Siakap senohong gelama ikan duri
Bercakap bohong lama-lama mencuri
- a Malay proverb that says a liar usually goes on to commit more heinous crimes
In a posting last week, Haris Ibrahim told his blog readers a lie about me.
Yes, a LIE.
The lawyer had told his readers that:
"Yesterday, at about 3 pm, a meeting to manage perception took place at the La Bodega in Bangsar.
"Present at the meeting were Mukhriz, JJ, a person by the name of Khairuddin, Rocky and Nuraina.
"Agenda: pin the loss of KT on Pak Lah. Deflect any dirt arising from the KT loss away from Najib. Got to make sure Pak Lah goes in March. Kill any idea that he or anyone might have to keep Pak Lah on as PM."
Read the full posting here.
I called Haris Ibrahim on Wednesday morning (Jan 21), the day after his posting, to tell him of one big problem with his posting:THERE WAS NO SUCH MEETING.
I told him that, yes, I was at La Bodega at Bangsar Shopping Complex on Monday (Jan 19). Anyone who's been there would know that La Bodega is one big, open place. You go there to be seen and to watch people.
Yes I was with JJ but there was no Nuraina, no Mukhriz, and no Khairuddin.
I told him I was working on an article on the contest for the Umno vice-president post and the former Minister is one of the contenders. (For readers' info, I have a column with a Singapore newspaper and contributes regularly to a local magazine).
Journalists and Crooks. As one of my counsels in the on-going NSTP & 4 Others vs Ahirudin Attan court case, Haris Ibrahim should have known how a journalist operates. Obviously, he did not. So I explained to him the nature of my job as a journalist. Journalists meet people, I told the lawyer. I've been a journalist for nearly 25 years now and I have met a lot of people. I have sat down with businessmen and trade unionists, communists and Islamists, celebrities and dignitaries, world leaders and taxi drivers. For a good scoop, you might have even see me with crooks.
I have been seen with Anwar Ibrahim, Nik Aziz, Karpal Singh, Ling Liong Sik, Musa Hitam, Syed Hamid Albar. I reminded Haris Ibrahim that he himself had seen me with Lim Guan Eng, Wee Choo Keong, Zaid Ibrahim, and Dr Mahathir Mohamad, among others.
I can't possibly be spin-doctoring for all of them, could I?
Haris Ibrahim said he saw my point and would publish a clarification. I left it at that.
But by the end Wednesday and then by the end of the next day, the promised clarification did not come.
Haris' Informant. During our second phone conversation on Friday (Jan 23), Haris Ibrahim spoke of his predicament: he had gone back to his informant and told his informant that the meeting, according to me, never took place. But his informant told Haris Ibrahim:
"Brother, I would stake my life on it. The meeting took place."
When he finally posted his idea of a clarification entitled "The Right of Reply" (Jan 25) Haris Ibrahim wrote of an informant "whose integrity and credibility I have come to greatly respect". And in his response to one of his commenters, Haris Ibrahim wrote: "I stand by my informant".
I had expected more of Haris Ibrahim. Really, I had.
I had expected him to do a bit of homework at least. I expected him to grill or cross-examine his witness (or informant). Does his informant know how Mukhriz and Nuraina look like? Could that be Mokhzani dropping by to say hi?
Surely Haris Ibrahim would also want to know who this Khairuddin is. His informant must know. Or did someone confuse Ahirudin with Khairuddin? Is it possible that Haris Ibrahim's informant had gottten the story from another informant?
And this "Agenda" that was spelt out in such great detail. Did your informant have a copy of the minutes, Haris? Or hearsay again? If there are no minutes (and there aren't) then whose words were those that spelt out the so-called "Agenda"?
Were the words your informant's or his informant's, or did you make up all of it, Mr Haris?
Haris Ibrahim did not do his homework. He did not bother to put the truth of the information told to him. He swallowed every word. He spoke of the integrity and credibility of his informant.
Sure, try telling that to a judge!
The meeting could not have taken place. If Haris Ibrahim had done his homework, he would find out that the "meeting" could not have taken place. One of the individuals said to be at the meeting was not even in Kuala Lumpur but a good 7 hours away from the venue of the "meeting".
I can prove this.
For now, however, I think it is fair to say that the onus is on Haris Ibrahim to prove that the meeting did indeed take place (other than saying that the informant would stake his life on it!). And that he did not post a lie about me.