The then Deputy Prime Minster's name was never brought up "in any culpable manner" throughout the Court case.
Image source: weehinthong
NEWS UPDATE Attorney General (AG) Mohd Apandi Ali has clarified, in the wake of a documentary film by Doha-based international TV station al-Jazeera, that Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had no connection with the 2006 murder of a Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaariibuu, in the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.
Najib's name, he said, was never brought up "in any culpable manner" throughout the Court case.
The AG was referring to the conviction of two police commandos, Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri. The latter is in death row while the former fled before the case in the Federal Court which set aside a Court of Appeal decision and reinstated the High Court ruling sentencing the duo to death.
"The evidence led did not at all show that the Prime Minister (then Deputy Prime Minister) played any role in the case," said the AG. "The attempts by parties and individuals mentioned to somehow connect the Prime Minister to the murder case is completely without basis."
Earlier, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said in a statement in response to the al-Jazeera film that Najib had never met Altantuya and described as "intentionally misleading" the allegation that the convicted officers were part of his security detail.
The al-Jazeera film focused on the murder and unanswered questions on the motives for the crime. It linked the victim to an affair with political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, a close friend and confidante of Najib, who was acquitted in 2008 after initially being charged with abetment.
The TV station said the documentary was "a detailed and thorough report into the murder mystery that continues to have many unanswered questions".
"All those mentioned in the film have the Right of Reply. Every effort is taken to ensure that the Right of Reply is given to them."
An Al Jazeera spokesman from the Doha Headquarters of the TV station told Malaysiakini in an email that the film follows the facts while also raising new developments, particularly in relation to one of the two convicted killers, Sirul Azhar Umar, who's currently under detention in Sydney, Australia. "We would like to reiterate that we are an independent international news organisation. We have no agenda whatsoever. That goes for all our stories."
Al Jazeera said that it would co-operate with Malaysian authorities who are investigating its documentary. "Al Jazeera takes seriously its editorial independence and stands by the work of the journalists who provide exemplary and fair coverage at all times."
Briefly, the film appears to suggest that "new evidence" has been uncovered on the murder and these include the startling theory and/or conclusion advanced by a Sirul relative that Razak Baginda pulled the trigger and killed his lover Altantuya.
Sirul was said to be attempting to blackmail Najib.
Former Inspector General of Police, Musa Hassan, told the media that the only one with a motive to kill Altantuya was Razak Baginda and the likely motive was to get rid of a blackmailer. "Unfortunately Razak Baginda was released. The victim herself made a police report at the Brickfields police station on why she was blackmailing Razak Baginda. She came here to claim money from her male friend. The police report alleged that she was being harassed and threatened by someone. She said that if anyone was at fault, 'this person' should be held responsible."
"Anyone with new evidence related to the murder should lodge a police report. Those who were convicted of killing Altantuya should have revealed in Court the reasons for carrying out the crime."
Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar has since accused the TV station of not turning up new evidence but planting them. He has pledged to go after those who fed the TV station the "wrong" information. He has since been reported as describing the film as "rubbish".
It has been said that whatever al-Jazeera covered was nothing new and that all was known in Malaysia. In short, al-Jazeera was into hearsay and, in the words of Khalid, "fiction".
It has been alleged widely in the social media, that statements by the two convicted killers were never taken into consideration by the police and the exact circumstances under which the two cops entered the picture reportedly remain murky and incomplete.
The question, if Razak Baginda did indeed pull the trigger, was whether he had the opportunity. Was the murder weapon ever found?
Razak Baginda was once quoted as saying in the media, "we should have paid her and then all this would not have happened." Explaining the killing, he said "there's such a thing as rogue cops".
The contention in the al-Jazeera film may be that Najib knows more than what he has been saying and may be guilty of abetment.
With what degree of certainty can al-Jazeera say that Najib knew Altantuya and in fact introduced her to Baginda at a diamond exhibition in Singapore after reportedly having a short affair with her? The question is also how did Altantuya enter the picture? Baginda's wife, after the husband was held, was heard screaming on TV, "it's not my husband who wants to be Prime Minister"
DAP veteran Lim Kit Siang, in a media statement, said that Najib would forever be haunted by the Altantuya case. There's no reason for the Prime Minister to be haunted if he didn't know the murder victim.