Al Jazeera's Exclusive Story About Altantuya's Murder Introduces A New Alleged Killer
Ex-IGP Musa Hassan regrets releasing PM Najib Razak's aide, Abdul Razak Baginda
The likely motive for the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu was to get rid of a blackmailer, former Inspector General of Police Musa Hassan said today.
He indicated at a press conference that he disagreed with the court decision to acquit Najib aide Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with abetting in the murder.
“Unfortunately Razak Baginda was released,” he said. “People have asked what was his motive to kill her. If you want to ask about the motive, the victim herself had lodged a police report on why she was blackmailing him. Now that’s the motive.
He described Al Jazeera’s speculations as “pure fiction” and asserted that Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was Deputy Prime Minister at the time, had nothing to do with the murder.
11 SEPT: Al Jazeera has revived the tale of Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder by publishing a 26-minute video that investigates the case in great details
The episode of Al Jazeera’s “101 East” series largely revisits already established details of the murder and does not appear to include new information of note, but features dramatic re-enactments of key moments of the case including the murder to the Mongolian by two former police commandos.
Despite reproducing existing information, the programme does introduce a new alleged killer in the convoluted murder saga: Razak Baginda, Altantuya’s former lover and ex-aide to Datuk Seri Najib Razak when the latter was still deputy prime minister.
This allegation came from a purported Australian “relative” of Sirul Azhar Umar, one of two police commandos convicted of Altantuya’s murder
The relative spoke of his conversation with Sirul about the night of Altantuya’s murder. “I said, ‘Did you pull the trigger, like did you?” he recalled.
“I said to him (Sirul)... you had a choice, you had a choice of walking away from the situation and leaving it alone.
He said, ‘I would have been dead’, cause of what he knew.”
Christened as “Frank” by Jolley, the person goes on to claim that Sirul told him that Razak was the person who shot and killed Altantuya in 2006.
Razak declined to be interviewed, but rubbished Sirul’s claims as recounted by “Frank”.
"Frank" also revealed two mobile phones, which allegedly belongs to Sirul, that shows that Sirul demanded AUD17 million in an attempt to blackmail PM Najib Razak
The text messages retrieved by Al Jazeera from the mobile phone of Sirul Azhar Umar, the man convicted of the killing, show that the convicted bodyguard was blackmailing Prime Minister Najib Razak for millions of dollars to stay in Australia and “say nothing” about the case just before he was re-arrested.
This way, said Sirul, “I won’t bring down the PM”!
Tellingly, the response from Najib’s alleged intermediary, Abdul Salam bin Ahmad, was that Sirul’s demand for a total of AUD17 million was “being discussed”.
Salam has regularly visited Sirul, who is being held at the Villawood detention centre in Sydney and is believed to be involved in funding his legal team in Australia.
It was also revealed that the journalist who produced the video was deported by Malaysian authorities on 14 June
The current affairs programme 101 East showed Australian journalist Mary Ann Jolley being escorted by officers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“I’m being escorted by about 5 customs agents and a man in a military outfit, so I’m about to board my flight to Sydney. Clearly I hit a raw nerve," Jolley said in the programme as she walks to board her flight to Sydney.
A statement by Al Jazeera said the Home Ministry deported her as her activity had a "potential negative effect on the image of Malaysia".
The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has released an official response, reiterating that the 'PM does not know Altantuya'
“Prime Minister Najib Razak did not know, has never met, has never had any communication with and has no link whatsoever with the deceased.”
“The two convicted individuals were not the Prime Minister’s personal guards. This allegation is intentionally misleading, and has been used to perpetuate baseless conspiracy theories.
“They were members of a unit of the Royal Malaysian Police that provides rotating security for government officials and visiting dignitaries. The prime minister was not aware of the actions of the individuals until their arrest,” says the statement released by the PMO today and posted on the Al Jazeera website.
PMO also said that thorough legal process had taken place, and "such malicious allegations are therefore also an affront to Malaysia’s judiciary"
Comprehensive legal process has taken place, including police investigations and court trials, including at Malaysia's High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court.
The guilty parties have been convicted and sentenced. At no point during any of these legal stages was the Prime Minister implicated, even indirectly.
These malicious allegations are therefore also an affront to Malaysia’s Judiciary.
The statement concluded that the allegations are "baseless smears for political gain"
The statement also said that Altantuya was never involved in the purchase of submarines for the Royal Malaysian Navy, as has been alleged, and that the purchase was directly negotiated between the Malaysian and French governments.
“The reality is that there was absolutely no wrongdoing on the Prime Minister's part in the Government's purchase of the submarines. Absolutely no payments ever benefited him. Again, these are baseless smears for political gain."
Earlier this year, Sirul fled to Australia to seek for refuge after the court reversed his acquittal for the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu: