KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today said that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has made numerous baseless public attacks solely to undermine his credibility as Prime Minister and his Unity Government.
He said his entire speech at the event in Shah Alam, Selangor, dubbed “Kongres Nasional Khas Malaysia Madani: Pelaksanaan Sebuah Idealisme” on March 18 was a relevant response to Dr Mahathir’s attack, statements and behaviour towards him.
“In this regard, I have the right to refute unfounded attacks on my character, integrity, and good intention as the Prime Minister and on the Federal government under my leadership,” he said.
The PKR president said this in his statement of defence filed through Messrs Thomas Philip at the Shah Alam High Court yesterday in response to the legal suit filed by Dr Mahathir against him.
Anwar said Dr Mahathir’s suit against him was also meant to create racial disharmony ahead of the upcoming six state elections.
Anwar said this was proven by the Certificate of Urgency filed by Dr Mahathir, dated May 3, which stated that his legal suit must be heard as soon as possible due to the impending state elections in Selangor, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Kelantan, Terengganu and Kedah.
In his statement of defence, Anwar also cited the awarding of a direct contract to Opcom Sdn Bhd, a company where Dr Mahathir’s third son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz, was the director from March 30, 1994, to Oct 14, 2009.
According to Anwar, on Sept 15, 2003, Telekom Malaysia Berhad issued a letter to the Ministry of Finance requesting, among other things, permission to engage in direct negotiations with Opcom for the supply of fibre optic cables worth RM214.2 million.
He said that Telekom is a government-linked company in which the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MKD) holds a special share (golden share), giving MKD the power to reject decisions made by the board and other shareholders.
“MKD is under the control of the plaintiff because he was the then Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance. On Oct 7, 2003, the Ministry of Finance issued a letter approving Telekom’s request for direct negotiations. Subsequently, direct negotiations between Telekom and Opcom took place between October and November 2003,” he said.
Anwar said that another company related to the plaintiff’s family, Opcom Cables Sdn Bhd, was awarded a contract worth RM11.157 million by Telekom on May 14, 2018, for the installation and restoration of Unifi services.
He claimed that the contract for Unifi partner was awarded to Opcom Cables four days after Dr Mahathir was sworn in as the country’s 7th Prime Minister after the 14th General Election on May 10, 2018.
“The contract was also awarded before the formation of the new Cabinet and without their approval. Cabinet ministers were only sworn in on July 2, 2018,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anwar said another company owned by Dr Mahathir’s family, Kencana Petroleum Berhad, had received a sum of US$220 million (RM836 million) from Malaysia International Shipping Corporation Berhad (MISC) or PETRONAS for the financial year ending Dec 31, 1998.
The defendant said the transactions took place under the purview or instruction of Dr Mahathir during his tenure as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.
On May 3, Dr Mahathir filed an RM150 million defamation suit against Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim over the latter’s speech at the congress held at the Melawati Stadium in Shah Alam.
Dr Mahathir claimed that Anwar had delivered a speech that contained several defamatory statements aimed to tarnish his reputation, including an allegation that the plaintiff has amassed wealth for himself, his children and family members, and has given special treatment or priority to high-ranking individuals.
The former two-time prime minister is seeking RM50 million in general damage and RM100 million in exemplary damage, as well as an apology and an order for Anwar to immediately retract all the defamatory remarks.