KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 ― It is “baseless and absurd” to suggest that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim had threatened a witness in the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into Bank Negara Malaysia's (BNM) foreign currency trade losses, his lawyer said today.
N. Surendran said Anwar was merely rebutting former BNM deputy governor Datuk Abdul Murad Khalid's allegations at the proceeding.
“It is a basic principle that a rebuttal of evidence can never amount to ‘threatening or insulting’ the witness,” Surendran, who is also PKR vice-president, said in a statement.
He was responding to Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi, director-general of the government’s Special Affairs Department under the Communications and Multimedia Ministry, who was reported to have accused the jailed Anwar of threatening Abdul Murad in a statement last month.
Abdul Murad had previously told the RCI that Anwar had been briefed about the central bank’s losses in the early 1990s as the latter was then finance minister as well as deputy prime minister.
The former banker also claimed Anwar had wanted to keep a lid on the losses so that he would not have to take responsibility and resign.
In an August 24 statement, Anwar denounced Abdul Murad’s accusations as “malicious insinuation” and demanded to be allowed to defend himself in the RCI.
Surendran pointed out today that the RCI had yet to list Anwar as a witness when the latter issued the August statement.
“Hence, as it was a matter of public interest, Datuk Seri Anwar was compelled to state the truth of the matter by way of a statement to the public.
“Only subsequent to this was Datuk Seri Anwar allowed to testify at the RCI,” Surendran said.