RM100 million offered to switch hop, says Anifah

RM100 million offered to switch hop, says Anifah
Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman - file pic
KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman told the High Court here Thursday that former KFC Holdings (M) Bhd deputy chairman Datuk Ishak Ismail offered him RM100 million to switch.

Anifah said Ishak, who was linked to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, also made the offer with a view to bringing in 10 Sabah members of parliament (MPs) to join Pakatan Rakyat to form a new government in 2008, at the Hilton hotel in Kuala Lumpur Sentral.

"I was taken aback and angry. I felt cheap as I've been an MP for three terms and I'm committed to the Barisan Nasional (BN)," he said.

However, Anifah said he could not remember the actual date of the encounter.

"I told him (Ishak), 'don't you ever repeat those words (to party hop)'," he said during re-examination by lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, who represented him.
Anifah was testifying in Anwar's RM100 million defamation suit over the minister's remarks at a media conference in Washington in May 2009.

Earlier in Thursday's proceedings, Anifah told the court that Anwar spoke to him on the mobile phone after he (Anifah) touched down at the Sepang Low-Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) Sepang and offered him the deputy prime ministership if Pakatan formed the government on Sept 16, 2008.

Meanwhile, in a witness statement tendered in court Thursday, Anifah said Anwar had communicated with him over the phone sometime between May and June 2008.

"I had received a call from Tony Vun (businessman), who then told me that someone wished to speak to me and thereafter Tony Vun handed over the phone to Anwar.

"It was at this time that Anwar made the offer (to party hop). He did tell me that if I did proceed to party hop, he would offer me the position of deputy prime minister.

"Anwar was obviously aware that I had strong influence with several MPs from Sabah to effectuate several 'party hoppings'," he said in the statement.

According to the statement, Anifah said he refused to engage with Anwar further, and that he was not interested in and would not party hop.

Queried during cross-examination by lawyer Razlan Hadri Zulkifli, who appeared for Anwar, Anifah said the alleged defamatory statement was made on May 14, 2009 at a press conference organised by the United States State Department.

"I was specifically asked by a reporter to comment on the position taken by the US State Department on the criminal charges against the plaintiff and if the charges were politically motivated," he said.

Anifah said the alleged defamatory statement was meant to be off-the-record and he had reminded the press that the statement was exclusively for the audience present at the press conference.

Anwar filed the suit against Anifah and the Malaysian government on May 27, 2009, alleging that the minister's remarks at a media conference in Washington, where then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was present, had tarnished his image.

The complainant accused Anifah of depicting him as a person who was unfit to hold a political or any office and dangerous to Malaysian society.

Anwar also alleged that the defendant's remarks which were widely reported in the local and foreign media, had cast imputations on his character and directly and indirectly portrayed him as unethical, unprincipled and corrupt.

The hearing before judicial commissioner Siti Khadijah S. Hassan Badjenid continues Friday.