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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Scorpenes should dive and Altantuya should be alive, not a pile of ashes

Scorpenes should dive and Altantuya should be alive, not a pile of ashes

Summer is turning to autumn in London, the chill is in the air, and the Guards in Buckingham Palace have swapped their bright red summer outfits for grey winter greatcoats. Weather never stops the tourists from coming to London though and they will still be thronging Buckingham and the busy streets of London.

But on Friday, the 30th of September, at one of the lecture theatres of the BPP Law School in Red Lion Street, a short walk from Holborn station, a more serious gathering will take place.

The Solicitors International Human Rights Group (SIHRG) and Suaram have organized a briefing and fund-raising event on the Malaysian Scorpene corruption case. Speakers will include Joseph Breham of SHERPA, the French non-profit organization that has taken up the case, and Cynthia Gabriel of Suaram. Approximately 300 to 500 participants are expected, many of them Malaysians residing in London.

A long shadow

Hovering over all, larger now in death than in life, will be the shadow of Altantuya Shaariiibuu, the Mongolian who was brutally, mercilessly, murdered in Kuala Lumpur. Those who thought they could shut her up by killing her have been proven very wrong. She will continue to haunt them until she gets the justice she deserves.

Two policeman have been convicted for killing her, but they lack a motive. Until those with the obvious motive to silence her are arrested and convicted, no matter who or howsoever high they sit, there will be no closure in this case.

Why have the police not continued with their investigation until those who gave the order are found? Why has the AG not returned the investigation papers and demanded a complete investigation? If Razak Baginda, who had helped Najib negotiate the RM7 billion Scorpene purchase, is not guilty of giving the order to kill, then who is?

As long as these questions are not answered, then the justice system in Malaysia cannot be said to be working and we cannot be considered to be a nation of laws, the ideal espoused by John Adams.

Justice is due

Inextricably linked with the whole Scorpene scandal is current Prime Minister Najib Razak. He was the defence minister who bought the Scorpenes, which when they arrived were reportedly malfunctioning and unable to dive. Razak Baginda was his aide.

The policemen who were convicted of Altantuya’s murder were part of his security detail. Circumstantial it may be, but hardly the kind of shadow that a Prime Minister would want hanging over him. Also the odds for such a coincidence must be mind-boggling.

Yet Najib refuses to submit himself to inquiry. In the US or in any European country he would have have to resign and accept examination, but not so here. Here, Najib chose to swear instead that he never knew Altantuya, in curious alternative to a judicial enquiry.

Malaysia owes justice to Altantuya and her family, a justice that we have yet to deliver. She should be alive and with her family in the grassland steppes of Mongolia; not a pile of ashes in Malaysia. The attempt to blow up her body with C4 shows that the idea was for her to ‘disappear’, never to be heard from again.

It touches a nerve, for Bruno Manser too ‘dissapeared’. He too was viewed as a ‘problem’ by some. Malaysia's Attorney General is remiss in not reopening the Bruno case again after what happened with Altantuya.

The event tomorrow need not have been held in distant London. It should have been held in Malaysia. But the last SHERPA lawyer to visit Malaysia, William Bourdon, was unceremoniously deported by the Malaysian government. So Joseph Breham will have to go to London. And perhaps there is something in that, as it was an English poet, Chaucer, who first wrote that, “murder will out”.

For those who are able to attend, you may register and get further details at:

http://malaysianscorpenesubmarinecorruptioncaselegalbrief.eventbrite.com/

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