Malaysia Tries to Cloud Blame for Altantuya Killing

February 14, 2016

Malaysia Tries to Cloud Blame for Altantuya Killing

Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh!–Lady Macbeth, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Act V, Scene 1–William Shakepeare

In his latest attempt to clean up his reputation although not necessarily his act, it appears that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak or others in Malaysia’s tainted government is attempting to steer away suspicion over his possible complicity in the 2006 death of Altantuya Shaariibuu, the 28-year old Mongolian woman who was murdered by two of his bodyguards and was said to have once been his girlfriend before he passed her to his best friend, Abdul Razak Baginda.

One of those bodyguards, Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, has been sitting in an Australian immigration detention center since the middle of January 2015 after fleeing from Malaysia when an appellate court briefly freed him, only to have his conviction restored by the Federal Court, Malaysia’s highest tribunal.

In a series of broadcasts made for television looking pious in — indicating he had been on the haj and was thus a purified Muslim – he denied that Najib had anything to do with the murder and said five unnamed individuals – presumably from the opposition – had put him up to saying he was ordered to kill the woman by Malaysian officials, whom he has never named.

 It is unlikely that Sirul will ever elaborate truthfully on his statements about who ordered the two to kill the pregnant woman. Shortly after he was detained, two lawyers from the United Malays National Organization flew to Australia to represent him, and apparently to tell him to shut up. One is Hasnal Rezua Merican, an UMNO Youth division leader, and the other is Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin, a former deputy prosecutor who represented Sirul during his original trial and who, when he received his datukship, was described as “of UMNO headquarters.”

That raises questions whether UMNO is paying for Sirul’s legal fees, and raises a further question why the country’s biggest political party, and the leading party in the government, is paying the bills for a fugitive and convicted murderer.

The story now being peddled by Sirul is a clumsy attempt to direct responsibility for the killing away from the government and Najib. The statement contradicts events and facts made known during the long trial and appeal process that put the two of them on death row as well as later statements from Australia.

In a February, 2015 telephone conversation with the news portal Malaysiakini, Sirul said he had taken orders from his superiors in executing the murder “to safeguard the interests of the nation.”

The married Abdul Razak Baginda, the jilted Altantuya’s lover and Najib’s best friend, told investigators during his own questioning after her death that Altantuya was harassing him and making a public spectacle in front of his home, and that he had asked for help from Musa Safri, Najib’s aide-de-camp.

On three occasions during the lengthy appeal process after he was convicted in 2009, Sirul’s lawyers said Musa should have been called for a statement in his original trial. Musa has repeatedly been named as the individual who ordered Sirul and his co-killer to pick up Altantuya in front of Razak Baginda’s home.  Despite that, he was never questioned by police. Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah, who led the prosecution team, argued in all three courts that Musa was not a key witness in the trial.

Sirul’s legal team submitted that the prosecution’s refusal to put Musa in the witness stand amounted to a mistrial.

Sirul in Skull Cap-What lies ahead for this Convicted Murderer?

Najib now has been named by a French prosecutor of having been the recipient of €114 million in bribes to buy submarines from a subsidiary of DCN, the French defense giant. Altantuya, then Razak Baginda’s girlfriend, was named as their translator in records seized from DCN and the subsidiary. After she was murdered, a letter found in her hotel room described an attempt to blackmail Razak Baginda for US$500,000. It is widely assumed that her knowledge of the transactions figured in the blackmail attempt.

Sirul originally told reporters allowed to interview him at the Sydney center that a cautioned statement he gave to police in 2006 describing the murder was accurate, and that unnamed individuals were willing to pay him and his co-killer, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, RM50,000 to RM100,000 to shut up the 28-year-old fixture on the international party circuit. However, he declined to name the individual who had ordered the two to kill her, or why.

In his statement after he was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, Sirul begged for mercy, saying he was being made a scapegoat for killing her. After his detention in Australia, Sirul spoke to Malaysiakini by telephone , saying he took orders from his superiors in executing the murder to safeguard the interest of the nation.

“If I die today, I would not find peace as I did what I was told and this is what I get in return,” he was quoted as saying.


10 thoughts on “Malaysia Tries to Cloud Blame for Altantuya Killing

  1. Altantuya refuses to fade away until justice is done. Azila and Sirul were mere executioners and will be heading to the gallows, but those behind her demise remain at large. Her ghost will continue to taunt and haunt all those who had a hand in her brutal murder, nearly a decade ago. Lady Macbeth’s lament is indeed apt. –Din Merican


    “Permit me to take the wind out of your sails, Sirul, by guessing the names of these individuals. They are most likely none other than Pokok Sena MP Mahfuz Omar (accompanying your mother), ex-Umno division leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan, Sarawak Report founder and editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and your migration consultant, Robert Chelliah.”

    Is it the same Robert Chelliah that posts here ?

  3. You can see the same pattern of denial that later revealed to be true or even worst than speculated with Najib. The point really is Najib is an immoral person. He has been in one scandal after another all his life and will do so again if allowed. Leopards do not change their spot. Worst, he is essentially incompetent, unqualified to the challenge of his office of the times.

    There is zero reason for him to remain in office.

  4. Is Sirul saying that he was framed? That he was wrongfully convicted? That the government made a mistake? If the government wanted to frame someone for Altantuya’s murder, then the last person they would have chosen would be someone who is so close to the Prime Minister, meaning his personal bodyguard.
    Ambassador Malott,

    This matter goes all the way to the top, the very top. That is the reason why I ask What manner of Man is this Prime Minister. You may recall, Ambassador Harry S. Truman said the buck stops at his desk. In Malaysia, and unique to us, when he is in power, all agencies will work hard to ensure that the Prime Minister is protected. In the US, the Senate can impeach the President. In Malaysia, there is no such mechanism. Our Parliament is a lame duck legislature.–Din Merican

  5. /// You may recall, Ambassador Harry S. Truman said the buck stops at his desk. ///
    Din, Najib has taken that advice literally. The bucks stopped at his desk, billions of bucks.
    Ha, Ha, playing with the word buck. Truman’s singular and Najib’s plural.–Din Merican.

  6. Malaysia has a PM who is not interested to find who was the mastermind who ordered his body guards to kill and bomb, (with military grade explosives), on Malaysian soil a foreign national who was blackmailing his speechwriter / political consultant about a dodgy military hardware purchase in which this speechwriter / consultant was the commissioned broker and the foreign national was the translator, (when the PM was defence minister), and who immediately called him, (the PM), on his private mobile phone, saying he, (the PM), will see the IGP about the matter on the same day inspite of his, (the PM’s), busy schedule.

    The mastermind must be so powerful that even the PM, (who has thousands and thousands of police personnel and military servicemen under his command), shy away from investigating. Perhaps this powerful person should be PM instead?

  7. Wayne, I like your slant on the subject.

    As minister of Defence, it was on his watch that one of his translators, a foreign national, was killed with military explosives. An incredibly horrific crime that captured the imagination of all Malaysians.

    Any normal boss (especially one who has the means at his disposal) would want to work tirelessly to uncover the truth behind the murder – instead of just distancing himself away from the crime.

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