‘GOVT DID NOT HIRE U.S. FIRM’

PM’s press sec­re­tary de­nies en­gag­ing ser­vices of Trump’s for­mer aide

New Straits Times - - News / Nation - HANA NAZ HARUN KUALA LUMPUR news@nst.com.my

DATUK Seri Tengku Sar­if­fud­din Tengku Ah­mad has de­nied allegations that the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice (PMO) or the Malaysian govern­ment had en­gaged the ser­vices of a for­mer aide to United States Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

In a state­ment yes­ter­day, the prime min­is­ter’s press sec­re­tary re­jected re­cent me­dia re­ports that the PMO or the Malaysian govern­ment had en­gaged the US firm to lobby on its be­half.

“We al­ways wel­come friends from around the world who rightly point out that Malaysia has a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­friendly econ­omy open to trade and in­vest­ment, and is a mod­er­ate Mus­lim-ma­jor­ity coun­try which, un­der Prime Min­is­ter (Datuk Seri) Na­jib Razak’s lead­er­ship, is a firm part­ner in the fight against ter­ror­ism and vi­o­lent ex­trem­ism.

“How­ever, con­trary to re­cent me­dia re­ports and a reg­is­tra­tion state­ment, nei­ther the PMO nor the govern­ment of Malaysia has in­structed, ap­pointed or con­tracted in any form with God­frey Group Ltd, 45 Group or Healy Baum­gard­ner-Nar­done,” he said.

Fol­low­ing a re­port pub­lished in a USbased news por­tal, The Daily Beast, PKR’s Pan­dan law­maker Mohd Rafizi Ramli had claimed that Na­jib had en­gaged the ser­vices of Healy Baum­gard­ner-Nar­done for a fee of US$250,000 (RM1.125 mil­lion) on May 19.

In a blog post on Thurs­day, Rafizi said the dec­la­ra­tion of Baum­gard­ner-Nar­done’s ser­vices was made through a reg­is­tra­tion state­ment, which must be filed to the US De­part­ment of Jus­tice (DoJ).

The six-page doc­u­ment, pur­port­edly from the DoJ, was up­loaded on his blog, and stated that Baum­gard­ner-Nar­done would pro­vide “govern­ment re­la­tions and pub­lic re­la­tions ser­vices in sup­port of the Govern­ment of Malaysia and strength­en­ing the US-Malaysian re­la­tion­ship”.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­port, Baum­gard­ner-Nar­done was a vet­eran po­lit­i­cal op­er­a­tive and for­mer pres­i­dent Ge­orge W. Bush’s White House com­mu­ni­ca­tions hand. She had re­signed from her se­nior press post on the Trump cam­paign in Septem­ber.

Datuk Seri Tengku Sar­if­fud­din Tengku Ah­mad

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