Facing the masked media: Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman speaking to pressmen upon his arrival at KLIA after his visit to the United States. Even he was not spared the A (H1N1) flu fears as reporters and cameramen wore masks during the interview. At the press conference, Anifah stood by his claim that he had been offered the deputy prime minister’s post by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a lure to switch sides.-Bernama
SEPANG: Foreign Minister Datuk Anifah Aman stands by his claim that Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim offered him the Deputy Prime Minister’s post as an incentive to join Pakatan Rakyat. He said he was prepared to face any legal action Anwar may take against him. He said Anwar himself had admitted that he had contacted him (Anifah) once, and that was when the offer was made. Anifah said he had made it clear then that he had no intention of leaving Umno and Barisan Nasional.
“Anwar does not call someone just to say ‘hello,’ so I want you to think for yourself what other reason he could have to call me, if not to make me the offer,” he told a press conference here after returning from his trip to the United States yesterday.
During a joint press conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington on Friday, Anifah had claimed that Anwar offered him the position to persuade him to switch sides after the general election last year. However, on Saturday, Anwar denied making the offer, while his lawyer Sankara Nair, in a statement, said that Anwar had instructed him to file a defamation suit against Anifah if he did not issue an apology by yesterday.
On why he had waited until now to make the offer public, Anifah said the matter was only highlighted while he was in the United States after a reporter there posed a question to him on Malaysia’s treatment of Anwar. Anifah said he was disappointed with the poor picture of Malaysia, its leaders and the judicial system Anwar had painted overseas. “I explained to journalists there that the High Court would not have reinstated Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin as Perak Mentri Besar if it had not been free and independent,” he said.
Anifah said the United States was Malaysia’s biggest trading partner and if its people started to believe Anwar’s claims, it could lead to sanctions that would hurt Malaysia’s economy. “This is why it is important to counter his claims and change the people’s perception by showing them the real picture of Malaysia,” he said.
On his meeting with Clinton, Anifah said one of the matters discussed was the handing-over of the two Malaysians being held at Guantanamo Bay. He said he was told that Malaysia would be informed of their fate after the US authorities completed their review of the case involving the two men – Mohd Farik Amin @ Zaid @ Zubair, 34, and Mohammed Nazir Lep @ Bashir Lep @ Lillie, 33 – at the end of the month.
He said Malaysia was also invited to join the Contact Group for Piracy, off the Coast of Somalia, after the country offered its expertise in fighting piracy in the Straits of Malacca. “We are also happy with the United States’s call for us to make more visits to the country as a means to enhance government-to-government and people-to-people relations,” he said.
SOURCE: The Star.