Najib Accepts Malaysiakini's Apology
(from Bernama of October 22, 2008):

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 22 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on Wednesday accepted the apologies of the editor and reporter of Internet news portal Malaysiakini over an article alleging that he had issued a manifesto to back his bid for the number one post in Umno.
The Umno deputy president said the Malaysiakini journalist, Wong Choon Mei, had acted responsibly by tendering her resignation.
"I would like to say that I accept the apologies or the decision of the Malaysiakini editor to apologise for the totally false report which purported that the manifesto was issued by me.
"Secondly, the journalist who resigned had shown a high degree of professionalism because she had taken full responsibility for the story which was totally false," he told reporters at the Parliament lobby here today.
Yesterday Wong, who had been with the news portal for three months, resigned to take full responsibility for the error in the report.
She had used information from an e-mail from a purported "Najib Support Group" in the report published on Sunday without verifying with the deputy prime minister's department.
Najib said the question that arose from the false report was who had concocted the story.
"The real culprit is still hiding...we don't know who is responsible for the story," he said.
Asked whether it was an orchestrated move to put him in bad light, he said: "It doesn't matter. I may have to put up with all this until March (when the Umno elections will be held).
Asked whether he would take legal action on the matter, he said he would leave it to the authorities to decide and was satisfied on the basis of the apologies by the editor of Malaysiakini and the journalist concerned who have taken full responsibility.
Stating that nobody liked those types of baseless attacks and allegations which were totally unfounded, he called upon Malaysians not to be duped by such attempts.

The article in Malaysiakini that started it all (bylined Wong Choon Mei and datelined Oct. 19, 2008):
Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak wasted no time unveiling his manifesto for the Umno presidency, denouncing recent allegations made against him and vowing to defend till the last drop of his blood the supremacy of the Malay race.
"I will defend the supremacy of the Malays until the last drop of my blood if I win the mandate of the delegates to become the next Umno president at election to be held in March 2009," Najib said.
"This is the solemn promise I made to my late father before he died,” he added.
He also promised to set up a Council of Presidential Advisors to be made up of Umno elders and past prime ministers, giving basis to speculation that former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was poised to make a comeback.
“I will also ensure that my family won’t become involved in business or interfere in the administration of the country. I will carry out my responsibilities without any influence from other countries,” said Najib.
Just hours ago, the 55-year qualified for election as the next Umno No 1, winning nominations from all 59 division that have met so far.
He is not expected to be challenged for the post due to be vacated by Prime Mninister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi next March. Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, his only contender, has yet to receive a single vote.
A UK-trained economist, Najib began his political career at age 22 after his father died. Abdul Razak had been the country’s second premier and was revered by many in Umno for introducing the New Economic Policy - a socio-economic restructuring plan that benefited many Malays at the expense of the other races.
Although Najib acknowledged that the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition did poorly in the March 2008 general election, he was also quick to warn he would use all means to destroy elements that threatened the country’s stability and peace.
“We realise that BN was scarred during the March general election. I will do all I can to return Umno and the Barisan Nasional to its former glory. I will also not hesitate to use all means to destroy elements that can threaten the stability and peace of the country.”
The Pakatan Rakyat led by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim swept to power in five out of the country’s 13 state after the national polls.
Najib also denounced recent allegations made against him
“I have been attacked by my enemies who claimed that I carry out Hindu rituals. All of you can refer to S Samy Vellu who will vouch that I have never gone with him to any Hindu ceremony. I swear in the name of God that I am a faithful Muslim.”
“I have also been linked with the murder case of Altantuya. I once again swear in the name of God that I never knew her.
"I am ready to face any court to clear my name which those who are envious of my achievements are trying their best to tarnish. I deny that my SMS communication with Muhammad Shafee Abdullah was in any way an abuse of power.
“I strongly deny allegations that I am involved in the Eurocopter scandal. The contract went through due process and procedures. The defence ministry accepted the decision and agreement from the ministry of finance was obtained in the selection of the Eurocopter tender.
"The defence ministry issued a Letter of Intent on Sept 15, 2008. A Letter of Intent can be issued at anytime and in accordance with proper procedure, it was issued on Sept 15 2008. I state my readiness to be investigated by PAC or BPR!,” Najib said.
The father of five was hit by a double-whammy of scandals last week.
First, allegations that he had an affair with a Mongolian woman murdered here in 2006 resurfaced after website Malaysia Today posted a series of SMS messages purportedly sent by him to a lawyer involved in the case.
He also came under scrutiny for a questionable RM2.3 billion ringgit helicopter deal.
In that deal, a whistleblower claimed the defence ministry - under Najib at that time - had agreed to buy 12 units of Cougar EC-725 choppers even though there was a cheaper alternative.
Canadian-based Kelowna Flightcraft had offered to supply the same number of helicopters of similar specifications for only RM898 million, but it was turned down.
The uproar that ensued pressured Abdullah, who took over the defence ministry last month, into promising a review of the circumstances. Najib has said he will give the Dewan Rakyat a detailed explanation soon.
“I have full confidence that delegates will use their wisdom in making their choice of leadership next March. They should be intelligent enough to gauge who among their leaders truly represent the interest of the Malay community and who has in the past betrayed the Umno’s struggle by becoming an agent of a foreign country,” he said, in clear reference to his arch rival Anwar (above).

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