Altantuya – the Malaysian scene of the crime - By Commander S THAYAPARAN (Retired) Royal Malaysian Navy
Saturday, May 05, 2018
Malaysiakini ( Part 1 here..............)“Saya lafazkan di sini, wallahi, Yang Amat Berhormat Perdana
Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak langsung tidak ada terlibat dan
tidak ada kaitan dalam kes.” - Sirul Azhar Umar, convicted murderer
INTERVIEW | In this second part
of the interview, ES Shankar, author of the provocative ‘Murdered in
Malaysia: The Altantuya Story’, says he is on the mission to find out
who allegedly ordered the killing of the Mongolian national. Read part 1 here.
Thayaparan: In an online interview, you acknowledged that you
had no first-hand sources for this book and merely relied on internet
sources. In this era of fake news, isn’t it dangerous since people who
support the thesis of your book consider it a kind of reportage?
Shankar: The vast majority of murder convictions are
based on corroborated, reliable circumstantial evidence and testimony
from experts. Such convictions are not rendered “fake” because the
killer was not caught with smoking gun in hand, which rarely happens in
real life. So too with my book. That bit about “internet sources” was a slip-up
somewhere and needs to be corrected. Many people I contacted would not
be identified, quoted or speak up for fear of state retaliation.
The main actors were unreachable and with so many people from
government being involved in this historic C4 murder case, you could
hardly expect anyone to turn ‘Deep Throat’. The ‘dedak’ factor coupled
with genuine fear meant that I had to go to other reliable sources,
including reports in the New Straits Times, Star, and The Sun, etc. There is today, no other book that examines the A to Z of the
Altantuya murder like mine. It sets out, besides the murder details and
a. The background to the murder involving similar Scorpene scandals
involving DCNS, France, and multiple murders in Pakistan and Taiwan.
Caretaker prime minister Najib Razak knew who he was getting into bed
with when he signed the RM7.5 billion Scorpene contract. b. Testimony of practically every witness in the 662 days of trial from June 2007 to April 2009. c. Personal details/history of the principal characters like
Altantuya Shaariibuu, Azilah Hadri, Sirul Azhar Umar, Abdul Razak
Baginda (photo), P Balasubramaniam, and Deepak Jaikishan.
d. Events not known to the general public like the alleged planting
of evidence, alleged setting-up of Sirul, the RM100 million Raja Ropiaah
Puspahanas Defence Center scandal, Deepak being raided by the IRB/BNM
(Inland Revenue Board/Bank Negara Malaysia), etc. e. Details of published confessions, statutory declarations, court
verdicts, etc, which are not easily accessible to ordinary people.
A researcher or student would be happy with my book because, other
than my final Emile Zolaesque opinion on the murder cover-up, the rest
is based substantially on facts. I challenge anyone to dispute them.
Do you think that this book muddies the waters when it comes to the unsolved murder of Altantuya?
How could it possibly muddy anything? You need as much of the facts
you can possibly gather, in order to get the small and big picture. This
is the only way to get at the truth. If our government absolutely refuses to find out who allegedly gave
the orders to kill Altantuya, it’s our duty to push that government or
change it, come hell or high water. What kind of government is it that
will allow a convicted killer to go to Australia, and then do nothing to
extradite him for over two years?
Would you want a Pakatan Harapan government to consider the
murder a high priority should they come into power and if so, why has
Harapan been muted when it comes to this issue?
Harapan’s highest priority would be to address the precarious economy
and set straight the battered and bruised separation of powers among
the executive (prime minister), parliament and judiciary. There is also
the issue of sackings of top civil servants who have conspired to cover
up corruption and fraud.
Harapan has not been muted on the Altantuya murder. In fact, Mahathir
Mohamad resurrected that issue and Najib’s accountability before wading
in on 1MDB. Besides me, opposition leaders Anwar Ibrahim, Rafizi Ramli
and Tony Pua have all kept this issue alive, as well as blogger Hussein
Abdul Hamid aka Steadyaku47 in Australia.
You are claiming what many people think about the Altantuya
murder. Does this give you some courage to speak out or does it sadden
you that very few people will come out from behind anonymity and speak
I was primarily motivated by my own sense of outrage and disgust.
Cricket has given us a saying: “Cometh the hour, cometh the man!” But it’s not like I set myself out as some peoples’ champion or
something. But equally, Altantuya’s part-solved murder is not a matter I
could just let go. Public apathy is generally very high in Malaysia. Everybody was too
busy making money in the 80s, 90s and 2000s and ignored human rights,
open racism and religious bigotry and the rise of absolute state power.
Now it has come back to bite us in our hindquarters.
We know who’s responsible for that. It looks like he’s realised the
error of his bumiputera and Islam overkill and is prepared to make
proper amends. People are beginning to understand that either you speak
out or emigrate. I can feel the pulse of change in Facebook, Twitter and
blogs. So, regardless of what’s happened, there’s hope yet.
If the murder was carried out by the cabal you claim, and it
was covered up, to what do you attribute the lack of interests by
international hegemons in pursuing this as they have done with other
Kleptocracy is only a secondary issue in the Altantuya murder. For
sure, money, as much as RM600 million, if not more, changed hand up and
down the country, in the corridors of government and power and in Hong
Kong and France. The international human rights bodies have not forgotten Altantuya.
The Scorpene bribery issue is in the French courts. Cynthia Gabriel and
her (C4) organisation are keeping tabs on that. Razak Baginda has been
summoned in France.
Locally, PI Bala’s widow, Santamil Selvi, is pursuing her civil
action against Najib and his two brothers, Rosmah, Deepak and lawyer
Cecil Abraham and his son. Once again, lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah
has emerged from the shadows to claim he represents Deepak who has
apparently disputed it. Do remember that Shafee first represented Razak Baginda in the
Altantuya hearings before Wong Khian Kheong emerged? Shafee’s highly
controversial SMS to Najib when Razak Baginda was arrested have not been
denied by either party. Altantuya’s father’s (Dr Setev Shaariibuu, photo) civil suit
against Najib, the AG (attorney-general), IGP (inspector-general of
police) and PDRM (Royal Malaysian Police) is waiting in the wings.
So, slowly but surely progress is being made. We’ll get there for sure. If Harapan forms the new government, then an impetus to solve this
case with final closure will be given to a royal commission of inquiry.
There is no other way the truth will emerge of its own accord from Najib
and/or his Umno/BN government.
Do you see a pattern when it comes to the state with this
murder and others, such as deaths in custody, police shootouts and of
course, deaths such as that of Teoh Beng Hock? Do you see a culture as
opposed to something else?
In my mind, it is clear that what we are witnessing, if unchecked, is
a classic pattern of the evolution of an eventual dictatorship and
police state. There is an incestuous relationship between the executive,
the police and a cowed and emasculated judiciary, all fired by
‘ketuanism’. This is how Hitler, the Nazis and the SS/Gestapo came to
power and triumphed for a few years. So, thousands of deaths in custody and possibly extrajudicial
killings remain unsolved because the executive does not force the
authorities to carry out mandatory inquests. The executive cannot exert
its authority because it needs rogue elements in the police force and
judiciary to do its dirty work, which in turn compromises their own
Why is corruption rampant at epidemic levels? Because those at the
top allegedly steal massively. And those a little below with power in
their hands, are not going to wait till 55 or 60 to have a jolly life.
So, it becomes self-sustaining and eventually, out of control like a
runaway train. Yes, dishonesty, wrongdoing and covering it up has become a culture
within the ruling party. How else could a prime minister get away with
claiming RM2.6 billion allegedly stolen from a state-owned company was a
donation or that he did not know who transferred RM42 million into his
personal bank account from another state-owned company, but spent it
How could 1MDB pretend no fraud took place or that billions of
ringgit are missing, with Najib unconstitutionally classify the
Auditor-General’s Report on 1MDB under OSA and produce no audited
accounts for three years? The MACC chief officer who was at the heart of Teoh Beng Hock’s death
got promoted. Najib’s promise that “no stone will be left unturned in
finding his killer” has been more honoured in the breach than in the
observance. Our only consolation is that history tells us that these dictatorships and police states are doomed to fall.
Writer’s epilogue: Will Malaysians ever discover
those who allegedly ordered the killing of Altantuya? Those behind the
death of Teoh Beng Hock? The men who have died while in custody of the
state security apparatus? I have no idea.
All I know is, that this country is in real trouble. Not the trouble
that politicians say we are in but something darker. We should heed the
words of Fredrick Douglas - “Where justice is denied, where poverty is
enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to
feel that society is an organised conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade
them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”