PI BALA AWAITS OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM MACC

It has been over a month since Nazri Abdul Aziz announced in Parliament that the MACC had recorded statements from various relevant witnesses in their investigations into the allegations made by PI Bala in the press releases he made in November last year.

Bala, through his lawyers, has unequivocally offered his cooperation in the investigations being conducted by the MACC and these sentiments have been formally related to them in writing setting out various conditions for the proposed interview. Bala remains ready, willing and able to do so.

The MACC has formally responded by disagreeing to most of the conditions set by Bala and instead insisting that the interview be conducted at the Malaysian High Commission (ostensibly still on Malaysian soil), in Singapore, that Bala would not be given a copy of the recorded statement and that all communications were to be designated ‘secret’ under the Official Secrets Act.

(Bala is understandably apprehensive about remaining anywhere resembling Malaysian sovereign territory due to past bad experiences.)

We did not agree to those conditions imposed by the MACC and made this known to the MACC in a letter dated 22 January 2010, to which we have yet to receive a response.

It was therefore somewhat of a pleasant surprise to read that the ‘Timbalan Ketua Pesuruhjaya (Operasi)’, one Datuk Shukri Abdull, in his statement to the press reported by Bernama on the 19 April 2010, has categorically said that the MACC were willing to record Bala’s statement ‘not only in a Malaysian High Commission overseas but anywhere Bala felt appropriate’. This is indeed rather reassuring.

Datuk Shukri went on further to state that the MACC had no objections to Bala’s lawyers being present when his statement was being recorded, which is even more reassuring.

We had anticipated that this announcement would have been presented to us in the form of a written response to our letter dated 22 January but unfortunately this has not happened. We appreciate the fact that there have been two rather important by-elections in the intervening period and that the MACC must have had their hands full as a result.

However, these have now been resolved and instead of waiting for a letter to arrive from the MACC we felt it appropriate to use the same mode of communication chosen by Nazri and the MACC in issuing our response as this appears to be a more effective method in the present circumstances.

Please therefore be informed that Bala would like the interview conducted in London (Icelandic volcano permitting) sometime in July this year. He would also appreciate reimbursement of air fares and hotel accommodation for himself and his lawyers, with a set daily stipend to cover costs of food and subsistence, payable beforehand.

The interview will be audio-visually recorded and Bala is to be given a copy of anything the MACC officers ask him to sign. That is only reasonable.

These conditions are no different from those originally proposed and we see no reason why the MACC should not be able to accept them in the spirit they are offered, especially as it appears sentiments have somewhat mellowed in the past few months.

Early confirmation will ensure all travel and accommodation arrangements can be made in good time.

We look forward to the MACC’s immediate response so that this long outstanding matter can be resolved expeditiously.

We are forwarding this letter for publication in the mainstream media as well as in some of the more popular alternative media sites, as shown below.

Thank you.

Manjeet Singh Dhillon
Americk Sidhu
20/05/10

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