Monday, May 23, 2011

Eskay close to Thai insurgents, leaked US cable shows

The cable mentioned allegationsof Shazryl’s involvement in
“controversial business deals
in the past.”—file pic
 KUALA LUMPUR, May 23 — A leaked United States diplomatic cable has revealed that Datuk Shazryl Eskay Abdullah was close to veteran Thai separatists hiding out in Malaysia, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin’s website reported today.

Shazryl topped newspaper headlines in Malaysia recently for releasing a video purportedly showing Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim having sex with a prostitute. He also lost a legal suit for RM20 million for commission in the aborted crooked bridge to Singapore.

Raja Petra’s Malaysia Today website recently began collaborating with whistleblowers WikiLeaks and said it has been given access to a cache of US diplomatic cables relating to Malaysia.

In one such 2006 cable, then US embassy political chief Mark Clark was said to have met Shazryl —then the Honorary Thai Consul — in Langkawi on February 5, 2006 and was told details of how the insurgents operated.

“Eskay, who was a leading Malaysian facilitator of the dialogue with Thai insurgents hosted by former prime minister (Tun Dr) Mahathir (Mohamad), argued that the older generation insurgency leaders, mostly resident in Malaysia, remained relevant as they provided needed support services and safe haven to younger leaders.

“He identified only one old guard leader as actively ordering attacks, and estimated that criminal gangs and Thai security services were responsible for 70 per cent of the recent violence,” said the cable.

The cable also said that Shazryl shared a 12-page paper on the insurgency and Thai Malay views, resulting from his interviews with numerous separatist leaders.

“Eskay credibly appeared to have contacts with a large pool of old guard leaders, insurgents, and sympathizers from Thailand’s Malay south. His views on the insurgency were the most detailed we heard during five days of travel in northern Malaysia and tracked well in many respects with information and opinions from others,” the cable read.

It also said that “several Malaysians volunteered they were suspicious of Eskay’s contacts with Malay separatists and alleged Eskay had been involved in controversial business deals in the past.”

After Anwar had denied Shazryl’s sex video allegations, the businessman had challenged the former deputy prime minister to answer “over the past two years, how many times has Anwar been to Thailand?”

“Who greeted Anwar in Thailand? Which hotel did Anwar stay in? What was Anwar doing in the hotel? And who paid for the travel expenses?” Shazryl was quoted as saying by prominent blogger Kickdefella (Syed Azidi Aziz).

By Shannon Teoh TMI

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