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Anwar Ibrahim: BN-Apco Scandal

March 30, 2010
Anwar produces documents on Apco-Israeli-1Malaysia link
Mar 30, 10 12:55pm
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim today produced two documents in Parliament to back up his allegations on the links between global public relations firm Apco Worldwide, the Israeli government and 1Malaysia.

One of the documents was the agreement signed between Apco and the Malaysian government, which was witnessed by Premier Najib Razak’s press secretary Tengku Sharifuddin Tengku Ahmad.

The presence of Tengku Sharifuddin, Anwar said, underlies the importance of Apco to the Najib government as normal contracts are signed by government officers.

ANONEnwar (left in photo) asked why a Najib’s aide be at the signing of the contract.

The other document was the deal inked between Apco and the Israeli government when Ehud Barak – who later as premier adopted the One Israel slogan – was the head of the Israeli military.

Anwar claimed that the agreement was positive proof of links between Apco and Israel.

The opposition leader also pointed out to the slew of ex-Israeli government officials which made up Apco’s list of officers and consultants.

Chief among them being Doron Bergerbest-Eilon, who heads the Israeli Security Agency, Itamar Rabinovichk, who was formerly with Israeli’s internal intelligence organ Shin Bet, and Shimon Stein, a former Israeli ambassador to Germany.

As for 1Malaysia, a slogan popularised by Najib, the Permantang Pauh MP alluded to links between Apco executives and the Malaysian government even before the consultancy company was hired.

NONEHe said that members of Apco staff were already working with the Najib government even before the contract was signed through the recommendation of Ethos Consultancy, a company founded by former Najib special officer Omar Mustapha.

“At the time, an Apco staff member was already stationed in the premier’s office after he took power. This was way before 1Malaysia was announced,” contended Anwar.

“Therefore, in providing ‘communications support’ to the Malaysian government, Apco may have worked with Najib on 1Malaysia.”

According to Anwar, top Apco executives were operating in a company called MindTeam Sdn Bhd. MindTeam’s officials included Paul Stedlan, who now heads Apco Malaysia, and Margery Krause, Apco’s founder and CEO.

“It is their strategy to work using associates companies to operate in different countries.”

Anwar said that the documents will be given to the House speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.

Anwar rubbish Apco’s denial

The Permatang Pauh MP also rubbished Apco’s denial over its involvement in coining the 1Malaysia slogan.

“It is a part of Apco’s duty to protect those who employ them, which include denying their involvement.”

Referring to the contract signed between Apco and its clients, Anwar stated that there is a particular emphasis on confidentiality and deniability when it comes to information of the actual scope of Apco’s involvement.

“It is easy for them (the Najib administration) to ask Apco to draft a statement denying its involvement.”

The former deputy prime minister also demanded Najib to explain in Parliament the Apco contract, including the cost of engaging its consultancy services.

Anwar also urged the government to immediately terminate the Apco contract and set up a royal commission to investigate the matter.

After Anwar’s lengthy explanation in Parliament, deputy House speaker Ronald Kiandee said he cannot decide whether the opposition leader should be referred to the powerful privileges committee for further action to be taken.

He said that BN parliamentarians will need to table a motion if they want to refer Anwar to the committee.

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