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CONFIDENTIAL: BLOGGER ALLEGES DPM’S WIFE AT MURDER SCENE

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SIPDIS 

FOR EAP/MTS AND INR 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/23/2028
TAGS: PGOV PINR KJUS KDEM MY
SUBJECT: BLOGGER ALLEGES DPM'S WIFE AT MURDER SCENE 

REF: KUALA LUMPUR 335 - SEDITION CHARGES AGAINST BLOGGER 

Classified By: Political Section Chief Mark D. Clark, reason 1.4 (b and
 d). 

Summary
------- 

1.  (C) Controversial internet journalist Raja Petra executed
a sworn statement on June 18 to the effect that Deputy Prime
Minister Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, was at the scene of the
murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibbu in October
2006, and that PM Abdullah and a Royal received information
to that effect.  While the mainstream press has shied away
from printing Rosmah's name, Kuala Lumpur is abuzz with this
latest explosive allegation.  PM Abdullah has thus far
remained silent, while the national police chief and Attorney
General said they would investigate.  Raja Petra, who faces
sedition charges for earlier claims, informed us that the
Attorney General's Office filed a police report on the
matter, and he expected to be called in for questioning soon.
 While the latest allegations of Rosmah's presence at the
murder seem implausible, they nevertheless will have
resonance with a Malaysian public that does not have
confidence in the integrity of the Altantuya murder
investigation.  Continued public attention to such reports
also could damage Najib's front-runner status as PM
Abdullah's successor.  End Summary. 

Rosmah at Murder Scene, PM Has Report
------------------------------------- 

2.  (U) Controversial internet journalist Raja Petra
voluntarily completed a sworn statement ("statutory
declaration") at a Malaysian court on June 18, in which he
affirmed that he was "reliably informed" Deputy Prime
Minister Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor, together with her aide
Norhayati and acting Colonel Aziz Buyong (Norhayati's
husband), were present at the scene of the murder of
Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibbu in October 2006.
Raja Petra also stated that military intelligence provided a
report with this information to Prime Minister Abdullah,
which was subsequently given to Abdullah's son-in-law Khairy
Jamaluddin "for safe-keeping," and that one of Malaysia's
traditional rulers also was briefed on the matter.  Raja
Petra did not reveal the source of this information.  Raja
Petra remains indicted for sedition for his earlier internet
reports that implied DPM Najib and wife Rosmah were connected
to the on-going Altantuya murder case (ref A). 

3.  (SBU) Internet reports of Raja Petra's declaration
emerged on June 20, and the full text became available on his
Malaysia Today website.  Some of Malaysia's mainstream media
briefly reported Raja Petra's new allegations, but carefully
avoided identifying Rosmah Mansor as the "prominent VIP"
named in his statement.  An aide to Najib reportedly
described the statement as "mind-boggling."  Inspector
General of Police Musa Hassan told reporters the police would
look into the "highly inflammatory" allegations, and could
take action against Raja Petra if they were found to be
untrue, while Attorney General Abdul Gani Patil stated his
office would look "seriously" into the matter. 

Heavy Buzz in Parliament
------------------------ 

4.  (C) As members of Parliament gathered June 23 for the
opening of the second parliamentary session, Raja Petra's
story competed with speculation of a no-confidence vote
against PM Abdullah for the attention of lawmakers.
Opposition MPs, parliamentary watchers, and journalists who
spoke with us at Parliament all remarked that Raja Petra had
put himself at great risk, and therefore they speculated that
he must have some evidence in hand.  If this is a bluff, "it
will cost him and his family," one MP remarked.  Prominent
opposition MP Lim Kit Siang said he was troubled that the PM
had kept quiet about the allegations.  Later on June 23, Kit
Siang introduced an emergency parliamentary motion to discuss
Raja Petra's statement.  The Parliament Speaker is required
to accept or reject on an emergency motion within 24 hours. 

Raja Petra Ready for Police
--------------------------- 

5.  (C) We spoke briefly with Raja Petra and his wife Marina
on June 23.  They related that the AGO had filed a police
report regarding the affidavit.  A seemingly confident Raja
Petra said, "I am ready and eagerly waiting for the police to
question me," and took exception to the threatening tone of
IGP Musa's remarks.  He also implied he had further evidence
to implicate DPM Najib and his wife, and asked rhetorically
what action the police would take "if the allegations are
true." 

Comment
------- 

6.  (C) Putting aside the question of Najib's links to the
case, the allegation that Najib's wife would be present at
the Altantuya murder scene strikes us as very implausible,
though fully in keeping with Raja Petra's sometimes wild and
highly emotional reporting.  The Malaysian public and
political elite, however, have no confidence in the integrity
of the government's investigation into the 2006 murder of
Altantuya.  The government's inept and gruelingly slow
prosecution of the case against DPM Najib's former advisor
Razak Baginda and two soldiers from Najib's security detail,
and the authorities' decision early on to limit the scope of
the investigation to exclude any further links with DPM
Najib, have sent clear signals of political interference.
Against this backdrop, most Malaysians will believe there is
at least some truth in Raja Petra's affidavit.  Amidst the
leadership struggle within the ruling UMNO party, emerging
fractures in the National Front coalition, and maneuvering
for a no-confidence vote against PM Abdullah, the latest
allegations add to the nation's sense of political turmoil.
Continued public focus on such allegations also could harm
Najib's front-runner status as PM Abdullah's successor. 

KEITH