Monday December 19, 2005

PM: Nobody would’ve believed police then

KUALA LUMPUR: No one would believe the police if they had released the nationality of the woman in the ear squat video clip, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said. 

Asked by reporters yesterday as to why the woman’s identity was not made known before the independent commission on inquiry was set up, he said: “Who could have revealed the identity earlier? The police? Do you think people would have believed them?” 

LOOKS GOOD: Abdullah admiring a golf club presented to him by the organiser of Umno Malaysia Golf Tournament in Kuala Lumpur Sunday.
Last week, it was revealed in the inquiry that the woman was a Malaysian Malay. 

The Prime Minister, who was speaking to the press after the Umno Malaysia Golf Tournament 2005, said the atmosphere was such that people would not have believed whatever the police said. 

“People would have accused them of a cover-up,” he said, adding that media reports on the issue made it difficult for people to believe the police. 

On whether the police knew the identity of the woman earlier, Abdullah said the question should have been directed to the commission. 

Asked if he was told of her identity by the police, he said: “I have set up the commission and now I will wait for the report. Don’t you think it is fair for me to wait, instead of prejudging or making my own statement?” 

Abdullah said people could say all kinds of things about the investigation by the commission but that what they said were not necessarily true. 

“If there is any important information, it should have been given to the commission because it is the one doing the investigation, not the public,” he said. 

On MP Teresa Kok of DAP being the target of verbal attacks by those who said she should be held responsible for making the video public, Abdullah said: “They were the ones who used the information to come up with strong criticisms of the police. Now, the situation is reversed.” 

Meanwhile, Deputy Internal Security Minister Datuk Noh Omar has denied that he had prior knowledge of the woman’s identity, saying that he only found out about it through the newspapers. 

“The identity of that woman was not known to me (earlier). It is not true that I had withheld the information as alleged by Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang last week,” he said. 

Lim had said an early disclosure of her identity would have eased the controversy that the police was profiling Chinese nationals. 

Noh said that although the MPs from DAP had pressed him to reveal the woman’s identity in Parliament on Dec 6 and 7, he had maintained that they should wait for the outcome of the inquiry.  


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