Media statement by Tony Pua Kiam Wee in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, 18th March 2011:
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi must immediately retract all his allegations against me published in Utusan Malaysia today and publicly apologise for making baseless and slanderous lies about me
I read with shock and horror the report in Utusan Malaysia today, quoting the Defence Minister, Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who said:
"Dia [Tony Pua] dulu ditangkap di Singapura, dibawa ke mahkamah, tetapi sebab hubungan dia mungkin baik dengan pejabat tertentu di sana, beliau dilepaskan (dan) tidak dapat jadi ahli Parlimen (di sana)."
I cannot believe that a senior ranking Minister and the highest ranking vice-president of Umno would stoop so low as to spin venomous lies beyond imagination against me and my character.
The above falsehoods is clearly an attempt to divert the public and the media's attention away from the mega-procurement deals which the Defence Minister signed last month, amounting to RM13.55 billion.
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has to date failed to provide clear and detailed explanation for the RM6 billion purchase of 6 offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) from Boustead Holdings Bhd as well as the RM7.55 billion purchase of 257 8x8 armoured wheeled-vehicles (AWVs) from DRB Hicom Bhd, whether to the media or in Parliament.
I had at various times called the Minister to explain in detail what exactly are we purchasing, at prices seemingly much higher than other countries. What's more, both of these contracts were awarded without any competitive tenders.
However, instead of being accountable to the rakyat, the Minister has chosen to spread malicious lies to tarnish my character and reputation as a diversionary tactic. In fact, his attempt to deflect the call for answers on the above military transactions with frivolous personal accusations leads me to believe that the Minister has something to hide from the people.
Let me make it clear in no uncertain terms that:
Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also claimed that I studied in Singapore from primary to tertiary level, which is factually wrong for I completed my primary school in SRK Montfort, Batu Pahat and for my Bachelor's degree at Oxford University. I was only in Singapore for my secondary education at Raffles Institution as a recipient of the ASEAN scholarship.
What's more I've never even taken up permanent residency in Singapore or any other country, unlike certain Barisan Nasional Ministers.
The insinuation by the Minister that I am now a "Singapore agent" due to a deal with Singapore authorities is downright evil. The story painted by the Defence Minister is so outrageous and incredible that perhaps he will make a better spy fiction writer like John Le Carre, than he is as the country's defence minister.
I call on Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to retract his statement and make an unreserved public apology within 24 hours or I will instruct my lawyers to file a defamation suit against him next week.
* Tony Pua Kiam Wee, DAP National Publicity Secretary & MP for Petaling Jaya Utara