PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has given his approval for the case involving murdered Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu to be reopened.
This was the outcome of a meeting that Altantuya’s father, Setev Shaariibuu, had at the prime minister’s office here today.
After the meeting, Shaariibuu’s lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh, said: “It was a good meeting, we briefed (the prime minister) on the facts of the case.
“We gave him our reasons for wanting to reopen the case and he was in agreement as long as it’s in accordance with the rule of law. We agree, that’s why Setev lodged the report this morning (to reopen the case and question a key witness).”
Shaariibuu said he was satisfied with the meeting with Mahathir. “The PM and I had a face-to-face meeting as fathers. The law should serve the citizens. The most precious thing is human life,” he said.
When asked how soon investigations could be reopened, Ramkarpal said there was no specific time frame but that he hoped it wouldn’t take too long. “I hope something can happen within three to six months,” he said.
(Under the Constitution, the Attorney-General, as Public Prosecutor, has sole discretion over whether cases are prosecuted and can direct investigations by the police.)
Before the meeting with Mahathir, Shaariibuu had lodged a report on the case at Dang Wangi police station urging the police to reopen the case and question Deputy Supt Musa Safri whom he named as a key witness.
Musa was a former aide-de-camp to Najib Razak, when he was deputy prime minister from 2004-2009. Musa was not called to testify at the trial of two policemen who were later found guilty of Altantuya’s murder in a forest in Subang in 2006.
Shaariibuu said in his report that he wanted the police to question one of the two accused policemen – Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar – to find out how and where they obtained the explosives that were reportedly used to blow up his daughter’s body.
In the police report, Setev said that during the trial of Azilah and Sirul, the prosecution had evidence that Musa had secured the attendance of Azilah and Sirul at the house of Abdul Razak Baginda on the night of Oct 19, 2006.
(Razak, a co-defendant, was acquitted without his defence being called. He was alleged to have been Altantuya’s lover and involved in the Malaysian government’s negotiations to purchase two Scorpene submarines for the navy.)
Shaariibuu said: “I believe that if not for Musa, Azilah and Sirul would not have come to Razak’s house that day and taken my daughter away, and she would very likely still be alive today.”
Testimony and evidence at the trial showed that Altantuya was taken to a forest near Subang and shot before her body was blown up.
Yesterday, Shaariibuu had said he wanted to know who ordered the murder of his daughter 12 years ago.
The Federal Court held that Musa’s testimony could not have helped in the defence of Azilah and Sirul, and that Musa’s testimony would only have been useful to Razak, to confirm evidence adduced from Altantuya’s cousin and friend that he had a relationship with her.
Azilah and Sirul were both found guilty of Altantuya’s murder and sentenced to death. Sirul left for Australia before the verdict by the Federal Court on appeal was handed down and is in detention at an immigration centre in Sydney.