|WHAT DID HE MEAN BY ‘TENTATIVE CHARGE BUT ALL IS NOT LOST’?|
|the taxi driver says|
|Friday, 31 October 2008|
On 11th October, Malaysia Today carried a post entitled ‘Abuse of power by the Deputy Prime Minister’ that laid out a series of sms’es alleged to have passed between Najib and senior lawyer Shafee Abdullah in relation to Razak Baginda’s arrest and remand in the days before Baginda was charged.
Najib was publicly asked to comment about these sms’es and he never denied the authenticity of the same.
Now, there’s one other exchange of sms’es, this time allegedly between Razak Baginda and Najib. I do not recall Najib himself having ever addressed or denied or admitted the correctness or otherwise of these sms’es directly, as he did with the series of sms’es referred to in the MT posting.
I am referring to the 2 sms’es mentioned at paragraphs 51 and 52 of the first statutory declaration of private investigator Balasubramaniam. Let me reproduce below both paragraphs 51 and 52 of that first statutory declaration.
51. On the day Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested, I was with him at his lawyers office at 6.30am. Abdul Razak Baginda informed us that he had sent Najib Razak an SMS the evening before as he refused to believe he was to be arrested, but had not received a response.
52. Shortly thereafter, at about 7.30am, Abdul Razak Baginda received an SMS from Najib Razak and showed, this message to both myself and his lawyer. This message read as follows: “ I am seeing IGP at 11am today … matter will be solved … be cool”.
Like all of you, I am aware of Bala’s second statutory declaration contradicting the first, but we also have to acknowledge that the circumstances surrounding the making and public announcement of the second statutory declaration, and the subsequent disappearance of the maker of both, might make it prudent for us to defer adjudging which of the two statutory declarations narrates the truth until such time that Bala is available to fully disclose andexplain the circumstances surrounding the making of both statutory delcarations.AS THE TAXI DRIVER SAW…ALTANTUYA’S LAST HOURS.
Her last journey starts at night when she gives a slip to bala’s men watching her movements, she took her last taxi ride from hotel Malaya to bagindas house. What could have been the topic of her discussion with the taxi driver? Was he the one who took down the car registration no, which was used in a grab at bagindas house?.
What she told about own P.I WHO abandon her at the last moment, she was helpless? As the taxi stop she was grabbed and bundled into that car and driven off. If only they had waited, for the taxi go then they had grabbed her, they could have pull off the perfect encounter.
With her name erased from the immigration entries, she will be in the missing persons list. But god was on her side that day, because she had to be scarified, in order to bring to open the evil forces that are planning to rule this country. But to PAS PRESIDENT it just a murder why we have to make it an issue out of it?
The taxi driver went back to the stand at hotel Malaya to be confronted by the victim’s cousin sister to whom he gave the vital informations. The Rest is history…………………………
Kim Quek, Asia Sentinel
An unbelievable spectacle took place in the bizarre murder trial of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaaribuu on June 29. Karpal Singh, the lawyer for the victim’s family, attempted to ask a question about a “government official” allegedly seen in a photograph with the victim. At that point, both the prosecutor and the defense lawyer sprang to their feet in unison to block the question.
This resulted in a shouting match, with Singh on one side, the victim’s cousin on the stand, and the combined forces of the prosecution and defense blocking the line of questioning.
Earlier, a similar division of forces occurred when a Mongolian witness – a girlfriend of the victim told the court that immigration entry computer records of the deceased and her two Mongolian companions, including the witness, had been mysteriously erased. When Singh asked the court to take proper note of this highly irregular event, both the prosecution and defense objected to the evidence as irrelevant, and insisted that it be expunged.
Now, isn’t that a strange phenomenon? A prosecutor is supposed to seek justice for the deceased victim’s family against the murderers, so how come the prosecutor is now ganging up with defense lawyers to oppose the victim’s family lawyer? Is this a case of prosecutor vs. defense or a case of prosecutor plus defense vs. victim’s family? Obviously, the prosecution and defense seem to have plenty of common interests. What are those common interests?
The answer may lie in the identity of that “government official” that allegedly appeared in the photograph with Altantuya that both prosecution and defense tried so hard not to allow into court.
Graphics courtesy Michael Chick
On Day 10 of the trial, Altantuya’s cousin Burmaa Oyunchimeg testified that after Altantuya returned from France, she went to Hong Kong to meet Burmaa, and showed her a photograph of Altantuya and her lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, who is accused of conspiring in her murder, and “a government official” taking a meal together. Answering Singh later, after the shouting match in the court had subsided, she said this “government official” was Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
She could distinctly remember the name, she said, because it bears a similarity to Altantuya’s acknowledged lover’s name, and she even asked Altantuya whether they were brothers. Burmaa further added that the photo had also been shown to Altantuya’s father.
Now, the revelation of Najib in the photo would not have caused such a sensation if not for the deputy prime minister’s oft-repeated denial of any knowledge of Altantuya, including a public denial during a recent by-election, when even the name of Allah was invoked.
What does Najib have to say now that his denial is directly contradicted by the witness Burmaa? His press secretary Tengku Sarifuddin Tengku Ahmad issued a brief statement on June 30 saying that the deputy prime minister had declined to comment for two reasons. One, any comment might be sub judice, since the case is in court, and, two, Najib had already repeatedly denied an acquaintance with the girl in the past, “as such, the issue over the picture does not arise,” the spokesman said.
Sub judice? That’s ridiculous. How could a simple statement like “I have never had my photo taken with Altantuya” be sub judice? In fact, being the number-two leader in the government, Najib is absolutely duty-bound to say outright whether he was ever photographed with Altantuya, in view of the serious implications of Burmaa’s allegation.
The issue over the picture does not arise? Equally ridiculous. In fact, the opposite is true. Precisely because of Najib’s past denials, it is all the more imperative that Najib must stand up now to clarify.
There is only one explanation for Najib’s past denials and his present silence: A guilty conscience. If Najib’s conduct with respect to the case had been above-board, there would be no reason for him to deny an acquaintance with his friend Abdul Razak’s friend Altantuya. Similarly, if the allegation of the picture is false, it is inconceivable and totally incomprehensible that Najib should have chosen not to refute Burmaa’s allegation.
In fact, Najib seems so worried about the publicity of the picture that his secretary called editors in the local press and requested them not to blow up the issue. This resulted in the explosive story being absent from the local headlines the next day. (In one Chinese paper – Guang Ming – the Najib story hit the front page in the evening edition, but disappeared completely by the next morning). And of course, Anwar Ibrahim’s criticism of the trial and his specific call on Najib to clarify the issue of the picture during a press conference was generally blacked out.
However, despite such new suppression, irreversible damage is done. There is little doubt that Najib is deeply troubled and his political position seriously weakened.
That this murder case has been subjected to serious political manipulation has been obvious from the very start, when the police commenced their highly questionable investigation, right through to the present trial when the conduct of lawyers for both sides appear increasingly dubious. Instead of the prosecutor seeking the truth and the defense lawyer fighting for the accused, both seem preoccupied with an overriding mission – to prevent the whole truth from emerging. Their combined efforts to cover up the issue of the immigration record and the identity of Najib Razak in the picture are just two examples of such conduct.
The highly irregular nature of this case was also marked by frequent and mysterious changes of legal personnel, resulting in a complete changeover of the defense team, the prosecutors and the judge even before the hearings began. These weird phenomena were crowned by the shock appearance of a new team of prosecutors who were appointed only hours before the hearing was supposed to begin, thus necessitating an impromptu postponement of the trial for two weeks. None of these changes of legal personnel has been properly explained, except for the resignation of Abdul Razak’s first lawyer; Zulkifli Noordin, quit, he said, because of “serious interference by third parties”.
Under these circumstances, the public must brace itself for more aberrant scenarios from this court, while Najib and his supporters may have to keep their fingers crossed in the days ahead when many more witnesses have yet to walk through what must appear to Najib as a minefield.
On a more serious note, this unseemly trial does not exactly add credit to Malaysia’s system, whose already wretched image has just been further mauled by the shameful finale of another sham trial – that of Eric Chia of Perwaja Steel fame. After seven long years of investigations and three years of court hearings, that case was thrown out due to lack of prima facie evidence. With that, the long-drawn out Perwaja Steel saga ended without finding any culprit for the mountain of losses (more than RM 10 billion) suffered by taxpayers.
There has been a spate of criminal cases being dismissed of late due to inadequate investigations and poor prosecution, indicating that the downward slide of our criminal justice system, which began in the Mahathir era, has gotten worse under Abdullah Badawi’s leadership. With the criminal justice system in a shambles, the rule of law is in jeopardy. And that is an important benchmark to judge the efficacy of Abdullah’s administration vis-à-vis his reform agenda.
Kim Quek is a Malaysia-based commentator.
The diplomats, like much of the public, also speculated that the trial was being deliberately delayed and feared what one cable calls “prosecutorial misconduct” that was being politically manipulated. The embassy officials based their concerns on sources within the prosecution, government and the political opposition.
The cables also draw attention to an intriguing allegation that then Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may have attempted to use the proceedings to implicate Najib, a claim that was quickly hushed up in the Malaysian press.
Abdul Razak Baginda, one of Najib’s best friends and Altantuya’s lover, was accused of participating in the murder but was freed without having to put on a defence.
The murder has been tied closely to the US$1 billion acquisition of French submarines by the Malaysian Defence Ministry, which Najib headed during the acquisitions. Altantuya reportedly acted as a translator on the transaction, which netted Razak Baginda’s company a 114 million euros (RM534.8 million) “commission” on the purchase.
Reportedly she had been offered US$500,000 for her part in translating. After she was jilted, she vainly demanded payment. A letter she had written was made public after her death saying she regretted attempting to “blackmail” Razak Baginda.
French lawyers are investigating whether some of the 114 million euros was kicked back to French or Malaysian politicians. Despite the scandal, the US government has not publicly backed away from Najib.
In April 2010, Najib visited the White House and was praised by President Barack Obama for the Parliament’s passage of an act allowing Malaysian authorities to take action against individuals and entities engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The cables are replete with accounts of a long series of meetings with opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who repeatedly told the Americans that Najib was connected to corrupt practices in the acquisition of the submarines as well as the purchase of Sukhoi Su-MCM-30 Flanker fighter jets from Russia. Anwar also called attention to Najib’s connection to the Altantuya case
This is the English translation of the Liberation French article:
Shaaribuu Setev is a bitter and disappointed man. Yet, behind the saddened face of this Mongolian lies a fierce determination. Seated in a sofa in the lobby of an Ulaan Baataar hotel rattled by gushes of a freezing wind, this sixty years old man is ready to fight. His face features, hardened by the suffering and the stern climate, and his intense gaze tell all. “My daughter has been murdered by Malaysians on Malaysian territory. And they did not have even offer a word of apology,” states this professor of psychology at the National University of Mongolia.
The assassination of his daughter, Altantuya Shaaribuu, took place in October 2006. This was a murder unlike others in a region where business conflicts or petty politics are often settled with a gun. Everything in this case, which started in 2002 when the French Spanish company Armaris concluded the sale of three submarines to the Malaysian government for the amount of one billion Euros, is out of the ordinary.
The impact of the “Altantuya case” in France, Malaysia and Mongolia has yet to reach its climax. The murder of the 28 year old Mongolian was the result of a “commission” at the price of 114 million Euros by Armaris to its Malaysian counterpart. This “commission,” which was acknowledged by the Malaysian government in front of the Parliament in Kuala Lumpur, has triggered a chain of events that has led to the assassination of Altantuya and the disappearance of several key witnesses in the case.
A report from the Malaysian police, written on 19th november 2006 and which has been kept secret until now (can be read below), reveals dry and precise descriptions as to how this young woman, a member of Asian high society, has been killed. In this document, one of the killers, a policeman of the Malaysian Special Branch named Sirul Omar, replied to the questions of an officer at a police station close to the murder scene. “When the Chinese woman saw that I was taking a gun, she begged me to spare her, saying she was pregnant. Azilah (the commanding officer of Sirul) grabbed her and [threw] her on the ground. I immediately shot the left side of her face. Then Azilah took off her clothes and put them in a black plastic bag. Azilah noticed that her hand was still moving. He ordered me to shoot again, which I did”, said Sirul. This is the first confirmation of Altantuya’s assassins’ identity. “Then we carried her body into the woods. Azilah wrapped the explosives around her legs, her abdomen and her head, and we exploded her.”
The revelation of this report in the French newspaper Liberation is the latest chapter in this colourful and dramatic saga featuring French weapon sellers, Mongolian Shaman, and Malaysian politicians. This case is explosive not only for the Malaysian government, since the deputy Prime minister Najib Razak (who is scheduled to become Prime minister at the end of March) is suspected of having links to the case, but also because it could embarrass the DCNS, this French company specialising in military shipbuilding. The French Spanish company Armaris, which sold two Scorpène and one Agosta submarines to Malaysia in June 2002, was bought by DCNS in 2007.
With her magnetic beauty and sophistication, Altantuya is reminiscent of the troubling image of a Far East Mata Hari. She grew up in Saint Petersburg (Russia), then studied at the Institute of Economic Management in Beijing. Besides speaking English, she is fluent in Russian, Chinese and Korean. The fateful cycle for Altantuya came into gear when she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Hong Kong in 2004. Baginda is a security expert and the director of the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre, a pro-government think-tank. The two quickly became romantically involved. Altantuya, nicknamed Tuya by her friends, proved to be a useful assistant, helping Baginda translate from Russian to English.
Whereas Altantuya is young and beautiful, the rich and alluring Baginda is a well known figure of the Kuala Lumpur’s elite, notably because of his proximity to the Malaysian Deputy Prime minister and minister of Defense Najib Razak (he is also his security affairs adviser). Baginda parades in the most exclusive circles of Kuala Lumpur, sometimes accompanied by his legitimate wife.
In March 2005, Altantuya and Baginda departed for Europe, touring France, Germany, Italy and Portugal in the red Ferrari of Baginda, staying in posh hotels and dining in the finest restaurants of the old Continent. This trip, however, was not only for tourism: the contract for the sale of the submarines had been signed in 2002, but important details had yet to be settled. “We knew that Baginda was used by Deputy Prime minister Najib Razak as an intermediary for weapons systems deals, especially the high level ones,” says a regional security affairs expert.
At the end of March 2005 the couple was in Paris, where they met with Najib Razak. A picture shows the threesome in a Parisian private club. “Tuya showed me the pix. She said that one of the men was her boyfriend, Abdul Razak Baginda, and the other the “big boss”, Najib Razak. I asked her if they were brothers because of the names, but she said no, and that Najib Razak was the ‘prime minister’”, said Amy, Altantuya’s best friend (Najib Razak has sworn on the Koran that he has never met Altantuya). According to a private detective, now in hiding in India, the beautiful Tuya was also the occasional mistress of the deputy Prime minister, who was introduced to her by Baginda at the end of 2004.
The story became dramatic when, in October 2006, Altantuya was informed that the commission paid by the French-Spanish company Armaris had arrived on a Kuala Lumpur bank account. It had been paid to Perimekar, a company owned by Baginda. Altantuya rushed to Kuala Lumpur, in order to claim her share of the commission from Baginda ; she said she was entitled to 500,000 dollars. Baginda and Altantuya broke up prior to this. A jealous Rosmah Mansor, the feared businesswoman and wife of Najib Razak, objected any payment to Altantuya. Altantuya arrived in Kuala Lumpur with two other Mongolian women, one of them was a Shaman responsible for putting a spell on Baginda if he refused to pay. For several days, Altantuya harassed her ex-lover.
On the 18th of October, Baginda could no longer tolerate the daily scenes made by Altantuya in front of his house. He contacted the Director of the Special Branch, Musa Safrie, who happened to also be Najib Razak’s aide de camp. On October 19th, 2006, a little before 9 pm, two police officers of the Special Branch, Azilah Hadridan and Sirul Omar, were sent in front of Baginda’s house where Altantuya was gesticulating and shouting. They had the order of “neutralising the Chinese woman.” They kidnapped her, and drove her ten kilometers away and shot her several times. Then, they destroyed her body with C4 explosives, a type which can only be obtained from within the Defense Ministry. Her entry into Malaysia was erased from the immigration records. It would appear that Altantuya had never come to Malaysia, because there is no trace left of her.
There is no perfect crime. The taxi driver hired by Altantuya for the day did not appreciate that his passenger was kidnapped under his eyes without payment for the fare. He took note of the registration plate of the kidnapper’s car and filed a complaint at the local police station. In a few days, the police identified the car and realised that it was a government vehicle.
Events unfolded that even the Deputy Prime minister Najib Razak could not impede. He tried to cover the case. A few hours before the arrest of Baginda, he sent him a SMS: “I will see the Inspector General of Police at 11 am today… The problem will be solved. Be cool”. A few hours after, Baginda was arrested as well as the two police officers of the Special Branch, Azilah and Sirul.
After a trial considered dubious by many observers, Baginda was acquitted with the accusation of having ordered the murder and released in November 2008. Accused of having perpetrated the murder, Azilah and Sirul appeared in front of the Court last month. If convicted, their sentence is death. The verdict is scheduled for the 9th of April.
Thousands of miles from there, in the Mongolian capital city Ulaan Baataar, Shaaribuu Setev, Altantuya’s father, is trying to control his anger. To him and his family, the acquittal and release of Baginda is symbolic of the unfairness of the Malaysian judicial process: “The Malaysian government is not even answering to the letters from the Mongolian Foreign Affairs Ministry,” he says.
When Shaaribuu came to the Malaysian Parliament to meet Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime minister had to escape through a back door in order to avoid an embarrassing encounter. The Altantuya case has become a key element of the Malaysian political game between Najib Razak (who is expected to become Prime Minister after the United Malay Nation Organisation (UMNO) Congress in March) and the opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. So far, Najib Razak has navigated around the obstacles, but the murder of the young Mongolian remains a sword suspended over his head.
One of the most obscure aspects of the Altantuya case is the role of the Armaris company. In October 2007, the Malaysian Deputy Defense minister, Zainal Abdidin Zin, acknowledged in front of the Parliament that Armaris had effectively paid 114 million Euros in commission to Perimekar. He maintained that it was not a bribe, but a payment for “support and coordination services.”
Was there corruption as in the case of the Taiwanese frigates in which the French DCNS was also implicated? DCNS, a private company with public financing, has declined our request for a meeting. “Nobody can comment on this case,” was the sober reply of the DCNS Press relations officer in Paris. A document, which could establish a link between Altantuya and the French company is the guarantee letter written by Abdul Razak Baginda so that his mistress could obtain a visa to enter the Schengen zone (of whom France is a member country). The French embassy could not refuse this service to a man decorated with the Legion d’Honneur. But the role of Altantuya in the submarines negotiations is still not clear. Intelligence agencies find her background intriguing and the Russian FSB (ex-KGB) is following closely the case.
In Ulaan Baataar, Mungunshagai, the eldest son of Altantuya, who is 12 years old, is traumatised by the death of his mother. Altanshagai, the youngest, who is five years old and mentally handicapped, has not understood that he will never see again his mother. “He is asking for her all the time and is staying the whole day prostrated on his chair. Every evening, I bring him sweets and I tell him that his mother gave it to me for him”, says Shaaribuu Setev, the grandfather of the two boys. As for Baginda, he settled down in the United Kingdom with his family. He never uttered a word of regret on the deadly fate of the one who shared his life for two years.
Arnaud Dubus (in Kuala Lumpur, Ulaan Baataar and Paris)
Arnaud did extensive research into this story and travelled the world in search of the truth. I met him in Kuala Lumpur soon after my release from ISA detention after he returned from Mongolia.
This is the original cautioned statement that Sirul Azhar Omar made in the interrogation by the police on 19 November 2006 that confirms not only how and why Altantuya was killed but also that they were hired to kill her:
In a Feb 1, 2008 cable, embassy’s political section chief Mark D Clark wrote that a deputy prosecutor had told him “there was almost no chance of winning guilty verdicts in the on-going trial of defendants Razak Baginda, a close advisor to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak, and two police officers. She described the trial as interminably long.” (That, of course, turned out to be wrong. Sirul and Azilah were ultimately convicted and have appealed their sentence).
Clark called the trial a “a prosecutorial embarrassment from its inception, leading many to speculate that the ineptitude was by design. On the eve of the trial, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail dropped his lead prosecutors and replaced them with less experienced attorneys.
Similarly, a lead counsel for one of the defendants abruptly resigned before the trial ‘because of (political) attempts to interfere with a defence he had proposed, in particular to protect an unnamed third party.’”
The protracted nature of the case, Clark continued, led “at least one regional newspaper to speculate that ‘the case is being deliberately delayed to drive it from public view’. Malaysia’s daily newspapers rarely mention the case’s latest developments, and it is unprecedented in Malaysian judicial history that a murder trial could drag on for seven months and still not give the defence an opportunity to present its case.
“Such an environment has led many to conclude that the case was too politically sensitive to yield a verdict before the anticipated general elections.”
A January 2007 cable called attention to Razak Baginda’s affidavit confirming that he sought the help of Musa Safri, later identified by reporters as Najib’s aide-de-camp, in ridding him of the jilted woman, and in other cables pointed out that Musa had never been called for questioning.
In another cable, dated May 16, 2007, Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, a deputy home minister in former prime minister Ahmad Abdullah Badawi’s cabinet told US Embassy officials that he was “certain that government prosecutors would limit their trial activities to the murder itself and the three defendants; prosecutors would not follow up on allegations of related corruption or other suspects.”
Razak Baginda’s wife, during one of his first appearances in court, screamed that her husband “doesn’t want to be prime minister.”
In a telephone interview on May 9, Anwar, however, told Asia Sentinel that Razak Baginda’s wife was not the source of his knowledge of Najib’s connection and that instead he had been told of the connection by Setev Shaariibuu, Altantuya’s father, who said he had wished to present evidence of Najib’s involvement, but was not allowed to do so. Multiple attempts to contact Setev by Asia Sentinel have been unsuccessful.
Almost immediately after he made the statement, Balasubramaniam was picked up and driven to a police station, where he was forced to withdraw the statement and write a new one saying Razak Baginda had told him nothing of the sort. Balasubramaniam fled Malaysia for India.
He later said Najib’s brother, Nizam, and wife, Rosmah Mansor, had met with him and that he was offered RM5 million to forget his statement connecting Najib to Altantuya.
Balasubramaniam displayed a flock of checks drawn on the account of an associate of Najib’s wife. The former private detective has made a series of statements from outside the country about Najib’s involvement.
Badawi also played a part
A February 2008 cable from political section chief Clark gives a hint that Abdullah Badawi himself may have been trying to get rid of Najib by forcing Razak Baginda to implicate him in the murder.
“In the latest turn of the ongoing Altantuya murder trial, accused political insider Abdul Razak Baginda, who has remained calm and composed through most of the proceedings, unleashed an emotional tirade shortly after the Feb 20 noon recess on the trial’s 90th day,” Clark wrote.
“Referring to the prime minister by his nick-name ‘Pak Lah’, Razak reportedly exclaimed: ‘You can die, Pak Lah! (in Malaysian – Matilah kau, Pak Lah!) I’m innocent!’ according to unpublished journalist accounts.
“Local newspapers and the government news service Bernama reported the fact of the outburst, but did not print Razak’s statements. The short-lived exception was the English language newspaper The Sun, which included the quotations from Razak in its early morning Feb 21 edition.
“Sources at newspaper confirmed to us in confidence that the Ministry of Internal Security compelled The Sun to withdraw and recall thousands of copies of their first run paper in which the original quote was included. Prime Minister Abdullah serves concurrently as Minister of Internal Security.”
During the trial, Clark wrote, Razak Baginda, “appeared uneasy throughout the morning session of court on Feb 20. Razak’s father, Abdullah Malim Baginda, had whispered something to him shortly before the trial had begun for the morning and apparently upset the accused.
Razak had remained quiet throughout the morning hearings, but just after the noon recess was called and as he was leaving the courtroom he kicked and banged the door and yelled, ‘You can die, Pak Lah! Die, Pak Lah! I am innocent. I am innocent.’ He was later seen crying before his lawyer while his mother attempted to comfort him.
“Speculation is rife in Malaysia’s online community concerning what it was that set off Razak Baginda outburst, including conspiracy theories alleging the Prime Minister’s Office had urged Razak to implicate Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak … in return for sparing Razak a guilty verdict and its mandatory death sentence,” officials wrote.
The cable goes on to write, “Regardless, the Internal Security Ministry would want to limit any possibly inflammatory reference to the prime minister at the trial, and particularly at this juncture due to the proximity of Malaysia’s general election to be held on March 8. Any connection between the prime minister and the murder trial would be scandalous.
“The GOM (government of Malaysia) reportedly has worked hard to ‘drive (the case) from public view’ … and is not about to allow the case to influence the coming elections.”