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Saturday, January 31, 2015

Why is Razak Baginda protecting Najib over Altantuya’s murder, asks lawyer

Lawyer Americk Sidhu has questioned political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda’s (pic) reasons for protecting Datuk Seri Najib Razak over the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu nine years ago when the prime minister was never implicated in the crime.
Americk had prepared the first statutory declaration (SD 1) for the late private detective P. Balasubramaniam who was engaged by the political analyst in 2006.
The lawyer said Razak kept harping during his recent interview with The Malaysian Insider that Najib was an innocent victim and had been dealt with unfairly.
Americk said Razak, however, did not explain why he found it necessary to protect Najib.
“No one has accused Najib of being involved. Bala in his SD 1 certainly didn’t accuse Najib of having anything to do with the murder of Altantuya," Americk said in a statement exclusive to The Malaysian Insider.
Bala, who was a freelance private investigator after leaving the police force, had said in his first SD that Razak had employed him some time in June 2006 to keep Altantuya away from him.
Americk said all Bala had stated in that SD was that Razak had told him about Najib’s involvement with Altantuya.
(Bala had said that both Razak and Altantuya had told him that she used to be Najib's girlfriend. This allegation appears in paragraphs 25 and 28 of the SD 1).
Americk said Razak had yet to specifically deny he told Bala this.
“Bala has admitted right from the beginning that some of the contents of his SD 1 were hearsay. So what is Razak Baginda’s point when he says Bala’s SD is hearsay?" Americk asked.
He said Razak had also conveniently avoided saying why Najib, Najib's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Najib's brother Nazim Razak, carpet trader Deepak Jaikishin and a host of other personalities found it necessary to ensure Bala and his family left the country soon after the SD 1 was released.
"This doesn’t really lend any credibility to Razak's assertion that Najib is an innocent victim of political subterfuge," Americk said.
Bala was a witness in the murder trial of Altantuya but left Malaysia in a hurry after he signed a second statutory declaration (SD) in 2008, which purportedly cleared Najib of involvement in the case.
Bala died of a heart attack on March 15, 2013, weeks after returning from a five-year forced exile in India.
Americk also said Razak failed to appreciate Bala’s loyalty to him.
Lawyer Americk Sidhu (left) and private investigator P. Balasubramaniam at a press conference. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 31, 2015.Lawyer Americk Sidhu (left) and private investigator P. Balasubramaniam at a press conference. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, January 31, 2015.He said when Bala was interviewed by the press in London in July 2010 at the Holiday Villa Hotel, in Bayswater, he told the reporters that he thought Razak had nothing to do with the murder and that he was innocent.
Americk said Bala felt Razak was naive in thinking the two police commandos, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, would not harm Altantuya.
"Is this all rubbish Mr Razak Baginda?" asked Americk, refering to Razak's interview with The Malaysian Insider where he had rubbished Bala's SD.
Americk also mentioned a dinner at a restaurant in Brickfields on October 13, 2006, arranged by Bala so that Razak could meet one ASP Suresh who was to organise the arrest of Altantuya. But Suresh did not turn up because he himself had been arrested by the Anti-Corruption Agency (as it was then known), that same evening.
Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered in 2006. – File pic, January 31, 2015.Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered in 2006. – File pic, January 31, 2015.At that dinner, Razak had specifically told Bala that he was to make sure Altantuya was not harmed in any way, added Americk.
"But Razak did not realise what he was getting into when he became involved with (Deputy Superintendent) Musa Safri and Azilah. Is this all rubbish?" he asked again.
Musa was at the time the aide-de-camp for Najib, who was then the deputy prime minister.
Razak, in the interview with The Malaysian Insider, had played down the crime, saying he did not know the motive for his lover Altantuya's murder but noted that many people have inexplicably died in police custody.
He was acquitted of abetting in her 2006 murder but the two former police commandos, Azilah and Sirul, were found guilty by the Federal Court after a final round of appeal this month.
"Only the two policemen know. Rogue police do kill people, like in so many remand cases," the political analyst had told The Malaysian Insider when asked what, in his opinion, was the motive for the murder.
Former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar has fled to Australia. – File pic, January 31, 2015.Former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar has fled to Australia. – File pic, January 31, 2015.Azilah is on death row while Sirul has fled to Australia and Malaysian authorities are making attempts to have him extradited.
Evidence in court revealed that the Mongolian woman was either murdered by C4 explosives or was killed first and her remains destroyed on October 18, 2006, in the outskirts of Shah Alam, near capital city Kuala Lumpur.
It emerged during the trial that Razak, a confidante of Najib, had enlisted Musa's help as he could not tolerate the harassment from Altantuya.
The Federal Court in its judgment ruled that the non-calling of Musa was not fatal to the prosecution's case  and could not see how much more details the senior police officer could have provided for the defence of Azilah and Sirul.
Tan Sri Suriyadi Halim Omar, who delivered the the 88-page judgment, had said that while the defence lawyers complained that Musa's testimony, if he had been called upon by the prosecution, could have provided details regarding Razak's sworn affidavit, the court was satisfied that the content (of the affidavit) was merely confirmatory in nature.
“It is only useful to Razak. It merely confirmed evidence adduced from Altantuya's cousin and friend that he had had a relationship with the deceased.
“We are therefore unable to see how much more details DSP Musa could produce that would contribute to the respondents' defence. The calling of DSP Musa, let alone the tendering of the text messages, would not have affected the evidence pertaining to Abdul Razak's relationship one tiny bit.
“We also observed that DSP Musa never instructed Azilah how to assist Abdul Razak, but was merely told to meet up with him, and Azilah acted on his own discretion and sensibilities,” Suriyadi had said in the unanimous verdict.

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