New AG could order fresh Altantuya murder probe, says ex-judge

Gopal Sri Ram. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The incoming attorney-general could order a fresh probe into the 2006 murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, said a former judge, saying this could determine whether there had been a perversion of justice that led to the conviction of two ex-policemen and the acquittal of a political analyst once close to Najib Razak.

Former federal court judge Gopal Sri Ram said the probe could also find out if the acquittal of Abdul Razak Baginda was due to suppression of evidence.

“The police will know if someone helped Razak to get an acquittal for abetment by suppressing material evidence and introducing evidence favourable to him which is not the prosecution’s business,” he said.

Razak was acquitted of murdering Altantuya, his former lover who was said to be involved in the Malaysian government’s negotiations to purchase two French submarines in 2002.

Two others charged with him, Sirul Azhar Umar and Azilah Hadri, have been sentenced to death.

But Sirul has since fled Malaysia and is now in Australian custody. He has issued several statements claiming “important people” were behind the murder of the Mongolian.

Speaking to FMT, Sri Ram said the first statutory declaration by P Balasubramaniam, a private investigator hired by Razak in the weeks before Altantuya’s murder, could be revisited.

Balasubramaniam died of heart failure in March 2013.

Sri Ram questioned why there was no appeal from the prosecution against Razak’s early acquittal, despite the prosecution appealing against Sirul and Azilah’s initial acquittal and ultimately securing a conviction in the Federal Court.

His remarks followed an impassioned plea by Altantuya’s father, Shaariibuu Setev, urging the new government to reopen investigations into the murder of his daughter, who was shot and her body blown to pieces in a jungle clearing near Shah Alam.

Shaariibuu in a letter to his lawyer said “a powerful person” must have sanctioned the crime, adding that “the world waits that the just court of Malaysia will resolve this matter”.

“If justice, truth, hope, trust and human ways disappear from this world, it shall be equal to the earth without the sun,” he wrote.

Yesterday, Inspector-General of Police Mohamad Fuzi Harun said Bukit Aman has not reopened the murder probe as no fresh police report was lodged.

However, Setev’s lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh said the police should know that there were crucial aspects in the case missed out in the earlier investigations.

“It defies logic for investigators to have only asked who killed her without asking why in their investigations,” he added.

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