The New Straits Times allege they contacted me for a response to their latest attack – there is no evidence they sent a single email or made a single call.
If the New Straits Times have been reading my Whatsapp messages to Xavier Justo they will know quite a lot of things, but not much new.
They will know, for example that I do indeed think that the Prime Minister of Malaysia is managing a dangerous criminal regime, which has stolen billions from the public and then used some of it to buy an election win.
Therefore they also know that I do not agree with their front page statement that he enjoys the status of being “democratically elected”.
This is plainly not something that troubles the New Straits Times, which is owned by UMNO, which is currently controlled by Najib thanks to all that stolen money. The NST, as everyone knows in Malaysia, is what is generally known as a propaganda sheet.
I was motivated to write about the situation in Malaysia having been shocked that its stewardship of Borneo had resulted in the destruction of the third largest rainforest in the world in the matter of a few years.
The cause was corruption and as I investigated the situation I saw how that corruption went up throught the country’s power structures. When there is corruption at the very top in a country the impact on everyone who is not part of that crony clique in charge is invariably disastrous.
In Malaysia this shameful situation is dragging down a country full of wonderful people and blessed with many resources, which could have made life comfortable for all its inhabitants.
It is widely recognised that overseas businessmen no longer want to deal with Malaysia, because of this escalating problem of graft, which has reached epic proportions under Najib – the economy is showing the consequences.
So, when I doggedly tracked down some solid evidence concerning one of the major areas of corruption at 1MDB – the inside information on the PetroSaudi deal – I knew it provided important proof about something everyone knew was going on, but was being covered up.
The key to the evidence was Xavier Justo. His documentation detailing huge thefts using PetroSaudi as a cover has triggered the unravelling of the far wider scandal that confronts Najib Razak today.
As a journalist (rather than paid propagandist) I know how these stories work. Once you start digging the other pieces of the jigsaw come together and you hear from different sources and eventually the full picture comes to light.
It took a great deal of time and considerable determination on my part and as Mr Justo has confirmed on record to his confession brokers who are promising him freedom if he ‘admits guilt’, when he offered me money to help him in his quest to find a buyer for his information I refused to accept it or indeed any payment whatsoever.
I did not approve of Justo’s desire to be paid for this story, but I understood it and there is no crime, as the NST is seeking to allege, in paying someone for a news story.
Of course, morally we should all report a crime such as that of 1MDB and Najib over PetroSaudi for free. But, in America for example, the government realises that whistleblowers usually need an incentive to counter their risks (look at the risk that Justo was taking as he sits in a Bangkok prison) and they openly reward under their laws people who report financial crimes to the authorities.
So, I was willing to at least introduce the idea on Justo’s behalf to people he thought might be willing to pay for his story in Malaysia. He reckoned his information might be the key to returning justice to that country and that many might pay for it.
However, what the New Straits Times will certainly know if they have read my Whatsapp messages to Xavier Justo, is that none of the various politicians they they are trying to propagandise as being in some kind of undetermined ‘conspiracy’ with myself was willing to do so.
I did sound out quite a good number of people to see who might be interested in dealing with Justo. But no one wanted to engage with him.
No plot there then, despite the allegations!
The fact is that digging up information is a journalist’s role and politicians have many different concerns to weigh in their minds before getting involved. It was obvious that in the end a media group would be the most likely to show an interest in Xavier’s material.
The Edge have given their side of the story – they like me regarded this information to be of the utmost public interest and importance with regard to the disappearance of billions of dollars of borrowed public money.
However, perhaps mindful of the anger of politicians and potential criticism, they have said they did not want to pay Justo for the information – they preferred to trick him out of it in the public interest.
Again, as the NST will know if they have read my Whatsapp messages, I myself believe that if you make a promise you should keep it and I felt sorry that I had led Justo to trust the agreement he made with the newspaper executives as I had thought they would pay him.
I tried to help and support him because of this. I do not like to abandon people and I did not do so. Once I had the information I could have cut him off, but in fact I worked for months to try and calm Mr Justo, who was very suicidal in his messages to me – and to admonish The Edge to carry out their promise to him.
The background to all this were the criminal and aggressive forces in Malaysia, which were threatening all of us for trying to bring out the truth on 1MDB, so also I fully understand also the reason The Edge acted the way they did, but I was angry on Xavier’s behalf at the time.
Although they felt they had to break their promise to this whistleblower the editors at The Edge are honourable, brave and principled journalists. who have put the interests of the public above everything else. They have also produced top quality journalism from the material they obtained, helping to bring out the truth about a criminal theft of billions of dollars.
The NST on the other hand have done nothing to confront this blatant criminality at the heart of the own country and government. Not once has this propaganda sheet expressed the slightest concern or regret that money which was borrowed for development was siphoned into accounts controlled by Jho Low.
The New Straits Times have also bandied about allegations of planned ‘illegal money laundering’ on my part, as if it would have been illegal for me to receive the money to pay Justo. Of course that is nonsense.
If money is legitimately earned in the first place and legitimately transferred what is being laundered?
Laundering takes place when you are trying to disguise stolen money or the proceeds of crime eg the money stolen by Jho Low and Good Star from the 1MDB PetroSaudi joint venture, which was then laundered through BSI in Singapore – and most recently we learn through his father’s accounts in Switzerland as well.
The Edge Media Group, should they have decided to pay Justo, would have been entitled to do so with their legitimate funds.
This article by NST is of course just the latest in numerous libellous accusations that have been made against me by themselves and other organs of Najib, who are happy to accuse anyone in this matter, except those who are blatantly the actual criminals.
It is of course disappointing for the NST that mooted payments to Justo were never made anyway – unlike the billions that were taken by Najib Razak’s proxy Jho Low from PetroSaudi.
As for their other front page allegation that I would toast Najib’s departure from government, I am happy to confirm that I will celebrate if Najib at last proves himself a gentleman and admits he no longer has the authority and credibility needed to govern his disillusioned party and country.
This is because I am a journalist who has exposed many crimes under his watch, not because I am being paid as part of some ill-defined conspiracy to criticse an innocent man!
Through this poor man in jail PetroSaudi and their Malaysian contacts are trying to cover up the fact that they were involved in a multi-billion dollar heist that generated fat kickbacks for the Directors of the company (remember I have said this all tons of times and no libel suits so far).
Rather than sue me (which they couldn’t because I have the truth) they took the sly and dirty route to try and trap and pressure the source of their material, Xavier Justo, whom they realised was dangerously positioned, living as he does in Thailand.
They brought their big bucks and local political clout to Bangkok, where PetroSaudi Director Patrick Mahoney went personally to lay falsely exaggerated denunciations of blackmail against his former friend and colleague.
With Justo trapped in jail they are now pressuring him with threats and promises to get him to play their games and sing their tunes.
Sadly, so what? The story is out. Nothing that the NST can say against Sarawak Report or try to make Xavier Justo say from his prison cell makes any difference to the crimes that the world now knows have been committed and which are now being investigated in several countries.
[This statement was written in advance of the full article by NST becoming available in the UK and Sarawak Report is now travelling. We therefore we reserve our rights regarding any further distortions, inaccuracies or false allegations by NST.]