RPK's accusations: What's the motive?

Sivarasa Rasiah

Modified 10 Jan 2012, 6:37 am

I refer to Raja Petra Kamaruddin's comments on January 6 in the blog Malaysia Today titled "Just do it, not DUIT!" and the consequent report in the news portal Free Malaysia Today "RPK reveals cases of graft, power abuse in S'gor".

Raja Petra's comments show he is rapidly descending to the level of the likes of Nallakaruppan, Ezam and Zulkifly Nordin the way he is prepared to make completely unsubstantiated scurrilous and mischievous allegations.

He purports to produce what on the surface look like believable stories with flourishes of lurid detail. When you examine them closely, we find that key assertions are false.

Other assertions remain simply that - pure allegations without evidence. However he is fully aware that the intent of his written comments is to attempt to damage reputations of individuals and smear PKR and Pakatan Rakyat.

Let me reproduce his allegations in respect of myself, Surendran, Derek Fernandez and Latheefa Koya.

"Through the influence of Lateefa (sic) and Derrick (sic), a good chunk of the legal work in MBPJ is diverted to the firms of Sivarasa, Surendran and Derrick" , "legal work dished out by MBPJ legal department is given exclusively to a group of lawyers who are all PKR leaders", "a large amount of legal work to these chosen few".

In one breath, he alleges "exclusivity" to these firms, and then contradictorily says "a good chunk" and "a large amount".

He then suggests that this is corrupt practice or at the very least reflects a conflict of interest.

His assertions that Derek Fernandez and Surendran are doing work for MPBJ are completely false. He can't even get Derek's name and the name of the name of his firm correct.

Derek Fernandez is not even a member of PKR.

 Since 2009, my firm M/s Daim & Gamany have been retained by MBPJ to defend it in four cases.

Two cases involved judicial review challenges brought by advertising companies unhappy with its new billboard policy. Two other cases involved a judicial review challenge initiated by a developer unhappy with stop work orders issued by MBPJ and a related civil suit.

The firm is paid according to a scale of fees applicable to all firms retained by it. I believe there are about 14 firms on that list.

Four cases does not amount to the "large amount" or "a good chunk" or the "legal work dished out exclusively to PKR leaders" that Raja Petra alleges.

I believe I am retained by MBPJ to defend it in these cases because judicial review is one of my areas of practice and as a lawyer of 24 years experience, they believe I am competent to defend their interest.

I have no executive role in MBPJ or in the Selangor State government. No question of any conflict of interest arises at all.

Similarly with Latheefa Koya. She practices as a legal assistant with Daim & Gamany. She is also a councillor of MBPJ. Hence she ensures she stays OUT of all meetings and decision making in respect of cases that are referred to my firm.

These issues about my firm receiving work from MBPJ and Latheefa's role were raised two years ago by Wee Choo Keong after he left PKR. MBPJ clarified then that there was no conflict of interest on the part of Latheefa and myself.

A simple check would have verified that. Raja Petra insinuates scurrilously that I seem to have suddenly increased my personal wealth as a result of being given huge amounts of legal work by MBPJ.

His evidence is " Daim & Gamany has moved from their humble office in ‘slum' Masjid India area to a new swank office near MBPJ.

Again, he has got it completely wrong. My firm was in PKNS Wisma Yakin in Jalan Masjid India up to 2005. In that year we moved to Megan Avenue II in Jalan Yap Kwan Seng.

Then in May 2011, we moved to a smaller office in the Maris Brothers premises next to Catholic High School in section 10 PJ.

We currently occupy office space in the form of two rooms about 300 sq ft each. The "new swank office" that Raja Petra describes that Daim & Gamany have can only exist in his malevolent imagination ( Nathaniel Tan has published some useful photos of our office).

I say malevolent because these are matters that are simple to verify by any responsible writer and should have been verified before they were falsely and scurrilously published.

Raja Petra lied similarly when he described Surendran's change of car (again non-existent ) as connected to the non-existent huge work allegedly received from MBPJ post 2008.

Language such as "talk about rags to riches in a blink of an eye" is malicious in intent when asserted either knowingly or reckless that it was false.

These issues about my firm receiving work from MBPJ and Latheefa's role were raised two years ago by Wee Choo Keong after he left PKR.

MBPJ clarified then that there was no conflict of interest on the part of Latheefa and myself. A simple check would have verified that.

Many PKR lawyers are successful practitioners in their own right and are entitled to the income they generate for themselves in that capacity.

What is Raja Petra's motive in wilfully making such malicious accusations? Raja Petra again lies when he says I am paid "tens of thousands a month" as a director on the board of Kumpulan Perangsang Selangor. I am certainly not paid "tens of thousands a month".

That would be immediately obvious from the published accounts of the company. I am paid the same as any other director.

We are paid as professionals for the services we render on the board and in board committees for the responsibilities of helping to manage a public listed company with assets worth several billion ringgit; the amounts we are paid are similar to that paid in similar sized companies or possibly even less.

Look carefully at the allegations, insinuations and innuendo made against Azmin Ali without a shred of real evidence for something his brother has allegedly done.

What is the intent here? Compare the way Rafizi Ramli produced documented fact after fact regarding Sharizat and the National Feedlot Corporation scandal.

Raja Petra, if you have credible evidence of corruption in Selangor, produce it and I am sure MB Khalid and the Pakatan leaders will deal with it.

Raja Petra has said subsequently as follows "PKR needs to prove me wrong. And if I am wrong then I will tender a public apology. Maybe my Deep Throats are wrong. Or maybe they intentionally set me up with a red herring."

No. Petra, it is not so simple. You cannot get it so wrong and then wriggle out of it blaming someone else. As I said above, you maliciously knew it was false or were reckless as to whether it was false.

What you have done since your TV3 interview timed for release just before the 2011 Sarawak State Elections and your recent attacks timed for 1st January 2012 just before the 9th January Anwar verdict shows clearly now a malicious agenda with regard to PR and Anwar.

Would you like to tell us in some detail what is your part of the deal? What's happening to you now is truly a pity. I still remember arguing for your freedom in the habeas corpus case we filed on your behalf in April 2001 after your first ISA arrest with Tian Chua and others.

It's a timely reminder to us that along the difficult road we will all travel in our struggle and battle for justice and democracy that that there will be casualties. We will also have those who will betray the cause.

The writer is PKR’s Subang MP.

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