his faith in God, firm belief in his innocence and support of family and friends helped him pull through it.

"The love and dedication of my family gave me the strength I needed during this very difficult time in my life," he said reading from a statement.


On blogs

People should start questioning the validity of the information they receive, especially from blogs.

We are supposed to be a knowledge-based society and a thinking people but now one or two bloggers form an opinion, and that becomes public opinion.

Bloggers could even be used as tools by enemies of the state to erode confidence. Then we are talking about something more sinister.

Most bloggers write based on hearsay and not based on what they themselves have seen or heard. This is just a phase that develop countries had gone through once and after some time the opinion of bloggers will have little effect.

I expect my statement to be twisted as well. But this is the truth and if anyone wants to twist and turn, then all I can say is that I have said my piece and to me this is the truth. Quoting Shakespeare, he said: “A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on.”


No link between the murder case and the Scorpene and Agosta submarine deal

There are no linkages to this whatsoever. I’m appalled by the extent of lies, but the time frame between the striking of the deal and when I met Altantuya will explain this. The arms deal was signed in June 2002, I met the deceased on Nov 2004; so I fail to see the connection.


On claims of interference from the top

Referred to SMS exchanges between the first lawyer representing him (Datuk Muhammad Shafee Abdullah) and Najib, he said: “Let me just remind you that I was charged, imprisoned, waited for my trial, court started and went on for 151 days, I was separated from my family, I went through all that! So how can there be any interference if I went through all that, God Almighty! Come on!”


On public reaction to his release

To my surprise a lot of people came up to me and wished me the best- total strangers- came to say that they were happy that I had been released. I was pleasantly surprised because I thought I was going to be frowned upon, going to be a leper, that everyone will shy away from me.


What next?

I will be going to the United Kingdom (UK) to complete my doctorate studies. I’m going back to UK for a simple reason. Not many of you know this. I was a student at Oxford and on Sept 28, 2006, two weeks before I got arrested, I submitted a doctoral dissertation to Oxford having studied at Trinity College Oxford for a number of years.

The university put my dissertation on hold and now that I have been released, I have been informed by the university that I can be examined, so I’m now going back to be examined- and Insya Allah – I can get my doctorate by early next year. I am not running away. I wil be back, unless I can land myself a cushy job like prime minister over there.


On his ordeal

It is difficult for anyone to understand what I have gone through. When you are down you are basically alone, this is a lesson to me and I managed to get through this with the support of my family and God.

He attributed his several outbursts in court to frustrations over the delays in the trial and issues that he had to go through.

It was the most stressful, anxious and sad period of my life. The 22 months I spent in jail gave me a chance to reflect on life.

It is perhaps human nature that when someone is in trouble, people shy away. Prior to my imprisonment, during the Hari Raya season, I would receive hundreds of cards but for the last two years I received a total of not more than 20.

My family, my close friends, my lawyers and my books have all added to my escape, for my mind was never incarcerated. To me this was my ‘great escape'.

The prison authorities demonstrated a high degree of professionalism and I thank my fellow inmates for their kindness.


On his relationship with Altantuya

The person has died; let the person rest in peace. I would like to emphasise 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.

(Source)

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