AG amenable to reopening Altantuya murder case, says lawyer

Setev Shaariibuu, father of murdered Mongolian model Altantuya, met with Attorney-General Tommy Thomas today.

PUTRAJAYA: Attorney-General Tommy Thomas is receptive to reopening investigations into the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu 12 years ago if there are fresh leads, lawyer Ramkarpal Singh said.

“This is our conclusion after meeting the AG for about an hour in his office,” he said after accompanying Altantuya’s father Setev Shaaribuu to meet Thomas.

Ramkarpal said Tommy, who took office two weeks ago, had read the investigation papers into the case and was able to follow him on the expectations of Altantuya’s family.

Ramkarpal said in his opinion there were leads to reopen the case. “There are easily other local leads to spark further investigation, especially on the motive for the murder,” he said,

However, he declined to give details.

He said the AG gave the assurance that he would study the file and possibly reopen the case without further delay if there were new developments.

Ramkarpal, who was handling the case together with his father, the late Karpal Singh, said he was confident that justice would be done as sought by Altantuya’s family.

He said they also discussed the alternative remedy of establishing a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) should criminal investigations come to a deadlock.

“The prime minister has to advise the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to set up a RCI. The AG in turn has to advise the PM on the need to establish it,” he added.

In January 2015, the Federal Court sentenced to death two former policemen, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, for Altantuya’s murder, nine years after she was killed in a forest in Shah Alam, and her body blown up with explosives.

Sirul, who fled Malaysia after his acquittal by the Court of Appeal in 2013, is now in Australian custody.

He had previously claimed that he had been ordered by “important people” to murder Altantuya.

Azilah is on death row in Kajang prison and sent an application for a pardon in 2016.

Altantuya was the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda – a former close associate of former prime minister Najib Razak – who was accused of arranging kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.

Razak, who is said to have abetted in the crime, was acquitted without his defence being called. The government did not appeal.

Despite the conviction of the two former police commandos, the motive for the murder was never established.

Senior criminal lawyer Gurbachan Singh, in an interview with FMT, said police should also investigate the role played by Deputy Supt Musa Safri, a former aide de camp of Najib, who was not called to give evidence.

The Federal Court in its judgment had held that his testimony could not have helped in the defence of Azilah and Sirul.

In an 88-page judgment, Justice Suriyadi Halim Omar said: “It (Musa’s testimony) is only useful to Abdul Razak (Baginda). It merely confirmed evidence adduced from Altantuya’s cousin and friend that he had a relationship with the deceased.”

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