Malaise in Malaysia as Government Officials Clash Over Phua FBI Letters

Written by:
Nagesh Rath
Published on:
Malaise in Malaysia as Government Officials Clash Over Phua FBI Letters

It just keeps getting uglier in the world of Malaysian politics as it pertains to millionaire businessman and poker pro Paul Phua.

Syed Hamid is the second former Home Minister to deny he wrote to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) denying Phua to be part of a an Asian organized crime group after Malaysian police told the Feds otherwise.  Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein Onn, a former Home Minister, has also issued the same denial.

Phau and his son Darren await a judge’s order to determine if FBI agents wrongly entered the father-son tandem’s Las Vegas villas without proper authorization.

Agents looking to bust what they claimed to be a multi-million dollar international soccer betting ring gained access by posing as cable technicians.  Lawyers for the Phua’s claim the ruse was unconstitutional

“I only made policies,” said Syed Hamid in reiterating that he can’t remember writing to the FBI. “Of course, writing letters is part of a Minister’s duties. But during my time, there was no such case and so it didn’t require writing any such letters to the FBI.”

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Malaysia’s minister of home affairs, claimed that other high ranking officials sent letters to the Feds.  Hamidi's letter to the FBI surfaced last month.

Hamidi's letter was sent directly to Deputy FBI Director Mark Giuliano in Washington rebutting FBI claims that the lead defendant in the high-stakes betting case is tied to a powerful Chinese crime syndicate known as the 14K Triad.  

“As such, to assist both your department and Mr. Phua’s legal teams, based on our information, Mr. Phua is neither a member nor is he associated with the 14K Triad,” Hamidi wrote.

“Moreover, according to our records, Mr. Phua has on numerous occasions assisted the government of Malaysia on projects affecting our national security and accordingly we continue to call upon him to assist us from time to time, and as such we are eager for him to return to Malaysia.”

- Nagesh Rath,

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