Salleh: Najib ‘Convicted’ In Trial By Media

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 1 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has been subjected to gross injustice of trial through the media and was ‘convicted’ in a court of public opinion, based not on evidence but on mere allegations, said Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak. The Communications and Multimedia Minister in his latest blog posting today said those who have slandered the prime minister owe him a huge apology. 

He added that which, of course, they know will never happen. According to Salleh, since the so-called revelation by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on July 2, 2015, with the headline “Investigators believe money flowed to Malaysian leader Najib’s accounts amid 1MDB probe,”, the prime minister was subjected to a barrage of attacks by the local and foreign media, as well as bloggers.

“It was a trial by media and Najib was being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion due to this media onslaught. And he was being treated as guilty until and unless he can prove his innocence, which was precisely what (former prime minister) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said,” he said.

WSJ had on July 2, 2015 published a report claiming Najib had stolen US$700 million or RM2.6 billion of 1MDB’s money and had transferred it to his personal bank accounts, which also triggered the setting up of a Special Task Force to investigate the allegation. However, Salleh said according to what The Wall Street Journal said, the investigation had started before 2nd July 2015 and was not the result of The Wall Street Journal’s 2nd July 2015 ‘expose’.

“And The Wall Street Journal confirmed it was in possession of documents related to that probe (which means the investigation had already been launched before 2nd July 2015 if there are already documents related to the probe). This in itself sounds very suspicious because The Wall Street Journal said its 2nd July 2015 report is based on the investigation while the official statement from the Special Task Force is that it was set up to investigate the Wall Street Journal’s 2nd July 2015 ‘expose’,” he said.

“So which came first? And if The Wall Street Journal’s 2nd July 2015 report came first and the launch of the Special Task Force came after, as what we are being told, this would mean The Wall Street Journal was given documents that were not based on any investigation but were planted to slander the Prime Minister,” he said.

In the meantime, Salleh also pointed that on 4th July 2015, the Attorney-General said that he had just received the documents regarding to the investigation and on 8th July 2015 it was announced that a Special Task Force had been set up to investigate the allegation. He said so where did The Wall Street Journal obtain its ‘evidence’ from and which ‘probe’ are they referring to Meanwhile, he also added at that time Malaysians should have already smelled a rat. 

Referring to a report by WSJ stating its uncertainty with regards to the original source of the money and how it was spent, Salleh believed the news journal was actually quite vague about the whole issue but due to the manner the report was crafted, it was made to appear like a crime had been committed. Salleh said in short, The Wall Street Journal said it does not really know what happened but then its stories thereafter, as well as the stories from others, give an impression that it knows precisely what happened. 

However, Salleh said, contarary to its earlier report, the WSJ now says the money was not from 1MDB after all, but was a donation from Middle Eastern sources, which appears to also be the basis of the recent ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) special report. Salleh said even Dr Mahathir no longer talks about stolen money but a donation and that the former prime minister is shifting the issue from where the money came from to how the money was spent.

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