Shah Alam High Court judge Datuk Mohd Zaki Md Yasin yesterday acquitted political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda of the charge of abetment in the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu on October 19, 2006 on the ground that no evidence was adduced by the prosecution to contradict or challenge the exculpatory parts of Razak’s affidavit in his earlier unsuccessful bail application.
The judge said: “In the absence of the rebuttal evidence against the statements, coupled with the fact that there is no legal onus for Razak to rebut any statutory presumptions, there is clearly no reason for the statements to be ignored and rejected”.
Most Malaysians are baffled by the very technical reason for the acquittal.
While it would not be right for anyone to prejudge the guilt or innocence of any person in the murder of Altantuya, the fact of the abominable and heinous murder of the Mongolian translator, shot twice in the head in a jungle clearing in Shah Alam and blown up with C4 explosives available only to the military, setting off political, diplomatic and international reverberations that have not subsided , is a fact that cannot be extinguished.
With the acquittal of Razak Baginda in the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, it is even more imperative that the Prime Minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Najib Razak should submit himself to a Royal Commission of Inquiry on all the allegations ranging from murder to corruption dogging and haunting him and Malaysia.
I reiterate my call during the debate on the 2009 Budget in Parliament for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate and clear Najib of all the allegations made against him so that he could take over as the sixth Prime Minster of Malaysia next March unencumbered by the weight of grave and serious allegations against him – whether locally or internationally.
Najib had all along pleaded innocence to all the allegations. He should all the more support the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry which can more credibly and authoritatively vindicate his innocence.
If Najib is still unprepared to agree to the establishment of a full-fledged Royal Commission of Inquiry to clear him of all the allegations ranging from murder to corruption haunting and hounding him, I would expect him to make a fulsome statement in Parliament on all these allegations when he speaks in the Dewan Rakyat for the first time as Finance Minister and Prime Minister-in-waiting on Tuesday (November 4) during the government reply on the 2009 Budget debate, when he is to announce the government strategy for the country for the global financial meltdown and the world’s worst economic crisis in 80 years.
Razak Baginda’s “exculpatory statements” -
- Even though I had appointed P. Balasubramaniam, the harassment by Altantuya against my family and I did not stop. Hence, I asked DSP Musa Safri for help. I know Musa from my business dealings at the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre, a non-profit organisation.
- I asked DSP Musa for help to install a police beat box at my house and increase patrols in the area. I also sought help to be introduced to a police officer from the Brickfields police station as my house was under their jurisdiction.
- DSP Musa told me that he would introduce me to an officer who would help me.
- On Oct 26, 2006, in a meeting with Balasubramaniam and Dhiren Norendra (a lawyer), Balasubramaniam advised me to lodge a report to deport the deceased (Altantuya) from Malaysia. Dhiren and I refused.
- On Oct 17, 2006, the deceased came to my house and wanted to meet me. I was not at home at that time, and my wife learnt of her visit.
- On the night of Oct 17, 2006, I was at home with my family and there was a commotion outside the house.
- I called DSP Musa’s handphone but I could not get through. So I called Balasubramaniam and Dhiren to help me. As a result, a police patrol car arrived to settle the matter. I did not lodge a police report and Dhiren never advised me to do so.
- DSP Musa later called me and said that a police officer would call me to help me sort out my problem with the deceased. According to DSP Musa, the officer who would be calling me was the Brickfields district Criminal Investigation Department chief.
- On the morning of Oct 18, 2006, Azilah Hadri called me and introduced himself as the police officer who was referred by DSP Musa to help me with the harassment by the deceased.
- I subsequently met with Azilah at my office. I told him that the deceased had caused a commotion at my house, and asked him to conduct patrols around my house. I gave him my house address, my father’s name, the deceased’s name, “Hotel Malaya”, and where she stayed, based on the information given to me by Balasubramaniam. I also told Azilah that I had engaged Balasubramaniam and gave him his name and number. Before he left my office, Azilah asked me to contact him if she harassed my family and me again.
- On Oct 19, 2006, Balasubramaniam called me and told me that there was a commotion outside my house. I was out with my family at that time to break fast. So I called Azilah for help.
- Balasubramaniam told me that three plainclothes police officers came to my house in an unmarked car to take the deceased away. I believed they had taken her to the police station for interrogation.
- On Oct 20, 2006, I went to the deputy prime minister’s office for official duties and bumped into DSP Musa. I asked him what happened the night before and DSP Musa told me Azilah did not tell him anything. Several days later, I asked DSP Musa about the deceased, but his answer remained the same.