Cabinet accepts Zahid’s reasons for writing FBI letter, says report
The Cabinet has heard and accepted the home minister’s explanation on the letter he wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigation advocating for gambling kingpin Paul Phua, said Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman.
Malaysiakini reported Anifah as saying that Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi provided an explanation at a recent cabinet meeting.
In the letter, Zahid cleared Phua of being involved in a triad, and vouched for him as a "government asset" for national security projects.
"We listened to the explanation put forward by him and we had agreed to accept the explanation given," Anifah was quoted saying by the news portal.
Anifah declined to reveal what Zahid said, adding that the media should question the home minister on the subject.
Phua, a former Macau casino junket operator, faces illegal sports betting charges in Las Vegas, Nevada, after being arrested during last year's FIFA World Cup football in Brazil. His son also faces the same charges.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Monday told the media that the cabinet was not aware of Zahid's letter dated December 18, 2014.
The letter only came to light when it was exposed in an article by the South China Morning Post.
No Putrajaya official has commented on the letter and Zahid himself has kept mum.
But, Umno lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, claiming that Phua's lawyers in the US had contacted him, held a press conference to say that Zahid wrote the letter at the request of the lawyers to "correct" information given by the Malaysian police to the FBI in 2008.
The police are upset as the letter contradicts their intelligence work on Phua, who they have found to be involved with the Hong Kong 14K triad.
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar defended the police by saying that although the 14K did not exist in Malaysia, "there are Malaysians abroad who are known to be members of the triad".
The police also feel Zahid failed to follow procedures by not checking the facts on Phua, not obtaining legal advice before sending it, and not going through the foreign ministry as required.
Zahid has been severely condemned by opposition politicians and Malay right wing group Perkasa for acting unilaterally and abusing his office. – January 14, 20/
admin: berdasarkan laporan berita tersebut maka benarlah surat di atas yang dihantar oleh Menteri Dalan Negeri Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi kepada FBI berhubung kes Paul Phua . In bukan cerita dongeng, ini betul-betul