KUALA LUMPUR, 20 Nov 2008: Abdul Razak Baginda finally broke his silence today after being acquitted by the Shah Alam High Court of abetting in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu on 31 Oct.
At a 48-minute press conference, he read out the following statement before taking questions:
At the outset, let me express my appreciation to all of you for your presence this morning. I would also like to apologise for not meeting all of you earlier.
Let me say firstly, Alhamdulillah, all praise to Allah, the most compassionate, most gracious and most merciful, that I am here today, amongst you, as a free man.
I have spent the last 22 months in prison and it was the guidance of Allah, my firm belief in my innocence and the support given by my family and close friends, that have helped me through, what I would describe as the most stressful, anxious and sad period of my 48 years of existence.
Words will never ever be enough to describe and reflect my deepest appreciation to my family who have stood by me throughout these difficult times. It was their love and dedication in abundance that have given me the strength to pull through. Every Saturday, without fail, my family would come and visit me, during the allowed weekly visitation. A total of well over 100 times they turned up and their visit was the highlight of my week. I have been most fortunate.
It is perhaps human nature that when someone is in trouble, people shy away. I expected this and true enough, this human nature never fails. I spent two Raya [days] in prison. Prior to my imprisonment, during the Raya season, I would receive hundreds of cards. For the last two years, I received a total of no more than twenty.
To those who have sent their best wishes to my family and to the very few who turned up in court, I just would like to say, thank you. Your presence and support meant a lot to me and my family.
Razak Baginda flanked by his lawyers Alex Tan (left) and
Avtaran SinghMy special thanks also go to all my lawyers who not only have worked hard on my case but [also] visited me in prison. During the Second World War, when soldiers found themselves as POWs, it was their duty to escape. Obviously, to escape never crossed my mind, but I still escaped, for my mind was always free. One could physically be imprisoned, but one’s mind can never be in captivity. My family, my close friends, my lawyers and my books have all [aided] my escape, for my mind was never incarcerated. To me, this was my “great escape”.
Most people tend to have a narrow and negative perception of prison and its authorities. However, I would like to say here that, it is never an easy job and generally, I find that the prison authorities demonstrated a high degree of professionalism. My appreciation goes to them.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to my fellow inmates. They helped me to get through prison life, for, among other things, they showed much kindness. I would like to take this opportunity to wish them, the very best of luck.
Lies and baseless assumptions
No words will ever be enough to reflect or describe the ordeal that my family have had to endure these last two years. Ever since my arrest in November 2006, so much have been said by so many. Lies and baseless assumptions became the basis of so-called truth and the real truth has become irrelevant and lost in translation.
It seems that no one is interested anymore in knowing the truth. Some quarters have made concerted efforts to twist and turn the story into a reservoir of gibberish and garbage. The lies quickly overtook the truth. As Shakespeare [wrote in] Henry IV, “A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on”.
I must admit that I was rather shocked to see the extent of how my case has been wildly exaggerated and how the ignorant have taken centre stage and managed to pull the wool over the eyes of so many people. Many have jumped on the bandwagon of skulduggery. The innocents have become the victim while the liars are running supreme. People have become so gullible and they believe what they want to believe, irrespective the truth.
Abdul Razak posing for a family picture after the press
conference. With him are (from left) his father Datuk Abdullah
Malim Baginda, his mother Datin Rohana Abdullah and brother
Dr Abdul Rani
I know that there will always be cynics and manipulators out there to ridicule and falsely interpret what I say. I am caught in the “damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” situation. Some have advised me to say nothing as the effort will be futile. They argue that whatever I say would not make any difference as people will prefer to keep to their own interpretations, in spite of the truth. Even after the truth is revealed, such people will have their own explanations. It appears to be unwinnable.
However, I feel that if I do not brave myself and try to turn the tide in order to tell the truth, then I will be merely turning a blind eye and indeed allowing the liars to prevail. To me, to be indifferent is to be irresponsible. To paraphrase Martin Luther, “Here I stand; I can do no other, so help me God”.
Najib never met Altantuya
Members of the media, I implore all of you and the public to stop spreading lies about Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak and his wife. I know that Najib and his wife had never met the deceased, Altantuya. So much fitnah has been thrown at both him and his wife. Those who have spread such lies can never produce any authentic evidence because there’s none. The truth is the truth and nothing can change it.
As you can appreciate, the trial — as well as other related court proceedings — is still ongoing, so I have been advised by my lawyers not to touch specifically on my case, mainly to preserve the sanctity of the trial.
Last but not least, I would like to once again say Alhamdulilah, syukur to Allah for reaffirming and fortifying my innocence through the Courts. I would also like to emphasise that I did not commit any offence in respect of the deceased. Nevertheless, I would like to express my deepest sympathies to the family of the deceased for their loss.
Thank you very much for your kind attention.