Written by Wong Choon Mei, Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – There is theft, there is murder and now there is motive! So says the famed Sarawak Report whistleblower website, the latest to jump back into the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder, which has exploded back onto the scene after one of her killers was released a few weeks ago and allowed to live freely in Australia.
Indeed, as the media spotlight shines into the case that first shocked the world in 2006, questions and speculation swirl over why Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is mysteriously inactive over Sirul Azhar Umar, the killer at the center of the latest controversy.
Altantuya, a Mongolian national, was daringly abducted off a street in Kuala Lumpur by two Malaysian cops – Sirul and Azilah Hadri – who brutally shot her in the head before bombing her body with C4 explosives,
“What is Anwar waiting for? Cannot be he wants to protect Najib or Umno, right? By right, he should lead the charge to make representations to Australia to haul Sirul back,” a political analyst told Politics Now!
“The Altantuya murder is a massive case, as damaging to Malaysia’s reputation as the 1MDB kleptocracy. More importantly, the PM of the day needs to show the will to weed out ‘the powerful can do no wrong’ culture among the political elite in this country.”
LEST ANWAR HAS FORGOTTEN…
And lest Anwar has forgotten, Sarawak Report has reminded there was also massive thievery in the Altantuya case, In fact, she came to Malaysia to ask Najib’s associate Razak Baginda for her share of a huge commission related to “kickbacks” from Malaysia’s purchase of 2 Scorpene submarines. Najib, who was then the defense minister, had overseen the procurement.
“As most Malaysians now know, there was a great deal to hide about the massive multi-million euro kickbacks associated with that deal, including a €119 million ‘service contract’ entered into with a company controlled by Razak Baginda who is considered to have been Najib’s proxy in these matters.” wrote Sarawak Report.
“None of this would have been something either man would wish to have Altantuya make public at any time, let alone at that moment in 2006 just as the ambitious defence minister was about to make his move to take the top job.”
“Covering up a massive theft is an obvious motive for murder, yet there has never been any formal investigation into why Najib allowed his bodyguards to leave his compound to abduct Altantuya. The matter was not brought up at the trial of the two men.”
ROYAL PARDON FOR NAJIB NOW THE PRIORITY?
With so much to uncover still, it is not surprising that the heat is on Anwar to show more political will. It has long been the promise of his Pakatan Harapan coalition to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the scandal and bring all the perpetrators to justice.
However, Najib and his Umno party are now Pakatan’s allies in Anwar’s unity government. Could this be the reason why the Anwar administration is now no longer keen for Sirul to come back and explode a bombshell that could misfire on the shaky Anwar – putting at risk the PM post he has long coveted and fought for?
Speculation has also been rife that Anwar is trying hard to push for a royal pardon for Najib, who is already in jail serving out a 12-year sentence over another corruption case not related to the Altantuya and Scorpenes scandal.
“Najib is now in jail as a result of his conviction for the later massive theft from 1MDB (the Scorpene submarine kickbacks have also been tried in the French courts which found that the massive 119 million euro bribe had indeed been paid via Razak Baginda to Najib to secure that contract),” said Sarawak Report.
“His wife Rosmah has been convicted on separate major corruption charges and is awaiting jail on appeal.”
“The ex-PM (Najib) is doing his best to get let out, both through appeals to clemency and pardons. However, grand theft is one thing. Seeking to cover it up by procuring murder is another and now at last that Sirul is free and a non-complicit government is in office, this matter must be re-opened not just through the private prosecution that successfully demanded compensation from Razak Baginda, but by official channels.”
WILL ANWAR REGIME DARE TO REOPEN THE CASE
In 2019, Tommy Thomas, the then Attorney-General, had said he was looking into the possibility of reopening the case – something that Anwar, despite the enormous power he current holds, has not even squeaked at.
“Everybody knew that it just did not make sense for the two of them to be solely culpable.
“So we knew that the story was incomplete,” Tommy, who resigned after the fall of Mahathir-led Pakatan government in 2020, had told Bloomberg.
He was responding to a damning statement made by Azilah, the co-killer who is now on death row in a Malaysian prison, outing Najib as the alleged mastermind who gave the “shoot to kill” order.
Azilah too has asked for a retrial but somehow, as is frequent in Malaysia’s murky political scene, nothing appears to have come out of it. Now with Sirul ‘available’ if Anwar pushes hard enough, justice may finally be done.
Not only for Altantuya and her family but also to Malaysians who were not only lied to but robbed of their country’s reputation and millions in public money – after being made to pay exorbitant and jacked-up prices for a pair of mediocre submarines that were not even suitable for the task they were bought for.
WILL ANWAR TRY TO SQUIRM OUT OF THE IMBROGLIO
Analysts are betting that Anwar will try to squirm out of the imbroglio by relying on Australia’s strict law against deporting those who face the death penalty in their home countries.
Sirul can apply to have his death sentence commuted to some form of imprisonment, but chances are he won’t. Right now, he can live freely in Australia due to a new law passed by Canberra and he has admitted to receiving RM1 million to keep his mouth shut. So why would he want to rock his new cushy boat. Even if he goes through the motions of applying, odds are the outcome will be delayed – a situation that suits Anwar regime just fine.
However, some bad news for Sirul is that Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese may bow to the growing public pressure there. Albanese is reported to be mulling preventive detention laws to re-incarcerate non-citizens previously convicted of serious crimes like rape and murder – and this would include Sirul.
“We are doing all that we need to do, everything within our power, to keep people safe. That’s our first, second and third priority,” Albanese said on Sky News.
STAYING OVER AT NAJIB’S – OVER TO YOU, ANWAR!
One more detail raised by Sarawak Report – did Azilah and Sirul stay over at Najib’s private residence the night before the Altantuya murder? Was that how they got hold of the military-grade C4 explosives – via the then defense minister?
“Covering up a massive theft is an obvious motive for murder, yet there has never been any formal investigation into why Najib allowed his bodyguards to leave his compound to abduct Altantuya. The matter was not brought up at the trial of the two men,” said Sarawak Report.
“Nor was it discussed during those criminal proceedings how these police officers came by the C4 explosive or learnt how to use it. Although later investigations, including a thorough review of the case by lawyer Americk Sidhu, have revealed one possible explanation, which is that two military officers stayed over at Najib’s private residence the night before the murder.
“All such matters were avoided by prosecutors who narrowed their enquiries to solely convict the bodyguards.”
Over to you, Anwar and Harapan! Unless of course, they’re all now too grand for things like justice, upholding law and order, tracking down corruption and stolen public money.
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Politics Now!