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Altantuya's killing: Who gave the order?

A statement by Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak’s press secretary to deny any connection between Najib and the Altantuya murder has failed to quell public skepticism over official handling of the case.

This statement dated April 30 by Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad was in response to an article titled ‘Let’s send the Altantuya murderers to hell’ written by Raja Petra Kamarudin in his ‘Malaysia Today’ website.

In fact, the authorities are duty bound to pursue any leads involving Najib, considering the startling revelations made by third accused Razak Baginda in his affidavit to the court earlier last year.

In a desperate effort to secure bail, Razak’s lawyer Wong Kian Kheong read out an affidavit in court on Jan 20, 2007 which revealed among others, the following:

On 17 Oct, 2006, Razak sought the help of Najib’s aide de camp DSP Musa Safri to deal with Altantuya’s harassment. Musa then promised to send one of Najib’s bodyguards, first accused Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri to help Razak.

On 18 Oct 2006, Azilah met Razak for the first and only time at the latter’s office. Azilah told Razak that he had killed more than six people in the past and that he could help Razak.

On 20 Oct, 2006 (the day of murder), Razak called Azilah for help when Altantuya created a commotion in front of Razak’s house. Later, three plainclothes police personnel were seen taking Altantuya away in an unmarked car from Razak’s house.

The same night, Azilah phoned Razak and said: ‘Sir, you can sleep well tonight’.

On 20 Oct, 2006, when Razak met Musa in Najib’s office, he enquired about Altantuya, and Musa replied that he had not yet been updated by Azilah.

The first and second accused (Azilah and Sirul Azhar Umar) - who were both Najib’s bodyguards - are charged with killing the girl, and the third accused (Razak) who was a close friend of Najib but not a government official is charged with abetting the murder.

The question now arises: how could the first two accused have obeyed the order to kill from the third accused when the following facts are taken into consideration:

a) these bodyguards who were from the Police Special Action Force were trained to carry out extreme duties and to obey orders absolutely from (and only from) a superior like a ‘robot’ as testified by the deputy commandant of their police unit earlier in court.

b) Razak who met Azilah for the first time was no superior of these bodyguards. He was a civilian and though he knew the deputy prime minister he would still be considered an outsider by the two Special Action Squad personnel.

An order to kill from Razak would not have been acted upon by the two without clearance from those in the hierarchy above them.

Considering these bodyguards did not know the girl, and hence had no motive on their own to kill her, the next question that begs for answer is: Who gave the order, if any, to kill and to destroy the body in such bizarre fashion?

Tracing the sequence of events, the first target of investigation should naturally be Musa Safri, as he was the one who sent Azilah to Razak. And since Musa’s tour of duty is for Najib, shouldn’t the next object of investigation be Najib himself?

Have the police investigated Musa and Najib? Without their presence in court to answer critical questions, can any one blame the public for calling the police investigations flawed and court proceedings compromised?

And what about the shameful spectacle of the prosecution case, originally scheduled for one to three months, now dragging on and on to almost one year with no end in sight while time voids are filled with witnesses and testimonies of doubtful necessities?

Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has announced big steps to restore judicial integrity. How about starting with a small step by removing the eyesore at hand that may soon become the infamous Altantuya trial?