LETTER | New Malaysia promises, among many things, justice and fairness for all.
Thus, it is important that when so-called "evidence" is presented against or for anyone under legal charge in Malaysia, these must be ascertained, diligently scrutinised and verified.
In your news article titled 'Defence grills Altantuya's cousin if 'photo with Najib' exists', Burmaa Oyunchimeg, the cousin of the slain Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu and a witness in the RM100 million civil suit brought by Altantuya's family over her death, testified under oath that she saw the photographs of Altantuya with two men - Abdul Razak Baginda and the "deputy prime minister" named Razak.
On her testimony, I would like to draw your attention to a Malaysiakini article on the Altantuyaa case published 12 years ago, specifically on June 29, 2007.
In 2007 in the Shah Alam High Court, when Burmaa was asked by deputy public prosecutor Manoj Kurup whether she had personal knowledge of Altantuyaa's disappearance, she answered she knew Altantuyaa came to see Razak who happened to be the only person she knew in Malaysia.
Note her "original" testimony - Altantuyaa came to see Razak, presumably Razak Baginda, the only person she knew in Malaysia.
Burmaa said: "I know why she wanted to see Razak Baginda - I have seen pictures of Altantuya with Razak and a government official."
Note again her "original" testimony - that besides Razak Baginda who was then the only person Altantuyaa knew in Malaysia, there was a "government official".
Following that, our late Karpal Singh, who was holding a watching brief for the deceased's family, sought permission from the court to pose a question on the photograph allegedly of Altantuyaa with Razak Baginda and the government official.
Very much against the protest of Manoj, Judge Mohammed Zaki Mohammed Yasin allowed Karpal to question Burmaa about the alleged picture. The veteran lawyer proceeded to ask Burmaa what was depicted in the photograph.
Burmaa said again, "She (Altantuya) was having a meal at a round table with Razak (Baginda), a Malaysian government official and other people."
Karpal then asked her on the identity of the government official, and she replied: "I remember the name Najib Razak, they had the same name, 'Razak'. I thought they were brothers. I asked her (Altantuya) if they were brothers."
Subsequent to a brouhaha which ensued, a lawyer for one of the accused policemen accused Karpal of "coaching" Burmaa.
Let us recapitulate the report on Burmaa's testimony, namely:
(a) besides Razak Baginda, there was a "government official" and not her description today of the "deputy prime minister". The 2007 evidence could be surmised as an important piece of "untainted" evidence which she mentioned twice, initially to the DPP and then subsequently to Karpal Singh;
(b) Razak Baginda was the only person Altantuyaa knew in Malaysia;
(c) even when Burmaa subsequently named the other person besides Razak Baginda as Najib Razak, allegedly "coached" by Karpal as put forward by a lawyer for one of the accused policemen, she still did not mention the description "deputy prime minister"; and
(d) the so-called "photograph" alluded to by Burmaa did not and does not exist. The only photograph in this sorry tragedy was the one that had been photoshopped showing the trio at a dinner in Paris.
Given these inconsistencies, the 2007 testimony versus the 2019 testimony, I wonder at Deputy Law Minister Mohamed Hanipa Maidin's seeming insinuation at Najib as reported in the former's statement: "The difference is that (when) he [Razak Najib] accused the cousin of lying, it was done outside the court and not under oath."
What an interesting development!
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.