By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
UPDATED KUALA LUMPUR: PKR lawmakers warned Barisan Nasional against exploiting the WikiLeaks exposé which claims that Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim had sex with a male aide in a honey trap set up by his political rivals.
The PKR leaders, led by Teluk Kemang MP Kamarul Baharin Abbas, were responding to the front-page coverage on the exposé by Umno's mouthpiece Utusan Malaysia.
Kamarul Baharin said that Utusan had malicious intention, adding that it was selective in its coverage by refusing to highlight the US diplomatic cable which implicated Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
"If Utusan is an ethical newspaper, it should have given wide coverage to reports by Australian newspapers that based on the leaked cables, Singapore diplomats believe the prime minister faces political risk for his involvement in the murder scandal," he said.
One of the leaked cables by the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks revealed that Singaporean politicians believe Najib is in a predicament over allegations of his involvement in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaaribuu.
"But this is the journalism ala Utusan with the motive to deceive the people to defend the regime which owns it," Kamarul Baharin said.
Where's the evidence?
WikiLeaks, through a release of a US state department cable issued in November 2008, revealed the exchanges made between the Singaporean intelligence services and an Australian agency.
It stated: ''The Australians said that Singapore's intelligences services and (Singaporean elder statesman) Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar 'did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted'.”
ONA stands for Australia’s Office of National Assessments.
The cable was exclusively released to Australian daily The Sun-Herald and widely reported by other Australian newspapers on Sunday.
Kamarul Baharin, however, said that if it was indeed a trap and if Singapore intelligence has solid evidence, why has the Malaysian court yet to present it against Anwar who is facing his second sodomy trial in 10 years?
The opposition leader has denied the allegation albeit only through his micro-blogging Twitter account, accusing the Malaysian Special Branch of being the source of the information.
It is still too early to assess the impact of the revelation but some political observers note the negative repercussion it may have on Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat.
PKR on the defensive
However, government sources say Najib and Barisan Nasional leaders are not too keen to capitalise on the cable leakages given that they are implicated as well.
"So PKR lawmakers advise the prime minister to be careful in handling this issue because the political risk he faces is bigger," Kamarul Baharin said.
Nevertheless, the party and Anwar have been on the defensive over the leakages.
Kamarul Baharin said the party would do all it could to trace all the cables concerning Malaysia from "legitimate" sources including the US Embassy.
Meanwhile, Anwar himself will go on a nationwide campaign to explain on the WikiLeaks fiasco through ceramah.
The first will be held at Taman Melati, Selangor, tonight.
Anwar's lawyer Sankara Nair was also reported in Malaysiakini as saying that defamation suits will be filed soon against several newspapers and former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Govt sends protest note
Meanwhile Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said the Najib administration had expressed its displeasure through a protest note to the Singapore government.
"The remarks by the Singapore senior officials were uncalled for. So I called the high commissioner to my office this morning and handed over the letter of protest and also explained our concern and displeasure towards what has been leaked in the WikiLeaks," he told reporters in Parliament.
Although he said the statements made by their Singaporean counterparts were upsetting, it will not hurt bilateral ties between the two nations which was growing stronger.
"Bilateral ties are goood. That's why I said, I took solace in the sense that it was only issued by officials, and not the leaders.
“But then again, I said, they must also take into consideration the feelings of their neighgbours," he added.