No sleepless nights for Najib after Sirul’s release from Aussie detention: Shafee

Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak lawyer, rubbishes any claims that his client had anything to do with Altantuya Shaariibuu’s murder, despite knowing some of those involved in the case.

(Scoop) – Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will not be losing any sleep over Malaysian ex-Special Action Unit officer Sirul Azhar Umar’s recent release from Australian detention, said his legal representative.

Sirul had fled to Australia to evade the death penalty in connection to the 2006 high-profile murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

According to Najib’s lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, the former prime minister, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence over graft convictions, has “no cause for concern” regarding Sirul’s release.

“(Najib) will not be having any sleepless nights over Sirul’s release,” Shafee told Scoop when contacted today.

“(Najib’s) purported involvement (in the Altantuya case) was not even mentioned by any of the three persons (charged for causing or abetting Altantuya’s death), nor by the prosecution, during the trial and the appeal process.

“In Sirul’s case, he has repeatedly said that (Najib) wasn’t involved (in Altantuya’s death). There’s even a video recording of him (Sirul) swearing on the Quran that (Najib) wasn’t involved.”

Shafee also rubbished a statutory declaration from Azilah Hadri, another Special Action Unit officer who received the death penalty alongside Sirul for Altantuya’s murder.

Azilah alleged that he and Sirul received a “shoot to kill” directive from Najib

In the declaration submitted as part of his application to review the Federal Court’s 2015 decision to uphold the guilty verdict on the two former policemen, Azilah alleged that he and Sirul had received a “shoot to kill” directive from Najib, who was deputy prime minister at that time.

“Out of desperation as he (Azilah) faced the death penalty, he tried to implicate (Najib) by way of the statutory declaration, but the Federal Court threw it out.

“Why would he (Azilah) only mention (Najib) in his statutory declaration years after the trial ended and not during the trial itself?” Shafee questioned.

Azilah is currently a death row prisoner in Kajang Prison, the same prison complex which houses Najib.

Sirul and Azilah Hadri were found guilty by the High Court here in 2009 for shooting and blowing up Altantuya, who was described as an interpreter, with military-grade explosives.

In 2013, the duo succeeded in overturning their conviction at the appellate court after a three-member panel, which included the current Chief Justice Tun Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, found the conviction to be “unsafe”.

However, the Federal Court in 2015 restored their conviction and sentenced them to death.

Prior to the apex court’s ruling, Sirul had fled to Australia, where he stayed under the custody of Australian authorities at Sydney’s Villawood immigration detention centre until his release.

Meanwhile, Shafee also said that Najib’s close associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged with abetting Altantuya’s murder, has nothing to do with Najib “in terms of the Altantuya matter.”

“Razak has since been acquitted (for abetting Altantuya’s murder), but if he was found to be guilty, then it’s his (Razak’s) and the two police officers’ problem. It has nothing to do with (Najib).

“He (Razak) just happened to be Najib’s speech writer, that’s all. In fact, it was (Razak) that had an affair with Altantuyaa while Najib has never met her in his whole life,” Shafee added, reiterating claims previously issued by Najib.

Shafee also highlighted Najib’s suit against former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas and publishing company GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise Sdn Bhd over defamatory statements published in Thomas’s book ‘My Story: Justice in the Wilderness’ concerning the Altantuya murder.

In his statement of claim filed in 2021, Najib said that the defamatory statements implied that he had ordered Azilah and Sirul to kill Altantuya and had confused the public over the murder to cover his tracks.

During a bail hearing in 2007, before he was acquitted the following year without his defence being called, Razak admitted to having a seven-month affair with Altantuya, who he claimed attempted to blackmail him after he ended the relationship.

The Altantuya murder case has previously been linked to a shady 2002 RM4 billion deal for two French Scorpene submarines, in which Altantuya acted as a translator while Razak was implicated for allegedly receiving kickbacks.

In 2007, Altantuya’s father, Shaariibuu Setev, and his family filed an RM100 million civil suit against Azilah, Sirul, Razak, and the Malaysian government.

During the hearing for the suit last year, Tonny Anak Lunggan, the investigating officer of the murder, testified in court that a police report lodged by Altantuya on the same day she went missing stated that “if something were to happen to her, they should look for Razak Baginda.”

On December 16 of last year, the Shah Alam High Court allowed the suit and ordered all four respondents to jointly pay RM5 million in general, aggravated and exemplary damages to the family.

Altantuya’s family has since appealed for a higher compensation than the RM5 million awarded by the high court.