Najib under fire in Malaysia and Europe over Altantuya commission and murder case-versi inggeris

It would be taboo to shame the incoming prime minister, even though he may shame the nation

By Wong Choon Mei

A sensational report published by the well-respected French newspaper Liberation has got Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak sweating, after it revealed details of how a beautiful Mongolian translator, Altantuya Shaariibuu, was killed in Malaysia two years ago.

Already, lawmakers in Parliament are questioning whether Malaysia should be led by the scandal-plagued Najib, who has been dogged by allegations of graft throughout his 33-year career and lately - of being involved in the ruthless and gruesome murder of Altantuya, whom many believe was his one-time mistress.

Although, the 55-year old has repeatedly denied the allegations, the speculation and the stories have refused to go away. To a large extent, Najib has himself and the Umno system to which he was born to blame.

In power since independence from British rule in 1957, Malaysia’s Umno-led government makes no bones about abusing and bullying federal institutions into carrying out the political will of its leaders. Unsurprisingly then that its credibility and those of its leaders, such as Najib, have plummeted to ground zero.

In Parliament today, Machang MP Saifuddin Nasution read out an excerpt of the Liberation report, which recounted how the pregnant Altantuya had begged for her life before she was shot in the left side of her face.

Noone - whether in august House or elsewhere in the nation - was surprised when Deputy Speaker Ronald Kiandee refused to let him continue with what could turn out to be a sizzling string of embarrassing questions. It would be taboo to shame the incoming prime minister, even though he may shame the nation!

Yet, apart from saving face, aside from politics, is there anyone who remembers that whatever her role, Altantuya was a human being whose life was wrenched from her against her will.

So perhaps, this is also why public interest has stuck stubbornly on the case. Despite the hot headlines, there are just too many unanswered questions over who conspired in her killing, not least why she should be denied the justice of having those guilty brought to the dock and punished.

Making the headlines in Europe

In the Liberation article, journalist Arnaud Dubus revealed details from a cautioned statement obtained from Malaysian police sources. According to the statement, Dubus said how her killers denied her pleas for mercy and shot her first in the face, and then again, when they noticed her hand was still moving.

Malaysia’s own controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin has since posted on his blog a cautioned statement from Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who together with his colleague Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, are standing trial for Altantuya’s killing.

According to the Liberation, the slim and doe-eyed Mongolian beauty was also stripped of her clothes, before explosives were wrapped around her legs, her abdomen and her head and then set off.

Dubus also reported that Najib met Altantuya together with his close aide Razak Baginda in Paris in 2005. A photograph was also taken showing the three in a Paris nightclub, the Liberation article said.

Interestingly, a private investigator in Malaysia also involved in the case had previously disclosed that the 28-year old Altantuya was Najib’s mistress before he passed her onto Razak Baginda.

The Liberation also suggested that Razak was Najib’s intermediary for arms purchases. When Altantuya found out in October 2006 that Armaris, the sprawling Europeans arms maker, had paid out the commission for Malaysia’s one billion euros (RM4.7 billion) purchase of three submarines, she flew over immediately.

The commission was allegedly paid into the account of a Razak-controlled company Perimekar and amounted to 114 million euros. Altantuya’s share was US$500,000.

But according to the Liberation, a jealous Rosmah Mansor - Najib’s wife - refused to give her a cent. And this is why she kept pestering Razak Baginda, until her own life was taken.

Meanwhile, Azilah and Sirul, assigned to act as bodyguards for top politicians and their families including Rosmah, will know their fate on April 9, when the court delivers its verdict.

Razak Baginda has of course been acquitted and discharged without his defence being called!

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