Lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu, who had been by his side on Thursday, was conspicuously absent.
Yesterday, private investigator PBalasubramaniam appeared with another lawyer, Mr M Arulampalam, at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur.
His story was also new.
At a hurriedly convened press conference, he retracted his shocking statutory declaration that had linked Malaysia’s Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Mr Balasubramaniam (centre) with his lawyer at the time, Mr Americk Sidhu (left) and Mr Anwar Ibrahim, at the PKR press conference on Thursday. –TNP Picture: ZAIHAN MOHAMED YUSOF
Mr Balasubramaniam said he had made a new statutory declaration yesterday.
In that, he said he had been forced to make his earlier declaration under duress.
‘I wish to retract the first declaration. I was compelled to affirm the July 1 declaration under duress,’ the new statutory declaration read.
He did not, however, reveal who forced him to affirm the first declaration.
‘RETRACTION IS COERCED’
To add to the confusion, Mr Americk, who had prepared the first statutory declaration, told the media that he is convinced his client was intimidated to retract the declaration.
He believed the PI had been coerced ‘by either threats or promises as I can think of no other reason’.
He caimed that his client had made the first sworn declaration voluntarily without duress.
–Picture: UTUSAN MALAYSIA
Mr Americk said he had first met Mr Balasubramaniam two months ago at a restaurant, reported The Star.
He claimed the PI had asked him to help draft a formal document on the Altantuya case.
He said the sworn declaration was made over 1 1/2 months in several meetings with Mr Balasubramaniam.
‘I had no reason to doubt that what Mr Balasubramaniam told me was anything other than the truth.
— Picture: REUTERS
‘I was under the impression that he was a trustworthy person and what he said was what he perceived with his own senses,’ he said yesterday evening at a press conference at the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) headquarters.
This has left those following the drama wondering who is speaking the truth.
Should they believe the PI who made the shocking allegations on Thursday or the one who hastily withdrew the declaration and issued a new one yesterday?
People are also wondering what made him change his declaration.
According to Malaysiakini, yesterday’s press conference was so hastily organised that just about every reporter missed it with the exception of Bernama.
Mr Balasubramaniam, who wore a baseball cap, did not say much, but handed out his latest statutory declaration to those present and left soon after, it said.
Mr Americk told Malaysiakini that Mr Balasubramaniam had received a phone call from the police soon after his press conference on Thursday.
He was told to report to see them in Brickfields.
‘I advised him that as a law-abiding citizen, he should go and see them.’
He said that the PI then left his office and he has not heard from him since.
He also said he has been unable to contact Mr Balasubramaniam since news of the new declaration broke.
Malaysiakini’s attempts to contact Mr Balasubramaniam and MrArulampalam were unsuccessful.
However, the lawyer’s office clarified that ‘Arulampalam does not represent Balasubramaniam, but was just his representative.’
At a press conference at the PKR headquarters in Petaling Jaya yesterday, the party’s vice-president, MrRSivarasa, said that the PI may have changed his declaration due to intimidation or inducement.
‘It is an obvious inference to make, by studying the two statements side by side,’ he said.
‘The fact that the retraction was done so speedily and in circumstances where MrBala says it was made ‘under duress’, but will not name who pressured him, speaks for itself,’ he said.