It is not Umno vice president Zahid Hamidi who should be handling allegations by businessman Deepak Jaikishan related to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's family, but the PM himself, the DAP insisted.

Party veteran Lim Kit Siang was responding in a statement yesterday to Zahid's remark that he would address the allegations during his winding up speech at the Umno AGM today.

"It is not Zahid but Najib himself who should be responding in his winding-up speech at the 66th Umno general assembly tomorrow.

"As Najib is not only around (at the AGM), but as chief of the pack in Umno, he should respond as whatever Zahid could say would only be hearsay with neither credibility nor legitimacy," said Lim.

He cited three reasons why Najib should provide the explanations.

NONE"Firstly, Deepak's allegations pertain to Najib's (right) family, that he had paid an undisclosed sum for the premier's intervention to allow him to come in as a party in a RM100 million defence ministry project in 2005 when Najib was the defence minister - stitching a deal with a Selangor Umno Wanita leader's company where he would participate as a third party in the project.

Standing up to one's words
"Secondly, the Deepak connection with the high-profile and long-running Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case... Again, Zahid's response to Deepak's allegation cannot be satisfactory as only Najib is in a position to respond with any credibility," he said.

Thirdly, said Lim, it was an "acid test" of Najib's boast at the latter's presidential address at the AGM of BN's success in governing the nation as "one of which is the efficacy of national institutions".

NONEYesterday Malaysiakini had asked Zahid (left), who is also defence minister, his ministry's response to Deepak's allegations that the latter had paid Najib's family an undisclosed sum for the premier's intervention to allow him to come in as a party in a ministry project.

Lim said: "Is Najib prepared to fully vindicate himself, his government and the country by subjecting himself to a full and independent public inquiry into the sordid Deepak/Bala/Altantuya scandals and announce it at the Umno general assembly winding-up...?

"If Najib is prepared to submit himself to a full and independent public inquiry ... his apology in his Umno presidential speech on behalf of the Umno leadership for any ‘mistake' or ‘oversight' would be a bona fide one.

"If not, his apology' is just mere rhetoric," said Lim.