Now, with the abolishment of the death penalty, Canberra has no more excuse not to extradite Sirul.
Jailed Najib Razak and his self-proclaimed hotshot lawyer Shafee Abdullah were extremely disappointed and devastated with the Federal Court’s 4-1 decision to reject a bid to review the conviction of the ex-prime minister last week. But the snake oil salesman defence attorney has again given his client yet another false hope that he could be freed soon.
Najib is being misled into believing that the minority dissent judgment by Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Abdul Rahman Sebli, who chaired the five-member bench of the Federal Court, is fantastic news. Shafee argues that the decision opens the possibility for another review – even a royal pardon – as if the 13-1 defeat was not humiliating enough.
Prior to the Federal Court’s review, all three courts and nine judges (High Court – one, Court of Appeal – three, Federal Court – five) had delivered unanimous guilty verdicts on Najib of criminal breach of trust (CBT), abuse of power and money laundering involving RM42 million stolen from SRC International Sdn Bhd (a subsidiary of 1MDB). Najib hasn’t a clue that he has hired the worst lawyer.
It was like saying Manchester United can ask for a review to claim victory after losing 1-6 to Manchester City in the 2011-12 Premier League season. In truth, Najib and Shafee deserve each other. Both are crook and conmen who have been lying so much they actually believe their own lies. But Najib should start worrying about a bigger problem – the gruesome murder of Altantuya.
The Dewan Rakyat (Lower House) has unanimously passed a bill to abolish the death penalty as the mandatory sentence for 11 serious crimes, including murder and terrorism. The bill also gives judges the discretion to impose jail terms of up to 40 years in place of the death penalty. The reforms still need to clear Dewan Negara (Upper House), which is expected to pass it.
This means Najib, currently serving 12 years’ jail and facing “four more” criminal court cases related to 1MDB scandal, could see yet another scandal coming back to haunt him. He was linked to Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaariibuu, believed to be pregnant when she was killed, and her body was blown up with military-grade C4 explosives during Najib’s administration.
The scandal began with the purchase of French Scorpene-class submarines by Najib Razak in 2002 when he was the defence minister for a whopping €1.2 billion (about RM4.78 billion). Both subs – Tunku Abdul Rahman and Tun Abdul Razak – came with €114 million (RM500 million) “commission” for crooked Najib Razak paid through his close associate Abdul Razak Baginda.
French multinational company Thales that designed and built the subs paid €114 million as “consulting work” to Perimekar, a Malaysian company of which Baginda’s wife was the primary shareholder. Altantuya, who was having an affair with Razak Baginda, had gone to his house and demanded US$500,000 which she claimed was owed for her work as a translator in the sub deal.
Thales (which owned 50% share of prime contractor Armaris and now an indirect share through a stake in DCNS) paid the kickbacks to Perimekar, a company which was only set up in 2001, a few months before the deal was signed, and had no relevant experience or expertise in managing such a project. Razak Baginda received a further €30 million, and another €2.5 million to bribe other Malaysian officials.
When Razak Baginda refused to be blackmailed, a pregnant Altantuya was killed by Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar (formerly with the police’s Special Action Unit, UTK). Despite her begging, Altantuya was shot twice in the head, wrapped in C4 military-grade plastic explosives and blown up in Kuala Lumpur’s suburbs on October 19, 2006.
Back in 2015, when Al-Jazeera unleashed a damaging documentary – “Murder in Malaysia” – the journalist, Mary Ann Jolley, was deported by five Malaysian immigration officers and a man in military outfit. Then-PM Najib had sent the authorities to bully, harass and intimidate the Australian-based journalist. Exactly why was the prime minister so terrified of the documentary?
Apparently, Jolley revealed in the Al-Jazeera weekly that besides two convicted killers from the elite protection squad (Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar), there was a third person at the murder scene. That man was none other than Altantuya’s ex-lover Razak Baginda. And according to Sirul, it was the scumbag Razak Baginda who pulled the trigger and shot the Mongolian.
Al-Jazeera also revealed how ex-PM Najib informed buddy Baginda that he had sexual relationship with Altantuya (also known as Aminah). And it was Najib who had introduced Altantuya to Razak Baginda at a diamond exhibition in Singapore. It appeared that after Najib got tired of Altantuya, he passed her to Baginda like a sex toy, after which both became lovers.
In fact, private investigator and witness Balasubramaniam’s Statutory Declaration did mention about Najib informing Baginda that Altantuya was susceptible to anal intercourse, suggesting that the prime minister had lied when he said he didn’t know her. And how did Najib know about the anal sex, unless of course, he had experienced it with Altantuya.
Al-Jazeera also exposed how Balasubramaniam was threatened by military intelligence into retracting his first statutory declaration which implicated Najib Razak, in exchange for RM5 million and temporarily “disappeared” out of the country, until the then-Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak officially became the 6th Prime Minister of Malaysia on 3 April 2009.
Sirul and fellow bodyguard Azilah Hadri were charged with the murder and sentenced to death in 2009. However, Sirul has denied carrying out the killing, saying that he was acting on orders from his superiors and was only involved in driving Altantuya to the scene. No motive for the killing was ever established and key witnesses were never called in the trial.
A year after the scandal-plagued Najib regime lost power, convicted killer Azilah issued a shocking “Statutory Declaration (SD)” dated October 17, 2019 – admitting that it was Najib Razak who gave him the “shoot to kill” order to terminate the Mongolian mother of two during a meeting on October 17, 2006. Najib claimed Altantuya was a “foreign spy” and was a national security threat.
Azilah said in his SD – “I asked the DPM (Deputy Prime Minister Najib) what was meant by arrest and destroy the foreign spy and DPM responded ‘shoot to kill’ while showing the sign of slitting the throat. When asked what was meant by destroying the foreign spy’s body, DPM replied ‘Destroy the foreign spy’s body to get rid of traces.’”
When the police commando told Najib (who was then Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister) that a police report had to be made on the matter, Najib disagreed and argued that the matter could not be made public as it involved national security. Azilah was told that the foreign spy was a very dangerous woman due to many national secrets she knew. Najib also said Altantuya would pretend to be pregnant.
Azilah was briefed by Najib – “The foreign spy could not approach the DPM (Najib) due to the tight security and therefore the spy threatened the DPM’s special officer instead”. The special officer was referring to Razak Baginda. Even though Azilah and Sirul had been convicted, the question remains as to why both commandos would abduct and kill a woman whom they never knew.
The zero motive to kill a defenceless woman was finally unveiled when Sirul said he was merely acting on orders from his superior – DSP Musa Safri. A former aide de camp of Najib, Musa Safri only took orders from his boss. That explains why Musa Safri was never called in the trial as a material witness because to do so would force Musa to testify against Najib Razak.
Under the Najib regime, a (deliberate) failure on part of the prosecution to call the material witness – DSP Musa Safri – a former aide de camp of the Prime Minister, raised eyebrows and suspicions. It was a disgraceful cover-up, from the Prime Minister Office of Najib Razak to the Royal Malaysia Police and from the judiciary to immigration.
Najib Razak also lied that there was no proof to show he was involved in the corruption scandal linked to the purchase of French submarines. As revealed by French lawyer William Bourdon, the missing link was the bank accounts of a shell company in Hong Kong called Terasasi (Hong Kong) Ltd, which was used to divert €36 million (RM164 million).
Terasasi was 90% owned by Najib Razak, and the shell company was created by Thales for the purpose of receiving kickbacks in the submarine deal. However, Hong Kong authorities’ refusal to provide the Malaysian and French judiciary access to the accounts had been the “black hole” in solving the Scorpene mystery. Bourdon had filed a corruption complaint as early as 2008.
The MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission) reopened the Scorpene scandal in November 2018, six months after the Pakatan Harapan government took over, and almost seven years after the Najib regime barred Bourdon from entering Malaysia since July 2011. The French Magistrate and Financial Prosecutor arrived in Kuala Lumpur in December 2018 to meet various judicial authorities and stakeholders.
After Najib lost power in the May 2018 General Election, the new Pakatan Harapan government wanted to extradite Sirul Azhar, who had been held in the Villawood detention centre in Sydney ever since the convicted killer was arrested in Queensland for overstaying his tourist visa. Unfortunately, the government collapsed after just 22 months, thanks to Muhyiddin’s betrayal.
To make things complicated, Australia had refused to extradite Sirul (former elite bodyguard of Najib) back to Malaysia because the country’s extradition legislation does not allow a person to be surrendered to another country for an offence punishable by death, unless Malaysia gave Australia an undertaking that the death penalty would not be carried out.
Back in 2018, PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim had condemned Australia for ignoring Malaysia’s attempts to deport the convicted murderer Sirul Azhar Umar back to Malaysia. He bashed tainted Australian foreign policies which protect corruption and criminals. Now, with the abolishment of the death penalty under Anwar’s administration, Canberra has no more excuse not to extradite Sirul. – Finance Twitter