The first couple must break their silence and convince the country that the allegation against them is nothing but a big lie.
The prime minister and his wife cannot be hiding under the carpet forever. Najib Tun Razak and wife Rosmah Mansor must come out and tell their side of the story. The case of the murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu will never be closed unless and until the duo clear the air.
A businessman has spilled the beans and now it is up to Najib and Rosmah to make their stand and rebut the serious allegation.
The premier couple must argue their case convincingly and truthfully. Their high station in life is no excuse to maintain a proud distance. Neither can they remain in splendid isolation while the whole country is abuzz with the hot news. There is no running away from the grim reality. They are public figures and must answer for every of their moves. The Altantuya case is an albatross around their necks – and they must remove it before it gets heavier.
The revelation is damning: businessman Deepak Jaikishan broke his two-year silence to point the finger directly at Rosmah for her role in the making of a second statutory declaration (SD). By now Malaysians know what had happened. Rosmah allegedly sought Deepak’s help to get private investigator P Balasubramaniam to pull back the first SD. The first SD allegedly implicated Najib in the wanton killing of Altantuya and the second SD rolled back the first one, effectively absolving Najib of all responsibility.
There is also Nazim Tun Razak who represented his brother in the negotiation at a shopping mall, where Balasubramanian was also present. This means that Nazim is also an “accomplice” in allegedly getting a lawyer to draft the second SD, with the full knowledge of his brother. Nazim, too, will have a lot of explaining to do for his “broker” role. Rosmah and Nazim appeared to be the principal actors in going all out to protect Najib in his rise to political prominence.
It will be an uphill task to reopen the murder case given that even the authorities seemed bent on covering up the grime. The suspicion is growing that the order to bury the file in the dark recesses of a corner came from Najib or from his overzealous supporters in his “civil service”. Asking the inspector-general of police and the attorney-general to dust off the file on Altantuya is asking for the moon. It is as if all are working hand in glove to ensure the political supremo in the government will win the next general election, unfazed by the ghost of Altantuya.
But a crime cannot be covered up especially when it involves a public figure holding the highest office in the country. If the reign of silence continues, it is time concerned citizens pushed hard to reopen the file and call for a new trial. Najib, Rosmah, Nazim and the two former policemen on death row (convicted senselessly of this dastardly crime) must all stand in the dock and give their account of the circumstances that led to the tragic death of an innocent woman. The severe face of justice must show no fear or favour.
Najib must be grilled on his alleged relationship with Altantuya: did he know or meet the Mongolian woman? Rosmah must be subjected to a thorough cross-examination: did she approach Deepak to get Balasubramaniam to retract the first SD? Nazim must be pumped for more details in his alleged role as the middleman to get his brother off the hook. The death row prisoners must tell who ordered them to shoot and blow up the victim. Balasubramaniam can also shed more light on the secret rendezvous at the hotel. Even Abdul Razak Baginda, the alleged paramour of Altantuya, who got away unscathed, must be interrogated detailedly about his part in the dark drama.
Malaysians will want a retrial in the wake of all these disturbing developments. The person of a prime minister is not inviolate. In countries where leaders ran afoul of the law, they were ignominiously dragged to court and some even paid with their lives. Najib may choose to ignore the lengthening shadow and go about his official duties in regal style, but the rumblings in the background will not cease. The times are not good for him.
A crucial general election is around the corner and the question that must be popping up is, will the people want to give a five-year mandate to Najib when he is under a dark cloud? How can a country hold its head high up when there is a blot on its chief executive? This is an issue of morality and trust. It is imperative that Najib come clean about this whole sordid affair before the people head for the polling booths. Otherwise, his fate will be decided at the ballot box. He may taste defeat – and face trial. Then the spirit of Altantuya will no longer be restless.