KUCHING: Former Sarawak Tribune editor Lester Melanyi has denied he was paid to make the video alleging a plot to discredit Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak through falsification of documents on 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
He admitted, however, in an interview with The Star yesterday that his expenses were paid for when the video was made in Kuala Lumpur in June.
Reiterating his allegations in the video that Sarawak Report conspired with opposition leaders to forge 1MDB documents, he said he could not keep silent if lies were used to bring down the Prime Minister.
He claimed he had told several people about the matter but only Pertubuhan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin president Ramesh Rao Krishnan Naidu believed him.
Ramesh later lodged a report and handed the video to the police on Wednesday.
“My conscience asked me to act.
“It’s not fair for a man to go down because of lies.
“If it’s because he’s not popular, because of something else, fine.”
On the video, Lester said Ramesh took it.
“I’m not denying that my trip to KL (and) hotels (were) all paid for, and they gave me RM1,000 to RM2,000 for my expenses. That’s all. The term pay here is different.”
Lester also clarified that he was not a former editor of Sarawak Report as claimed by Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan at a press conference on the police report and confessional video on Wednesday.
He also claimed he played no part in the so-called plot or in forging any documents on 1MDB.
State DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen and state PKR vice-chairman See Chee How have denied the claims in the police report of their involvement in the alleged conspiracy.
See said he had never instructed Sarawak Report founder Clare Rewcastle-Brown to write anything as claimed by Lester.
“It never happened,” said See, who in turn alleged that Lester was being used by Barisan Nasional to divert attention from 1MDB’s problems.
Chong also denied any dealings with Lester on 1MDB.
He said Najib only had to state categorically whether 1MDB funds had been transferred into his personal accounts, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, to clear his name.
“Whether there is a conspiracy or not, the questions that remain are whether he has these accounts and whether money was transferred into them,” the Bandar Kuching MP said.
Ramesh dodged questions and seemingly downplayed his role in the lodging of a report of Lester’s allegations.
Earlier, he told The Star he was planning to release part two of a video exposé featuring Lester Melanyi on Tuesday but backtracked on his statement after a meeting with Bukit Aman.
“I don’t know who made the video,” said Ramesh.
“Why are you questioning me like police?
“I will only talk on Tuesday.”
Ramesh said he lodged the report on Lester’s behalf after meeting him.
In the police report, he claimed Lester contacted him via SMS on June 3, identifying himself as a Sarawak Report editor and said he was responsible for publishing false information on its website.