Malaysia

Shafee says secret mission claim is ‘utter rubbish’

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
April 23, 2012
Latest Update: April 24, 2012 01:15 am

Shafee refused to address the contents of the letter shown by Saifuddin in Parliament. — File picShafee refused to address the contents of the letter shown by Saifuddin in Parliament. — File picKUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah today dismissed claims he had been sent abroad by the prime minister and his wife on a “sensitive legal assignment”, saying that such allegations were “utter rubbish.”

“It’s utter rubbish; what the press says is utter rubbish. If only they know what is the truth. I am not telling them, I want them to make more mistakes,” he told a Malaysiakini reporter when met at the Jalan Duta court complex lobby.

He did not, however, offer any explanation or deny the contents of the letter exposed by PKR’s Datuk Saifuddin Nasution in Parliament last week.

“Do you understand English? I’m not giving a statement. Don’t make a circus out of nothing,” Shafee said when asked whether the contents of the letter were true.

In the letter, Shafee had sought for all his cases from April 1 to 25 to be postponed as he had to travel abroad for a “sensitive legal assignment”.

The “assignment”, according to the letter, was purportedly on orders from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, and entailed travel across the globe to cities like New York, London, Dubai, Paris and Basel, in Switzerland.

It did not specify the nature of the “legal assignment” but stressed that the mission “must be completed before the general election”.

A second letter, issued by Shafee’s legal firm, has since surfaced and claimed that the prominent Umno lawyer had been scheduled to attend a Sydney law conference this month, instead of being on a “sensitive legal assignment” commissioned by the prime minister and his wife.

The Malaysian Insider understands that the letter was raised last week in the Court of Appeal during an appeal hearing in which Shafee was the appointed counsel.

According to the letter, sighted this evening by The Malaysian Insider, Shafee’s firm had written on April 9 seeking to postpone today’s hearing, citing his participation in the law conference as reason.

“Please note that Dato’ Sri Dr Muhammad Shafee Abdullah will be in Sydney for the Commonwealth Law Conference as a participant from 18th to the 22nd of April 2012,” the letter read.

The Malaysian Insider understands, however, that Shafee’s request for adjournment was refused by Court of Appeal Justices Datuk Syed Ahmad Helmy Syed Ahmad, Datuk Clement Allan Skinner and Datuk Abdul Aziz Abdul Rahim.

The appeal subsequently proceeded and Shafee’s client’s appeal was argued by other lawyers and dismissed with costs.

But the dates stated in Shafee’s April 9 letter contradicts the lawyer’s March 23 correspondence, also seeking adjournments, to Chief Justice Tan Sri Ariffin Zakaria, Court of Appeal president Tan Sri Md Raus Sharif and Chief Judge Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin.

PKR has demanded Najib explain Shafee’s alleged “secret mission” abroad and asked if it was related to the ongoing Scorpene submarine sale probe by French authorities.

Recent media reports have linked Najib to the investigation into the RM7.3 billion Scorpene submarine deal by French authorities, which has also been linked to the brutal murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Altantuya’s alleged one-time lover Abdul Razak Baginda, said to be a close associate of Najib’s, was acquitted of abetting two Special Action Squad members — Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar — to commit the 2006 murder.

Last week, Altantuya’s father, Dr Setev Shaariibuu, told a press conference in Petaling Jaya that he had offered himself as witness in the submarine probe, claiming that his testimony would be able to “connect the dots” between her death and the Scorpene case.