P.I. Bala's Wife's Press Con: Highlights, Plot Twists, And A BN Bribe?
Yesterday, 12 March, the wife of the late private investigator P. Balasubramaniam, A. Santamil Selvi, held a press conference in Persatuan Minda dan Sosial Prihatin (PMSP) activist Ramesh Rao Naidu's office, to apologise to PM Najib Razak and his family.
Balasubramaniam was the PI during the murder of Mongolian interpreter Altantunya Shaariibuu.
Balasubramaniam, who passed away in 2013 soon after returning from exile in India, had made two statutory declarations (SD) over Najib's alleged involvement in Altantuya's murder. The second SD was made to rectract the first SD.
In 2013, Selvi and her three children filed a charge against the Prime Minister for their exile from 2008 until 2013.
1. A. Santamil Selvi started the press conference by apologising to PM Najib Razak and his family for accusing them of her husband’s murder
During a press conference at Pertubuhan Minda dan Social Prihatin Malaysia (Minda), A. Santamil Selvi first read out an apology to Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his family for the allegations and difficulties she and her family had caused to them.
When asked for an explanation on why she had "all of a sudden" apologised, Selvi just said she had made the allegations out of anger.
"I was upset over his death and so upon hearing everyone blaming Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (Najib's wife), I too was influenced that she murdered my husband," she said.
2. However, Selvi later retracted her apology, saying that the apology was only for Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor. This was after a reporter asked if she was retracting her late husband’s statement about Najib's alleged involvement in Altantuya Shaariibuu' murder.
"I went to PKR to seek financial help but got nothing so I am here today," she said.
Reporters then continued asking Selvi if she would also apologise to Najib.
"I'm not getting involved in Bala's SD," she replied.
When asked to re-confirm her apology to Rosmah, she said, "I said I am apologising to Datin Rosmah only. So, to husband and wife. But the one I mean is Rosmah."
3. "What was the relationship between meeting Ramesh, your children’s education and the lawsuit you filed against the Malaysian Prime Minister?," journalist Linton Besser asked
ABC Australia's Four Corners reporter Linton Besser raised a few questions during the press conference, some of which left Selvi and Ramesh flustered.
"Do you believe the videos your husband recorded in Singapore with Americk Sidhu? Was he lying?," he asked.
"It's true," Selvi answered almost immediately without any hesitation.
He also asked if she was going to continue with her lawsuit which names PM Najib Razak as part of a conspiracy that forced her out of the country, but this time, Selvi hesitated to answer before she nodded away.
He also questioned why she was suddenly apologising and why there were Special Branch officers outside the room, but she couldn't answer.
4. Selvi admitted that she had met Ramesh earlier to get his help in obtaining RM20,000 for her children's education, prompting Besser to ask if she was making this apology in exchange for financial aid
"I am just here to get funding for my children's education, those who promised me the money and a lot of other things, they did not keep their word so I am here today to ask this NGO for money," Selvi said.
"PKR promised me financial aid but when I went to them I was asked to see if Barisan Nasional can give me a better offer, I am left with no choice so I am here."
“I am here for my children's education. That is all! It's only RM20,000. PKR could not give me so I came here for my children's education. That's all! Let me take my bag and I don't want anymore questions!” were her parting words to the media, who had asked her repeatedly why she was changing her tune so drastically.theheatmalaysia.com
5. Ramesh also couldn't explain why Selvi had gone to the extent of apologising to Rosmah. He walked out of the room after an exchange with reporter Linton Besser.
"Would you have still provided funds had she not made that press statement? Why did she need to apologise the Prime Minister in order to get funds from your NGO?," Linton asked Ramesh after Selvi stormed out of the room.
“No, people asked are you trying to bribe her to say something. I said no," Ramesh replied.
“Surely that has no credibility,” Besser protested, unable to finish his sentence as he was interrupted by Ramesh.
“What is wrong with you white man? I am helping these people and you keep repeating. I am off,” Ramesh said.
7. Sarawak Report said that it managed to obtain evidence that shows that Ramesh allegedly offered a RM50,000 cash bribe to Bala's widow
Sarawak Report has obtained copies of text messages, which show how Ramesh indeed offered a RM50,000 cash bribe, plus school fees, to Selvi Bala, in return for her appearance at the press conference, which had been designed to exonerate the PM and his wife.
Days before the press conference, according to texts sent by her mobile phone, Selvi informed a close associate that she had been approached by ‘BN’, who were offering the money.
However, when questioned further, the widow and mother of three admitted that she was indeed being required to perform a favour for the money – she needed to appear at a press conference and was expected to complain about lack of support for her children’s education.
This (alleged bribery) was something Ramesh adamantly denied, however, when questioned by Linton Besser of ABC Australia’s Four Corners programme, who also attended the press conference after Selvi had apparently pulled out of an interview which she had originally promised to give him.
8. Besser, who was very inquisitive during the press conference, was detained in Malaysia yesterday night, 13 March. He had been in Malaysia to investigate allegations of corruption and bribery linked to the killing of socialite Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Reporter Linton Besser and camera operator Louis Eroglu were detained in the city of Kuching last night, after approaching Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on the street.
They have subsequently been released without charge. However, their passports have been taken and they have been told not to leave the country
According to the Malay Mail Online, the pair were arrested after they allegedly crossed a "security cordon".
The media outlet said police were investigating the incident under Section 186 of the Penal Code, which relates to obstructing a public servant.