PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BY AMERICK SINGH SIDHUJuly 4, 2008 at 11:03 pm | Posted in BERITA | Leave a comment
4 July 2008, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
I have been made to understand that Mr. Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal has issued a statutory declaration at a press conference held at the Prince Hotel at 11.00 am this morning, retracting his earlier statutory declaration affirmed on the 1st July 2008.
The reason given for this retraction is that his original statutory declaration, recorded by myself, was “compelled to be affirmed under duress”.
No details of this alleged compulsion and duress have been put forth. Mr. Bala is reported as not answering when asked this morning in his press conference who was it who intimidated him.
For the record, I confirm that the statutory declaration affirmed by Mr.Bala on 1st July 2008 which he released yesterday was affirmed voluntarily before a commissioner for oaths Dr. T. Yokheswarem and in my presence.
I first met Mr. Bala in the presence of a few other persons in a restaurant about two months ago where he asked me to assist with preparing a formal document incorporating some evidence that had not been presented in the ongoing Altantuya trial. I started the process about two weeks after that. I would have met him a few times where I recorded in long hand, what Mr. Bala told me.
I have had no reason to doubt what Mr. Bala told me as being anything other than the truth and my role was confined to listening to what he had to say, recording the same, and transcribing it into a statutory declaration in a systematic and comprehensible format.
This statutory declaration was then attested before the above said commissioner of oaths, Dr. T. Yokheswarem in my presence, and of course in the presence of Mr. Bala. The contents of this statutory declaration were read in front of this commissioner of oaths who enquired from Mr. Bala whether he understood the contents and whether that was his declaration. After Mr. Bala confirmed the same, he was asked to sign 3 copies and the commissioner attested each copy. Mr. Bala was asked to produce his NRIC to the commissioner and then signed the commissioners recording book.
I am therefore extremely surprised that Mr. Bala, in the space of 24 hours, has engaged the services of another lawyer and affirmed another statutory declaration swearing the first one was untrue and that he was forced to sign it.
As I am familiar with the character of Mr. Bala having spent hours with him recording his statement, I am very skeptical that he has signed the second statutory declaration of his own free will and I am convinced he has been intimidated to do so by either threats or promises, as I can think of no other reason.
The commissioner of oaths who attested the first statutory declaration is prepared to confirm what I have stated above as far as the voluntariness of Mr. Bala’s statutory declaration is concerned.
In fact Mr. Bala recognized the commissioner as soon as he saw him as both apparently grew up in the same neighbourhood in Slim River, which is something I had no knowledge of.
AMERICK SINGH SIDHU
— PRESS STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE BY SIVARASA RASIAH —
4 July 2008, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia
Yesterday, in this very room, in the presence of many of you here again today, Mr. 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, Mr. 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 Mr. Bala’s concerns, another crime was committed. The crime was something which caused Mr. Bala this morning to retract the statements he made on Tues 1st July 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 Datuk Seri 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 Mr. 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 Mr. Americk Singh Sidhu and our observation of Mr. Bala himself. For the record, his SD was first shown to us on Wednesday 2 July, one day after it was attested to with his attorney on Tuesday the 1st.
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 Mr. Bala says it was made under duress but will not name who pressured him speak for themselves.
Who would have a motive to send Mr. Bala to make such damaging allegations against the police, the AG’s Chamber and Datuk Seri Najib 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 Mr.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 Mr.Bala’s allegations.
Vice President, Parti Keadilan Rakyat