Written by Charles Hector
Investigate now allegations of existence of person who ordered or paid for Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder, and who paid for Sirul Azhar’s silence. Do not sweep under the carpet – reveal the truth without fear or favour.
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture) calls for prosecution and higher penalties for person/s that ordered or paid another to kill or murder. This is abuse of power and wealth.
Merely prosecuting actual murderers/killers or criminals is not enough noting that there may be occasions where the murder/crime was committed by person/s by reason of having to follow orders of another or being paid by another to commit specific crimes.
Until the abolition of the mandatory death penalty, the accused killer gains nothing by disclosing accomplices or information about people who ordered or paid for the killing, as it does not change the fact that they are still guilty of the crime of murder and would be sentenced to death.
Even the disclosure that they were ordered or paid by another will not reduce the sentence, as there is no possibility of this fact mitigating one’s sentence by reason of providing assistance to the authorities that will identify help identify or prosecute accomplices, including those that gave the order to kill or paid the accused to kill. The fact that they killed means they will be sentenced to death.
Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty – Expose of One Who Orders/Pays May Mitigate Sentence
However, today, after The Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023 came into force on 4/7/2023, Section 302 Penal Code which provides for the crime of murder now reads, ‘Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for a term of not less than thirty years but not exceeding forty years and if not sentenced to death, shall also be punished with whipping of not less than twelve strokes.’ Now, that there is an alternative sentence other than death, hence the ability of the court to consider mitigation is restored.
The disclosure of the fact that one was paid by another to kill, or ordered by another to kill is still no guarantee that the court will still not impose the death penalty, given the fact that the accused did indeed kill.
Most lawyers will reasonably advise clients in criminal cases to remain silent, unless the evidence they give will exonerate them from the crime totally. Naturally, this would be the position taken at the court of first instance right until all the 2 appeals are exhausted. Even after that, silence could be secured by threats or even payments of monies.
Sirul Azhar’s ‘Expose’ Must Be Investigated
On 24/11/2023, Sirul Azhar Umar appeared in an Al Jazeera program, where he admitted to being involved in the kidnapping of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, but denied killing her. He said he was acting on orders. He also claimed that the evidence was planted against him.
‘…He also alleged that says he received RM1mil from unnamed sources for his silence on the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder during his detention in Australia. He said a prominent politically-linked lawyer and a top Cabinet leader were involved in the payment…’(Star, 24/11/2023)
On 24/11/2023, Lawyer Datuk Hasnal Rezua Merican, now also a Malaysian Human Rights Commissioner and a recent UMNO-BN candidate in recent State elections, denied Sirul Azhar Umar’s claims that he instructed the former police commando to make a video exonerating a top leader of any involvement in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu. (Star, 24/11/2023).
We must recall also that Azilah, the other person convicted of Altantuya’s murder, also did previously release a damning Statutory Declaration (SD) from Kajang Prison implicating Najib. (Malay Mail, 17/12/2019)
Police Must Investigate – Not Simply Say ‘Unfounded’
Thus, MADPET finds it appalling that the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) regarded the statement by former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar in an interview with an international media regarding his conviction in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2009 as unfounded and could create more speculation. Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Razarudin Husain said Sirul Azhar had been given the opportunity to defend himself in line with Malaysian laws and constitution. “However, his (Sirul Azhar) claims were never submitted to any court that heard his case, from the High Court to the Federal Court. (25/11/2023, Malay Mail).
Sadly, this statement by the Inspector General of Police is wrong. It must be independently investigated, where the police must make a police report to commence investigation and only after that make any conclusion as to whether it is ‘unfounded’ or not.
MADPET believes that all these allegations must be now thoroughly investigated to determine also whether the two of Najib Razak’s former bodyguards really ordered to kill or paid by another to kill, and if so, the said giver of orders or the one who paid for the killing must be investigated and prosecuted to ensure justice be done. Was there a ‘bribe’ for silence, or for the production of some ‘fake’ video?
Can the Police Still Independently Investigate? RCI?
Given the police’s recent response, it may be also be apt to consider setting up an independent Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate this matter. Alternatively, SUHAKAM (the National Human Rights Commission) or maybe even the EAIC ought to enquire into the matter to determine the truth once and for all.
We also recall that current Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim did tell The Australian newspaper the original trial and the judges’ ruling was “compromised” and the reluctance of the judges to call relevant witnesses “made a mockery of the law”. “The best way is to proffer a new charge and allow for a full hearing of the case,” (New Straits Times, 17/5/2018). Hopefully, the fact that Anwar after GE15 needed the Barisan Nasional to form the unity government did not change his position on upholding the cause of justice without fear or favour.
Sirul Azhar Umar and chief inspector Azilah Hadri were both convicted by the High Court in Malaysia in 2009 for the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in October 2006. Altantuya was shot in the head in 2006 in a forest in Puncak Alam, Selangor. Her body was later blown up with explosives.
Their conviction in the High Court was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2013. Sirul left for Australia.
In 2015, the Federal Court upheld the High Court’s conviction, and reinstated the death penalty on both men.
The Australian government, who has a policy against deporting anyone to a country where they would face the death penalty, refused to send Sirul back to Malaysia.
Sirul was later apprehended by Australian Immigration in January 2015. Recently, Sirul Azhar was released after spending nine years in immigration custody since 2015. This followed an Australian High Court decision on 8/11/2023, that released about 92 detainees including Sirul Azhar, after deciding that non-citizen detainees who cannot be deported cannot be held indefinitely by immigration authorities, and were allowed to stay in Australia under specific conditions.
MADPET calls for an independent reinvestigation of the Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder in light of the recent revelations by Sirul Azhar with the object of determining the truth, including as to whether there were other accomplices possibly person/s who ordered the killing or paid another to kill;
MADPET also calls for an investigation into the alleged payment for silence;
MADPET also calls for comprehensive investigation of all murders, to determine whether there were others liable other than the one who committed the crime, as justice will not be served if some escape justice simply because the police elected to end investigations once the perpetrator committed the crime;
MADPET also calls for higher penalties to be imposed on persons that ordered or paid another to commit crimes, for without such persons the crime would never have been committed. It is an abuse of power or wealth that must never be tolerated. – Written by Charles Hector, MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Altantuya case: Sirul should face new trial, says Anwar
May 17, 2018 @ 3:21pm
SYDNEY: A man who fled Malaysia after being sentenced to hang for the killing of a Mongolian model, in a scandal linked to his country’s ousted government, should face a new trial, political leader Anwar Ibrahim reportedly said Thursday.
Former Malaysian police officer Sirul Azhar Umar, who is now in Australian custody, has claimed he was ordered by “important people” to murder Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.
Altantuya was the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda – a former close associate of now deposed Malaysian premier Najib Razak – who was accused of arranging kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.
Opponents of Najib’s government have long alleged that Sirul and accomplice Azilah Hadri, members of an elite unit that guards top Malaysian ministers, were scapegoats in the killing to hide the involvement of their masters at the highest levels of government.
Reformist politician Anwar, who was released from prison Wednesday after his sodomy conviction was quashed by the king following Najib being toppled, suggested Sirul should be brought back to Malaysia for a fresh trial.
He told The Australian newspaper the original trial and the judges’ ruling was “compromised” and the reluctance of the judges to call relevant witnesses “made a mockery of the law”.
“The best way is to proffer a new charge and allow for a full hearing of the case,” he said.
Anwar is the presumptive successor to new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad following a stunning election upset last week, with his one-time nemesis turned ally vowing to step down in a year or two to make way for him.
Sirul was reportedly detained in Australia in 2015 and has been held in custody since, although Canberra has never officially confirmed this.
A report in the Guardian last week said his bid for a protection visa would be heard within months. Authorities refused to confirm this to AFP or comment on other details of the case.
According to the newspaper, Canberra has allowed Malaysian officials and their middlemen to meet with him regularly, including one from Najib’s United Malays National Organisation party’s youth wing a fortnight ago.
It cited a source as saying the Malaysian visitor delivered a message to his countryman: “Don’t say anything”.
The scandal is one of Malaysia’s most sensitive topics, with suspicions swirling for years that Altantuya was murdered to keep her quiet about shenanigans in the submarine deal.
Najib has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing over the deal amid allegations that French submarine maker DCNS paid “commissions” of more than 114 million euros (US$142 million) for two Scorpene submarines, which Malaysian critics allege were kickbacks.
Altantuya, 28, was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives outside Kuala Lumpur.
Sirul and Azilah were convicted in 2009 and sentenced to hang. They were later released when an appeals court overturned the conviction in 2013 after raising questions about how their trial was conducted
But Malaysia’s highest court upheld their death sentences in 2015. Sirul fled the country ahead of that ruling. AFP / NST