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May 3, 2008

Malaysian Deputy Premier Denies Murder Links

Najib Tun Razak says he had nothing to do with the murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu. So why won’t he testify in court?

malay-judges In a blistering defense of his boss’s innocence, Najib Tun Razak’s press secretary Tuesday issued a statement that neither the Malaysian deputy prime minister nor his wife, Rosmah Mansor, had anything to do with the October 2006 murder of Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu.

In the statement, made to the Malaysian internet publication Malaysia Today, the press secretary, Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, threatened legal action if allegations in the press and elsewhere of Najib’s involvement in the case continued. The statement also denied that Najib had anything to do with erasing the victim’s immigration records, or that he had ever met her. Many questions were left unanswered, however.

Although Najib, whom many see as the heir apparent to the prime minister’s post, has neither been questioned nor asked to appear in the marathon trial of his friend, Abdul Razak Baginda, and two of his bodyguards for the murder of Altantuya, his reputation has been considerably tarnished by his apparent links to the accused. Some media have questioned his suitability to take over as prime minister when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi gives up the post.

Abdul Razak, 46, who had been Altantuya’s lover, is charged with abetting the slaying, which prosecutors say was carried out by Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, both of whom were assigned to Najib’s elite police bodyguard detail. The 28-year-old woman was shot on October 20, 2006, and her body was blown up with explosives said to be available only to the military. Altantuya was last seen in front of Abdul Razak’s house, being pushed into a car and driven away. more...


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