Najib deals with more perception pitfalls

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — He may be months away from occupying the top job in Malaysia but Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is already having to answer questions about his four brothers — and their possible influence in his administration.

The cynics and the Opposition believe that his siblings will benefit from Najib’s ascension to power, drawing a bulls-eye on the back of CIMB’s Datuk Nazir Razak, one of the country’s top bankers.

In an interview with The Edge, Najib confronted this issue. He noted that Nazir joined CIMB well before he became the Deputy Prime Minister and had done well, judging by how the market viewed him.

“And yesterday, I read that he received the recognition of being the second best banker in Asia. So I think it speaks volumes for his performance in the bank… there’s no conflict of interest and most of the dealings of CIMB are with the Central Bank.
“So the Central Bank decides on a lot of matters, '' he said. Najib did not envisage a conflict of interest situation with his other brothers — Nizam, Nazim and Johari, pointing out, that “they’ve been quite scrupulous actually in terms of not wanting to put me in any embarrassing situation of potential conflict.”

But perception is everything in Malaysia and as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi found out, the involvement of family members in business can become a political liability.

As the pain of the 1998 financial crisis hit home and the political fallout over the sacking of Anwar Ibrahim became more serious, the involvement of Dr Mahathir’s children in business was put under the microscope by his foes.

Charges of cronyism and nepotism were tossed at him and it became one of the main platforms of attack which the Opposition used in the 1999 General Election. The heat persuaded Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir to sell off some business interests and take a lower profile.

Ironically, Dr Mahathir used this tactic successfully against Abdullah, accusing him of favouring his son, Kamaluddin and his son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin. The potency and source of the attack made it necessary for Abdullah to publicly defend his son and Khairy.

In The Edge interview, Najib was asked whether he was worried of attracting the perception that Dr Mahathir and Abdullah had because of the involvement of their sons and son-in-law in business. And how he would tackle such a perception?

He replied: “I have to make sure that none of my siblings come into the path of potential conflict of interest, and that they are where they are because they deserve to be there. In any case, none of them are in government. One is a lawyer, one is an architect, one is in semi-retirement and there’s one in CIMB.

“So I don’t see any problem with that and they were where they are now before I came to the job.”

Solid answer, now he just has to manage the perception.

ACA report lodged against Najib

Saturday, 25 October 2008 08:28

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 24 - The Pakatan Rakyat Youth wings today lodged a report at the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) headquarters here against Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for alleged involvement in the RM2.3 billion Eurocopter helicopter deal.

om left, Ahmad Sabki Yusuf,Anthony Loke and Shamsul Iskamdar Mohd Akin showing their research papers on the Eurocopter deal. - Picture by Choo Choy May

"We want them to open an investigation against Najib," said PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar who led the group which included DAP Youth secretary Anthony Loke and Pas Youth secretary Ahmad Sabki Yusuf.

The three representatives said they submitted several documents to assist the ACA, including a research paper over a similar purchase for the military helicopters by Brazil but for a significantly reduced sum.

Malaysia is reported to have signed a letter of intent to acquire 12 Eurocopter EC727 Cougar helicopters for a sum of RM2.3 billion while Brazil paid US$1.2 billion for 50 units of the same model.

The PR Youth want the ACA to mount an investigation over the price discrepancy in two Eurocopter deals as well as to investigate a letter of intent regarding another complaint letter purportedly sent by one Datuk Zahar Hashim, the chairman of Mentari Services Sdn Bhd which is the local representative for a Russian helicopter company.

In his letter, Zahar, a retired airforce captain, had claimed that Eurocopter had been awarded the contract to replace the ageing Nuri fleet even though it was the most expensive bid among the companies which tendered for the contract.

According to Loke, they were the first group to lodge an official complaint against the DPM over this particular matter even though the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Parliament had spoken about the issue recently.

"PAC is only a security filter with no investigative power. The most suitable body to undertake this investigation is the ACA," said Loke, who is also the MP for Rasah.

Shamsul added that the onus is now on ACA to take action.

"We told them to be proactive. There is no reason for the ACA not to open an investigation," he said.

Shamsul also called on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi to live up to his promise to implement his promised reforms, particularly in dealing with corruption, before he leaves office in March next year.

- The Malaysian Insider

Najib denies SMS, Eurocopter allegations

Tuesday, 14 October 2008 19:03
By Shannon Teoh

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 14 - Datuk Seri Najib Razak has denied any abuse of power in relation to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder investigations and the government's acquisition of 12 Eurocopter helicopters.

"Why do I need to comment? There is no abuse of power," the deputy prime minister said.

Malaysia Today carried a report detailing what it alleged was an exchange of text messages between Najib and Datuk Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda, the close associate of Najib who was eventually charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of Altantuya in 2006.

In one SMS, Najib allegedly tells the lawyer that Razak — his advisor — "will face a tentative charge but all is not lost".

Malaysia Today said this message raises some questions about Najib's role in the case. "Why did he mention "tentative" charge and that "all is not lost" for RB (Razak Baginda)? How would Najib know this before Razak was charged? These are important questions which will have ramifications, not just on this case but far beyond," a posting on the website said.

However, Najib would neither confirm nor deny that the supposed SMS exchange between him and Shafee were genuine.

"It doesn't really matter. The important thing is there is no abuse of power," he said.

"No need, no need, it is private. Whatever it is, the prime minister has said enough," he continued in the same tone.

"Why should it be of major concern? The important thing is if there is abuse of power and, if you read it carefully, there is no abuse of power, period," Najib reasoned .

On the issue of the RM2.3 billion Eurocopter deal claimed by the opposition to cost more than other tenders, he merely stated that a full explanation would be given in Parliament.

"Whatever the opposition said is not true," he said dismissively. "We will give you the facts later."

Defence argues Najib at the heart of RPK sedition trial

Raja Petra Kamarudin in good spirits outside the Sessions Court just before the trial. — Pic by Edward Cheah
By Debra Chong

PETALING JAYA, Feb 10 — The sedition trial of prominent anti-establishment blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin continued today at the Sessions Court here amid much drama — with the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s name often cropping up.

In his cross-examination of a key prosecution witness, defence lawyer Gobind Singh Deo, tried to establish that the sedition charge against the Malaysia Today editor was “politically motivated”, as he told reporters outside the courtroom later.

The cross-examination of Superintendant Gan Tack Guan lasted over three hours.

During that time, Gobind shot question after question over Gan’s failure, as the police officer who lodged the report against Raja Petra, to record the DPM’s statements despite being named in Raja Petra’s allegedly seditious article published in his website on April 25 last year.

Raja Petra — popularly known by his initials RPK — was charged with sedition last May for allegedly implying Najib was involved in the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman in an online article titled “Let’s Send the Altantuya Murderers To Hell”.

If convicted, he faces up to three years in prison or a fine not more than RM5,000 or both.

“Did you, at any point of time during the investigation of the Altantuya case, question Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak?” Gobind questioned while referencing Raja Petra’s article.

“No,” Gan replied.

“If you did not investigate Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, how do you know the content of the paragraph is untrue?” Gobind pressed.

“I got to know the facts from the investigating officer ASP Tonny Lunggan,” Gan answered, looking uncomfortable.

Assistant Superintendent Tonny Lunggan was the investigating police officer who headed the probe into the gruesome death of Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaaribuu, whose blown-up remains were discovered in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam near here close to three years ago.

Raja Petra, who is out on bail, attended today’s trial with his wife Marina Lee Abdullah and several supporters dressed in black “I Am With RPK” t-shirts.

He appeared amused at the interrogation tactics employed by Gobind and the resulting agitation showed by Gan, frequently turning around to smile at the public from his seat in the dock.

The trial will resume with Gan’s cross-examination on Thursday.

Malaysian High Court rejects move to summon DPM Najib to testify in court

SHAH ALAM : Malaysia's High Court has rejected a move to summon the country's Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Razak, to testify in court over the murder of a Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Altantuya's family counsel, Karpal Singh, had submitted the application, calling for Mr Najib and several others to take the stand.

In rejecting the application, High Court judge Mohd Zaki said lawyer Karpal, who is holding a watching brief for the victim's family, has no locus standi or is in no position to make the application. Only the parties involved, namely the prosecution and the defence, have the right to do so.

The judge also said that there is no evidence to suggest that recalling private investigator Balasubramaniam or summoning deputy premier Najib to testify is essential to a just decision of the case.

As such, he is disallowed a stay of the proceeding pending police investigation, as this will cause unnecessary delay since the private eye is missing and there is no telling when the police investigation will be completed.

Speaking outside the court, Karpal was disappointed with the court's decision.

"The court should recall Balasubramaniam, ... bring the man here as I want to question him (on) the status of his evidence. The judge should at least have done that," said Karpal.

He argued that the prosecution should be the one making the application to recall Balasubramaniam, who is a key prosecution witness, in light of the shocking sworn statement linking Mr Najib to the murdered mongolian model, although it was subsequently retracted.

Karpal said he may appeal against the court's decision.

Meanwhile, the family of Altantuya is said to be pessimistic over the prospect of a fair trial.

Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi, Mongolian Consul to Malaysia, said: "The parent expected all this. When I asked him (parent) if he was coming or not, (he said) he doesn't see light at the end of the tunnel, so what's the point of (him) coming."

Submission for the case has just started after the prosecution closed its case in a trial that has dragged on for over 120 days. It will take at least one to two weeks before the court decides whether the defence has a case to answer. - CNA /ls

Melissa Goh | Posted: 24 July 2008 0030

Najib: Saiful Came To See Me On Sodomy Case

July 03, 2008 23:20 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, July 3 (Bernama) -- Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak Thursday admitted having met Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan before because he (Mohd Saiful) wanted to reveal that he had been sodomised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat advisor Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib said that their meeting was the first between them and it took place at his (Najib's) residence several days before Mohd Saiful, who appeared to be highly traumatised, had made a police report on the sodomy allegation on Anwar.

"I received his (Mohd Saiful's) visit in my capacity as a leader and he as an ordinary citizen who wanted to tell me something... I don't know him before this," Najib told a press conference at his Parliament office here.

Mohd Saiful, 23, had made a police report at the police beat base at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on June 28 that he had been allegedly sodomised by Anwar at a condominium in Damansara on June 26.

When asked why the former aide to Anwar had come to him on the matter, Najib said that he did not know but assumed that the youth needed his help after Mohd Saiful said that he knew one of his (Najib's) officers.

Najib said Mohd Saiful had also come to his office to meet one of his officers to regarding a scholarship application but he (Najib) did not meet Mohd Saiful then.

The deputy prime minister also denied allegations that he had conspired against Anwar.

Asked whether he (Najib) believed that what was said by Mohd Saiful had basis or otherwise, Najib said initially he was also unsure that what had been said by Mohd Saiful was true or false.

"I wouldn't dare say... I thought he (Mohd Saiful) looked genuine because he was afraid. His hands were cold. But I am not brave enough to make a conclusion. I told him to make his own decision," he said.

Najib also denied that that he had advised Mohd Saiful to make a police report.

He said that during their meeting, Mohd Saiful had told everything that had happened to him.

When asked on what was told by Mohd Saiful, Najib smiled and said, "Oh, there were many stories, I might tell one day but after the court case."

Najib also said he was ready to give evidence if needed following his expose.

"Yes, I am ready. But what is there to ask? I merely heard his story. What is more important is the explanation from him, not from me," he said.


Malaysian Deputy Premier's Wife Allegedly Linked to Murder

Monday, 23 June 2008
An influential Malaysian Web journalist alleges that Najib Tun Razak's wife was present when the Mongolian translator was murdered in 2006

In an explosive statutory declaration to a Malaysian court, one of Malaysia’s most prominent web journalists has alleged that the wife of Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as well as a Malaysian Army officer and the officer’s wife were directly involved in the murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu on October 19, 2006, and that people at the very top of the Malaysian government are aware of the fact.

The declaration is by Raja Petra Kamaruddin, a well-connected journalist who edits the web publication Malaysia Today and is on trial for sedition charges stemming from a commentary on the case. There is no independent confirmation of Raja Petra’s allegations, and the declaration was ignored by Malaysia’s government-linked mainstream media. One Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer with connections to top United Malays National Organisation figures expressed doubt about it.

Nonetheless, the story adds considerable chaos to the country’s political mix. The Barisan Nasional, the national ruling coalition, is reeling from the loss of its two-thirds majority in March elections. Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, taking the brunt of criticism over the loss, has already promised to step down at some future date to cede the premiership to Najib. District UMNO elections are due in July and there are suspicions that the verdict in the Altantuya murder trial is being delayed until the elections are completed.

Raja Petra wrote that Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and Acting Colonel Aziz Buyong and his wife, Norhayati, Rosmah’s aide-de-camp, were present at the scene of the murder and that Aziz Buyong was the individual who placed C4 plastic explosive on Altantuya’s body and blew it up. Both Najib and his wife have repeatedly denied any involvement in the case although Kuala Lumpur has been buzzing for months with rumors of their complicity.

Shaariibuu was executed by two shots to the head and her body was blown up with military explosives in a patch of jungle near the suburban city of Shah Alam. One of Najib’s closest friends, Abdul Razak Baginda, once the influential head of a political think-tank, and two of Najib’s bodyguards, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar of the elite Unit Tindak Khas or Special Police Action Unit, are the subjects of a marathon murder trial that got underway more than a year ago.

Neither Najib nor his chief of staff, Musa Safri, has been questioned nor summoned to testify despite the fact that Baginda, in a sworn statement in November 2006, said he had contacted Musa for help in dealing with Altantuya, his jilted lover who was demanding money. That statement raised suspicions that all sides in the court – prosecution, defense and judiciary – are struggling to keep the case under wraps. The trial has been subject to numerous delays for reasons that are unclear while Altatuya's bones remain conspicuously displayed in urns in the courtroom.

Raja Petra himself is due to go on trial in October on sedition charges that were filed against him for writing an article titled “Let’s Send Altantuya’s Murderers to Hell.” In that piece, he accused Najib, his wife and others of complicity in the murder. He amplified the statement considerably in his statutory declaration, made last Wednesday, in which he also said that Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had seen a full report by military intelligence on the involvement of the deputy premier’s family. Badawi gave the intelligence report to his son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, for safekeeping, according to Raja Petra’s statement.

Raja Petra, a member of the Selangor royal family, also wrote that one of the country’s sultans had been given a full report on the matter. He didn’t identify the sultan, but if his statements are true it means that at least one member of royalty may be able to back up his declaration, which was not made under oath.

From the time Altantuya’s body was discovered, the case has raised dark questions about the possible involvement of top government figures. Others also believe that the 28-year-old mother of two may have been involved in a much bigger controversy than a jilted relationship. She made several trips to Kuala Lumpur to attempt to confront Abdul Razak, at one point standing in front of his house and screaming “Razak, bastard, come out!” The last time she was seen alive was again in front of his house, when she was bundled into a car and taken away.

She had accompanied Razakto France when he was involved in negotiating the purchase of two Scorpene submarines and a used Agosta submarine produced by the French government through a French-Spanish joint venture, Armaris, for the Malaysian defense ministry, which was headed by Najib as minister. The submarines were bought through a Kuala Lumpur-based company, Perimekar Sdn Bhd, which at the time was owned by yet another company, Ombak Laut, which was wholly owned by Abdul Razak Baginda.

The €1 billion (RM4.5 billion) contract to buy the submarines was non-competitive and netted Perimekar €114 million. Although Najib has sworn an oath to Allah that he had never met the woman, he was in France at the same time Abdul Razak, one of his best friends, was there, dealing with matters over the submarine. A cousin of Altantuya’s testified at the trial that she had seen a picture of Najib together with the dead woman, but she was quickly hushed up by both defense and prosecution lawyers about the matter and the picture has not been produced.

Altantuya acknowledged in a letter discovered after her death that she had been attemptng to blackmail Abdul Razak, presumably to keep his family from finding out about their relationship. But in his statement to the police, Baginda said he had already informed his family of the relationship; he said she was pressuring him for US$500,000. Her father, Setev Shaariibuu, a psychology professor in Ulan Bataar, has said she was killed because she “knew too much,” although he has never elaborated on that statement.

Given the close relationship between the two men, and that Najib was reported as presenting jackets made available by Perimekar to the submarine crews training in France, and that Altantuya was traveling with Baginda, it is difficult to understand why the court has not pursued the issue of whether they met.

It is also difficult to understand, given published reports, plus the fact that the accused Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar were members of Najib’s own bodyguard unit, that neither Najib nor Musa has been questioned about how the bodyguards came to be accused of Altantuya’s murder.

There have been many other discrepancies as well. Prosecutorial setbacks over the course of the trial have endangered the case. Sirul’s purported confession has been thrown out. The prosecution has attempted to impeach one of the prosecution’s star witnesses, Rohaniza Roslan, a 28-year-old policewoman and Azilah’s girlfriend. Rohaniza said she had seen the victim bundled into a red Proton car and taken away. Later, in court, she said she had been “tortured and coaxed” by police interrogators into signing that statement; she then offered the court a version of events that differed considerably from her initial account.

“The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor cannot remain silent on the latest bombshell,” wrote Lim Kit Siang, leader of the opposition Democratic Action Party. “The credibility and legitimacy of the Abdullah premiership and government will suffer a mortal blow if Abdullah, Najib and Rosmah remain silent on Raja Petra’s bombshell allegations.”

Shaariibuu Wants Police To Thoroughly Investigate Raja Petra's Allegation

KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 (Bernama) -- Dr Shaariibuu Setev, the father of murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, has asked the police to conduct a thorough investigation into an allegation by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin that the killing was linked to three other people.

Shaariibuu, 58, said the police should look seriously into the allegation by Raja Petra as it might provide them with fresh evidence.

"This is something serious and needs to be addressed immediately by the authorities. I only learnt about the new information from the newspapers.

"I place my trust on the Royal Malaysian Police and have strong belief in the Malaysian judicial system," he told a press conference here.

Shaariibuu, with the help of a translator, said that he would meet Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail Wednesday, to discuss whether the statutory declaration by Raja Petra could be produced as evidence in court.

He said the Mongolian government and its people had been following Altantuya’s murder trial from day one, and that they were hoping for a fair judgement.

Monday, the prosecution wrapped up its case in the Altantuya murder trial and will hear submissions on July 23.

It was reported in the media Monday, that police would be calling up Raja Petra to investigate his allegations in the statutory declaration.

In the declaration, Raja Petra claimed that three people were present at the scene during the murder of the Mongolian translator and part-time model in October 2006.

Unit Tindakan Khas (UTK) operatives Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar have been charged with killing Altantuya, 28, between 10pm on Oct 19 and 1am on Oct 20, two years ago in Mukim Bukit Raja, Shah Alam.

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda is accused of abetting them.


Bribery and Other Allegations

1987 Kampung Baru rally
In the midst of UMNO's internal crisis in 1987, a rally by UMNO Youth led by Najib was held in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur. Anti-Chinese sentiments were expressed openly during the rally with placard carrying slogans like "May 13 has begun" and Najib purportedly declared to the crowd to "Soak the keris in Chinese blood". The keris is a traditional Malay weapon that is often used as a symbol for Malay nationalism. This precipitated existing ethnic tensions leading to fears of a repeat of inter-ethnic violence and eventually resulted in a security operation known as Operasi Lalang, where administrative detentions were made on hundreds of individuals.

UMNO was also declared illegal in early 1988, allowing then Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to consolidate his power with the establishment of a new party that assumed the name of the previously banned UMNO. The newly formed party excluded those who had previously challenged Mahathir's authority within the party.

The National Service

Najib in his capacity as the Defence Minister of MalaysiaThe Malaysian National Service, the creative brainchild of Najib Razak, has been beset by problems since its inception. As of May 2008, there have unfortunately been 16 deaths in the Malaysian National Service.[4] Earlier in 2007, when queried by the press on these deaths, Najib was quoted as saying that the 14 children have died at their homes during NS holidays except for 2 who died from drowning, in an attempt to placate worried Malaysian parents. When recently pressured by more calls to suspend the program due to the deaths, Najib responded that it was not feasible to stop the program since the benefits of the program outweighs the disadvantages. It was reported that 9 out of 89 camps in Malaysia will be closed in 2009 after these camps were found to have failed hygiene standards and the camp infrastructure was not properly maintained.

Eurocopter Deal
Malaysia Today posted an article entitled "Eurocopter" featuring a letter purportedly from a corrupted businessman Datuk Zahar Hashim, the chairman of Mentari Services Sdn Bhd, the local representatives for a Russian helicopter who lost his bid through international tender with a series of allegations. The letter alleges irregularities in the recent award to Eurocopter for the supply of 12 new aircraft to replace the ageing Sikorsky S-61A-4 "Nuri" fleet of the Royal Malaysian Air Force. The letter claims the award was given to Eurocopter even though it was the most expensive of all the companies which submitted tenders. It was claimed that Eurocopter's bid was more than RM1.4 billion over that of the lowest bidder and that there was no proper evaluation done by the Defense Ministry. A purported Letter of Intent was signed by a mid-ranking officer in the ministry (which was later exposed as unfounded) just two days before Najib switched portfolios and moved from the Defense Ministry to the Finance Ministry. Datuk Zahar has since faced a tribunal of judges and was expelled form his party UMNO. He has since joined the Pan Islamic Party (PAS). He is now under investigation for misappropriation and abuse of party funds when he was in UMNO. Among the allegations was that he registered the party building wih party funds under his personal name.

On 24 October, 2008 the opposition Pakatan Rakyat Youth wings lodged a report at the Anti-Corruption Agency against Najib Razak for alleged involvement in the RM2.3 billion Eurocopter helicopter deal. They submitted alleged evidence which showed that Malaysia was reported to have signed a letter of intent to acquire 12 Eurocopter EC 727 Cougar helicopters for a sum of RM2.3 billion while Brazil paid US$1.2 billion for 50 units of the same model which was found to be of a much lower specifications.

Scorpene Submarines and Sukhoi Fighters deal
The Malaysian opposition has also accused Najib of involvement in the alleged payment of large commissions to close associates for the purchases of two Scorpene submarines and 18 Sukhoi fighter jets. Sekretariat Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) recently lodged a police report with allegations tying Najib Razak for corruption and the ongoing trial of Razak Baginda of the murder of Altantuya, who were one of the alleged beneficiaries of the large commissions.

Declaration regarding Malaysia as an Islamic state
In keeping in line with popular strategy of politicizing racial and religious issues, Najib declared on August 2007 that Malaysia has "never been secular because being secular by Western definition means separation of the Islamic principles of in the way we govern the country." Najib's comments subsequently sparked a heated public debate which in turn, roped in other organisations–also split over opinions–to make differing statements on Malaysia's position as an Islamic or Secular state.The Opposition member PAS of the Pakatan Rakyat coalition supported this by demanding an immediate implementation of Hudud laws and separating males with females and muslims from non Muslims at public places.

Murder of Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa

Najib's officer, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was involved in a high-profile murder case of a Mongolian woman, was subsequently acquitted without calling for defence due to comprehensive lack of a prima facae case, as pronounced by the High Court, which indicated dark forces at work within UMNO in undermining Najib's reputation, Altantuya Shaaribuu.

Raja Petra's Statutory Declaration
In a statutory declaration in his sedition trial in June 2008, Raja Petra accused Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (Najib's wife) of being one of three individuals who was present at the crime scene when Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered on Oct 19, 2006, adding Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, and Acting Colonel Aziz Buyong and his wife, Norhayati, Rosmah's purported aide-de-camp, were present at the scene of the murder; Raja further wrote Aziz Buyong whose expertise was giving army housing loans was the individual who placed C4 plastic explosive on Altantuya's body and blew it up.

Shaariibuu Setev, the father of murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, has asked the police to conduct a thorough investigation into an allegation by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin. He said the police should look seriously into the allegation by Raja Petra as it might provide them with fresh evidence. In retaliation, the two people named in Raja Petra Kamarudin’s statutory declaration on June 18, Lt-Col Aziz Buyong and his wife Lt-Col Norhayati Hassan, as having been present at the murder scene of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu are suing the Malaysia Today editor for defamation. Aziz is seeking an apology from Raja Petra to be published in certain websites and newspapers, the removal of the statutory declaration from his blog and damages of RM1 million.

Alleged Interference in the Investigation and Trial
Raja Petra's website Malaysia Today carried a report detailing allegations on an exchange of text messages between Najib and Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda before he was charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of the Altantunya. The SMSes, which went on from 8 November to 2 December 2006, raise some questions over the handling of the murder case and suggests that Najib took a strong interest in the investigation from the beginning and might have interfered in the trial proceedings. Raja Petra’s counsel, J. Chandra, later insinuated that the article titled ‘Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell’ on April 25 under Raja Petra’s byline was posted without his consent or knowledge.

The Raja Petra's Sedition Trial

In the cross-examination of Superintendent Gan Tack Guan, Raja Petra's defence lawyer shot question after question over Gan’s failure, as the police officer who lodged the report against Raja Petra, to record Najib’s statement despite being named in Raja Petra’s allegedly seditious article published in his website on April 25 last year

Balasubramaniam's Statutory Declaration
Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal, a private investigator hired by Abdul Razak, testified in a statutory declaration that Abdul Razak had told him that Najib had had annal sexual relationships with Altantuya and her father, introduced her to Abdul Razak in Singapore at a time Najib was on official duty elsewhere, and made arrangements to protect Abdul Razak from the murder trial. All mention of Najib's involvement had been removed from Balasubramaniam's testimony after he was intimidated by police and not brought up in the murder trial . Following the police interrogation, Balasubramaniam made a retraction of the statutory declaration that he made on July 1 and replaced it with one that erased all traces of allegations with references to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder.

His lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu said he was not able to get in touch with Bala despite repeated phone calls. The Malaysian police said on Sunday 6 July that they have asked Interpol to help find the private investigator who has been reported missing since making explosive claims linking the deputy premier to a murder. Bala's nephew has filed a missing person's report, saying the investigator and his family had disappeared. It was discovered on July 10 that Balasubramaniam's house in Taman Pelangi here has been broken into but police have yet to ascertain whether anything was stolen. Balasubramaniam is said to have taken refuge in a neighbouring country with his wife and children.

French Newspaper Liberation
French newspaper Liberation claimed that Najib Razak had indeed met with Altantuya, who was the mistress of Abdul Razak Baginda, his close aide and associate, in Paris in 2005. It mentioned that a photograph was allegedly taken showing the three in a Paris nightclub. The Liberation also suggested that Abdul Razak had been Najib’s intermediary for arms purchases. In October 2006, the newspaper claims that Altantuya was informed that the commission paid by Armaris, a Spanish company involved in Malaysia’s acquisition of three submarines for one billion euros (RM4.7 billion), had been deposited in a bank account in Malaysia. The commission of 114 million euros was allegedly paid into the account of Perimekar, a company Razak controlled. Altantuya then allegedly flew to Kuala Lumpur to demand her share of the commission, which was to have been US$500,000.

Alleged Destruction of Evidence
After the murder of Altantuya, Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman Alhabshi the honorary consul of Mongolia in Malaysia contacted Shaaribuu Setev, her father. When Datuk Said asked Shaaribuu for all documents, especially pictures, notebooks, films, computer files that could help with the murder investigation, Shaaribuu did not hesitate. He gave Alhabshi everything he had found in his daughter appartment in Ulan Bator. Alhabshi kept the documents for himself, not giving them to the court in Malaysia. “We thought he was working for us, but actually he is working for the malaysian side”, says Shaaribuu with bitterness. Altantuya’s father then asked the Mongolian foreign ministry to dismiss Datuk Said from his position as an honorary consul. The ministry then summoned the diplomat in Ulan Bator to ask him to explain his behaviour. To justify his attitude, Datuk Said has said to Shaaribuu “Given my high position within Umno, it is not possible for me to oppose Najib Razak”.

Murder trial
On July 22, 2008, in light of the new declarations lawyer Karpal Singh filed a notice of motion to call Najib and three others to testify in the trial for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu. Karpal who holds a watching brief for Altantuya's family, also sought to recall private detective P. Balasubramaniam who was the first prosecution witness in the trial. Karpal also wanted all proceedings with regard to the trial to be postponed pending the disposal of his application. On 23 July 2008 the High Court rejected a petition by lawyer Karpal Singh to obtain testimony from Najib, dealing a blow to the opposition's efforts to link Najib to the 2006 killing of translator Altantuya Shaariibuu. In rejecting the application, High Court judge Mohd Zaki said Karpal, who is holding a watching brief for victim Altantuya's family, has no locus standi or is in no position to make the application. He mentioned only the parties involved, namely the prosecution and the defense, have the right to do so.

Even behind bars under ISA detention, Raja Petra's website Malaysia Today carried a report detailing allegations on an exchange of text messages between Najib and Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda before he was charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of the Altantunya. The SMSes, which went on from 8 November to 2 December, 2006 raises some questions over the handling of the murder case which reads like a John Le Carre thriller and suggests that Najib took a strong interest in the investigation from the beginning, an irony within the Malaysian context that begs to question how do the likes of Raja Petra ( now released!) and the civil societies get their powers from, unless some invisible hand assisting from the corridors within the government itself v. A police report was made against Najib by “Sekretariat Anak Muda Malaysia” (SAMM) in relation to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case, calling for the police to reopen the investigation papers on the murder of the Mongolian and investigate their allegation that Najib misused his power and postion in the case.

On 31 October 2008, High Court Justice Zaki Yasin acquitted Razak of abetting in the murder of Altantuya. Dr Shaariibuu Setev, Altantuya's fathers had instructed lawyer Karpal Singh, who held a watching brief during the trial to apply for a review. On 24 December, Karpal Singh filed an application at the High Court here on Wednesday to quash the Attorney General’s decision not to appeal Abdul Razak Baginda’s acquittal. He said the application for leave was necessary since the 14 day period to file for an appeal by the Attorney General against the Oct 31 acquittal had expired on 14 November. Najib Razak who will become prime minister after the Umno party polls in March, will want to put to rest any links to the murder trial as he seeks to rebuild and strengthen his Barisan Nasional coalition.

Religiosity issues
On 22 August 2008, Najib publicly swore according to Islam at Masjid Jamek Guar Perahu that he never knew murdered Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, nor had anything to do with her. The deputy prime minister said: "Even though this is not an official oath on the Quran: Wallahi, Wabillahi, Watallahi, I never knew nor had anything to do with the Mongolian woman Altantuya." Raja Petra, who has never exercised his democratic rights again vowed to deny Najib a chance to be Prime Minister, put up the sworn statement on this Malaysia Today website by Thagarajoo Thangavelu who claimed to be a driver for businessman Datuk Kenneth Eswaran and formerly for politician Datuk K.S. Nallakaruppan in a posting titled "Najib: Muslim by birth, Hindu by practice". In the statutory declaration dated Aug 22 and made in Kuala Lumpur, Thagarajoo claimed Eswaran was a close friend of Najib and had brought a Hindu priest from Kerala named Mr. Ji to perform rituals regularly at the deputy prime minister's private residence in Jalan Duta and also at the official residence in Putrajaya. He also claimed that the priest had performed similar rituals before the 2007 Ijok by-election to ensure Barisan Nasional's victory and also to prevent Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from marrying Jeanne Abdullah.

Conspiracy against Anwar Ibrahim

On 30 June 2008, Najib denied any personal involvement in the alleged political conspiracy against former deputy premier Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, including a police report alleging Anwar committed sodomy against his former aide. He said the picture of his aide Khairil Anas Yusof with the alleged sodomy victim Saiful Bukhari Azlan at his office had been taken three months ago when the latter, in his capacity as a student leader, came to his office to seek a scholarship. However, on 1 July 2008, Najib mentioned that he met Saiful at his residence a few days before the Saiful made the police report on Anwar. Najib also said that Saiful sought to meet Najid to reveal that he had been sodomised by Anwar. Raja Petra contended that a friend had accompanied Saiful to a meeting with Najib before charges against Anwar were made public, implying that the new charges against Anwar had been trumped up.

It was alleged by Federal Territory Mosque PKR member imam Ramlang Porigi that Najib's special officer Assoc Prof Khairil Annas Jusoh asked him to witness the oath-taking at the mosque on 15 August 2008 by Saiful that Anwar sodomised him.Prof Khairil Anns is suing him for defamation. Ramlang was the witness at the Federal Territory Mosque in Jalan Duta on August 15 when Mohd Saiful Bukhari took an oath to demonstrate he was telling the truth when he accused Anwar of having sodomised him. Ramlang Porigi said that Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan’s Quranic oath or “sumpah muhabalah” was technically wrong. “I was only there as a witness, to listen in,” he elaborated, noting that Saiful made two errors while reciting the oath.

The first was when he mispronounced the word for God and Ramlang had to correct him; and the second when he confused the date of the alleged sodomy incident and corrected himself. It was supposed to have happened on June 26, but Saiful slipped and said Aug 26 instead. Ramlang described that Saiful looked far from regretful or fearful, for someone who had just uttered dreadful words that essentially asked God to rain down his just vengeance on him and his descendants if he lied. Ramlang reiterated that he had only been given the role of witness to play that day because he had been ordered to do so by his superiors. He mentioned that as a simple government servant, he had to follow orders.

Conflict of interest
As Najib is months away from occupying the top job in Malaysia, he has begun to answer his four brothers's possible influence in his incoming administration. His brothers Nizam, Nazim, Johari and especially his brother Nazir, who is the group chief executive of CIMB, have benefited business-wise during Najib's political career, signifying a conflict of interest.

Election Campaigning
During the Kuala Terengganu by-election on January 17, 2009 Najib who was in charge of the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition's election campaign tried to spend its way to victory. It was stated that he handed out a ridiculous RM10.5 billion to voters. That works out at nearly RM131,250 for each voter in the seaside electorate, which included the establishment of a billion ringgit trust to manage the state's oil revenue and the well-timed handover of millions in petroleum royalties. Barisan Nasional eventually lost the election.

Allegations of Bribing Elected Officials to crossover to Barisan Nasional
Ipoh Barat PKR division head Fauzi Muda, in his statutory declaration made before Commissioner of Oaths Yong Yoke Thye, claimed that he had received an offer of RM50 million from the BN to bring in at least two Perak State Assemblymen, to join Umno or become an Independent. Fauzi who has been convicted twice for perjury and false representation before also claimed that he was recently offered RM50 million for himself, RM 50 million to Anwar Ibrahim and another RM5 million each to the two Perak State Executive Councillors, PKR Assemblyman for Changkat Jering, Mohd Osman Jailu, and the PKR Assemblyman for Behrang, Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi, to defect.

In this statutory declaration he claimed that BN purportedly promised that the corruption charges on the two Assemblymen, where they were charged with accepting bribes to obtain an approval for a housing project worth RM180 million at Sri Iskandar, Perak Tengah, would be dropped if they defected. The statutory declaration pointed to Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin, who has been working for Najib Razak as the person who tried to bribe the elected officials.

The statutory declaration also revealed that Fauzi had a face-to-face meeting with Najib on 11 March 2008, during which Najib made him the offer of RM50 million to entice Perak state assemblypersons to leave the Pakatan Rakyat state government. The Malaysian police has begun investigations after UMNO lodged a poliece report and if initial findings reveal that Fauzi has been lying and he will be picked up soon for criminal defamation.

Altantuya allegations flare up again for Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — For Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his alleged links with the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder trial just will not go away.

Today, influential blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin put up on his website a police cautioned statement from Sirul Azhar Umar, who is a co-accused in the murder trial of the Mongolian woman, detailing how he and co-accused Azilah Hadri were expecting to be paid between RM50,000 and RM100,000 to “settle” the matter.

On the same day, French newspaper Liberation also published a story detailing grisly details of how Altantuya was allegedly killed.

According to the “cautioned statement” published by Raja Petra, Sirul claims Azilah told him of a payment of between RM50,000 and RM100,000.

But it is the article in the French newspaper which is particularly damaging to Najib’s image, and which will not be welcome as he prepares to take over the leadership of Umno and become Malaysia’s sixth prime minister at the end of the month.

The article in the Liberation details how Altantuya allegedly begged for her life before she was shot.

According to Liberation, Altantuya was allegedly shot on the left side of her face, and a second time when her assailants noticed her hand was still moving.

The newspaper says it obtained the information from a “cautioned statement” which had been leaked to its writer.

Altantuya was eventually stripped of her clothes, and explosives were placed on different parts of her body. Her assailants then allegedly set off the explosives.

But these were not the parts of the article which were particularly damaging to Najib.

The newspaper claims that Najib had indeed met with Altantuya, who was the mistress of Abdul Razak Baginda, his close aide and associate, in Paris in 2005.

A photograph was allegedly taken showing the three in a Paris nightclub, the Liberation said without providing any evidence.

The Liberation also suggested that Abdul Razak had been Najib’s intermediary for arms purchases.

In October 2006, the newspaper claims that Altantuya was informed that the commission paid by Armaris, a Spanish company involved in Malaysia’s acquisition of three submarines for one billion euros (RM4.7 billion), had been deposited in a bank account in Malaysia.

The commission of 114 million euros was allegedly paid into the account of Perimekar, a company Razak controlled.

Altantuya then allegedly flew to Kuala Lumpur to demand her share of the commission, which was to have been US$500,000.

The Liberation provided no documentary evidence of the sensational details.

But the resurfacing of these links with the Altantuya murder appears designed to embarrass Najib.

Najib has consistently denied any involvement in the murder and has also said he had never met the woman.

But the issue just will not go away, and has been used by rivals to damage his credibility and has proven to be a significant liability for the ruling Barisan Nasional government.

The Shah Alam High Court is set to deliver its verdict on Azilah and Sirul on April 9.
By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor