Tuesday, October 21, 2014

To higher mountains & deeper valleys... & ever truer realities!

No more secrecy, secret societies, 
secret police, or secret governments... 
the Age of Darkness is over!

Where have all the Flowers gone? They came to pay homage to Rachel!

Multi-talented instrumentalist and composer Rachel Flowers was born on December 21, 1993. Arriving 15 weeks premature, she lost her eyesight as an infant due to Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).

When Rachel was two years old, in order to discourage her from banging on their ancient piano with her toys, Rachel's mother showed her how to play "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Rachel picked it up immediately, and was soon working out for herself every song she heard.

At the age of four Rachel became a student of the Southern California Conservatory of Music studying primarily with Richard Taesch, Grant Horrocks, and David Pinto. Along with her study of piano and music fundamentals, it was at SCCM that Rachel learned Braille Music Code and adaptive computer music applications. This is also where Rachel met her flute teacher, Toby Caplan-Stonefield.

Rachel spent her school years playing flute in her middle school and high school bands, playing piano with The RPM Jazz Trio, and performing in a variety of music festivals and competitions. She brought home multiple ribbons, certificates, and awards as both a classical flutist and jazz pianist, and ended her high school career by receiving both the John Phillip Souza Band Award, and the Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Award for excellence in musicianship.

Rachel is perhaps best known for her YouTube videos featuring her interpretations of the compositions of Emerson Lake and Palmer, performed as a solo artist on the piano and on the organ.

At present Rachel is in the process of composing the original material which will form the basis of her musical career. Rachel's music is informed by her extensive musical background, with jazz, classical, and progressive rock music all playing a part in helping Rachel to forge a style that is uniquely her own.

Brief bio of Rachel Flowers from her website.

More recent recordings from Rachel Flowers at her SoundCloud page

Docufeature on Rachel Flowers

[Thanks to Solo Goodspeed for the heads up on Rachel!]

Blast the mental mold away with Ozric Tentacles!


Ozric Tentacles (commonly known as the Ozrics) are an instrumental rock band from Somerset, England, whose music can loosely be described as psychedelic or space rock. Formed in 1984, the band has released 28 albums as of 2009, and become a cottage industry selling over a million albums worldwide despite never having major label backing.

The original lineup met on June 21, 1984, at the Stonehenge Free Festival and its name arose from discussions of hypothetical cereal brands (Malcolm Segments, Desmond Whisps, and Gordon Lumps are among the names that were considered). In the 1980s the band built a fanbase on the festival circuit, becoming particularly associated with the Glastonbury Festival, and made a series of cassette releases, sold at gigs and via a fan club.

Its first label release was Pungent Effulgent in 1989, which was also re-released in the early 2000s, packaged with Strangeitude. This was followed by Erpland (1990), an album dedicated to the Pongmaster, a character which appears on many of the band's album artworks. 1991 saw the Strangeitude LP. The track "Sploosh!" was used by BMW in an advertising campaign and became the band's only single. By 1993 the band had grossed over three million dollars, and its Jurassic Shift album reached the Top 20 of the UK Albums Chart.

The band has gone through myriad line-up changes, with Ed Wynne (guitar, keyboards) being the only constant presence since the beginning. Many members left to pursue more electronic music spin-off acts, such as Eat Static, Transglobal Underground, Nodens Ictus, Dubblehead and Moksha. Even Nick Van Gelder (aka Tig), drummer for Jamiroquai during the Emergency on Planet Earth era was once part of the Ozric Tentacles line up, contributing drums and songwriting on the original cassettes Tantric Obstacles and Erpsongs. Nevertheless, the band maintained its identity and continued with this prolific rate of albums throughout the 1990s, and into the new millennium. It also continued to tour extensively, releasing a live DVD in 2002 entitled Live at the Pongmaster's Ball.

The band is famous for its live performances, fronted for years by "Jumping Jon" Egan, who used to dance around the stage in a trance-like manner while playing a variety of flutes. Ozric Tentacles has long taken an audio-visual approach to live performance, with an integrated lighting and projections crew. As of February 2009, the lineup featured Ed Wynne (guitar, synths), Ed's wife Brandi Wynne (synths), Oliver Seagle (drums, percussion) and Vinny Shillito (bass).

[Source: Wikipedia]

[First posted 21 February 2010]

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Aminah Describes Her Ordeal (Reprise)

On 8 November 2006 The Star headlines read: "Bone fragments of model found on hill." Eight years down the line the key figures behind the gruesome murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu have yet to be investigated for their complicity in this high-profile crime of mind-boggling proportions, involving billions of ringgit worth of military spending and kickbacks - and implicating those now enthroned in the highest positions. Not only is the Malaysian government guilty of a massive cover-up, so also are all of us who choose to ignore the rotting elephant carcass in our living rooms....

[From a statutory declaration dated 1 July 2008, signed by Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal, private investigator...]
On Oct 19, 2006, I arrived at Abdul Razak Baginda’s house in Damansara Heights to begin my night duty. I had parked my car outside as usual. I saw a yellow Proton Perdana taxi pass by with three ladies inside, one of whom was Aminah. The taxi did a U-turn and stopped in front of the house where these ladies rolled down the window and wished me ‘Happy Deepavali.’ The taxi then left.

About 20 minutes later the taxi returned with only Aminah in it. She got out of the taxi and walked towards me and started talking to me. I sent an SMS to Abdul Razak Baginda informing him “Aminah was here.” I received an SMS from Razak instructing me “to delay her until my man comes.”

Whist I was talking to Aminah, she informed me of the following:

i) That she met Abdul Razak Baginda in Singapore with Najib Razak.

ii) That she had also met Abdul Razak Baginda and Najib Razak at a dinner in Paris.

iii) That she was promised a sum of US$500,000.00 as commission for assisting in a submarine deal in Paris.

iv) That Abdul Razak Baginda had bought her a house in Mongolia but her brother had refinanced it and she needed money to redeem it.

v) That her mother was ill and she needed money to pay for her treatment.

vi) That Abdul Razak Baginda had married her in Korea as her mother is Korean whilst her father was a Mongolian/Chinese mix.

vii) That if I wouldn’t allow her to see Abdul Razak Baginda, would I be able to arrange for her to see Najib Razak.

After talking to Aminah for about 15 minutes, a red Proton Aeroback arrived with a woman and two men. I now know the woman to be lance corporal Rohaniza and the men, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azahar. They were all in plainclothes. Azilah walked towards me while the other two stayed in the car.

Azilah asked me whether the woman was Aminah and I said “Yes”. He then walked off and made a few calls on his handphone. After 10 minutes another vehicle, a blue Proton Saga, driven by a Malay man, passed by slowly. The driver's window had been wound down and the driver was looking at us.

Azilah then informed me they would be taking Aminah away. I informed Aminah they were arresting her. The other two persons then got out of the red Proton and exchanged seats so that lance corporal Rohaniza and Aminah were in the back while the two men were in the front. They drove off and that is the last I ever saw of Aminah.

I don't know where they are taking me. At first I thought they would take me to the police station and question me, but we seem to be going away from the city. Maybe they are taking me to the airport and throwing me out of the country. More than half an hour later the car enters a gated driveway leading to a double-storey bungalow in a big garden. It's a very quiet area and I have no idea where I am. I feel very worried about the situation, but I try my best to look calm.

One of the men tells the lady something in Malay and she nods and returns to the car. The men then push me inside the house and force me to go upstairs. I am beginning to feel frightened, because this is definitely not a police station. What will they do to me?

One man opens a bedroom door and the other pushes me inside. I fear they may try to rape me as we appear to be alone in this big house. The men ask me for my handbag and they take away my watch, cellphone and jewelry. Then they push me inside a big empty wardrobe and shut the door. It is very dark and musty inside and I hear a key turning in the wardrobe door. I hear the men's voices discussing something, then they leave the room, and I am alone in the total darkness. I can hear my heart pounding very loudly. The sound of traffic from a great distance tells me we are quite far from the city.

I have no sense of time. I may have dozed off after an hour, I can't be sure. My stomach is growling, so it must be long after dinner time. I feel stiff and uncomfortable and my bladder is ready to burst. Amy must be wondering why I am not back at the hotel yet. I hope she will call Ang to enquire about me at the police station. That Razak is a coward. He dare not face me. Instead he has asked the police to kidnap me....

There are voices in the room and a key turns. The wardrobe door opens and I see several figures as my eyes adjust to the light. They are wearing black hoods and I can see only their eyes - but two of them are women. I am dragged out roughly and pushed to the floor. Now I am really scared. These people are dangerous, they are not behaving like police officers at all, more like members of a secret society.

While one of the hooded men lifts me off the floor, the large woman is shouting angrily at me, calling me all kinds of names. Suddenly she steps forward and slaps me very hard across the face - again and again and again - while my arms are held tight by the men. Tears sting my raw cheeks and I tell her stop but she keeps hitting me and spitting in my face.

She calls me a dirty prostitute and says I deserve to die. I don't know who this woman is but she is totally crazy, like a demon. Sometimes she shouts at me in English and then she says something in Malay. The other woman steps forward and tears the front of my dress with great force. She pulls off my bra and gags me with it, and then she yanks down my panties, so they are around my ankles.

The men push me to the floor and take turns raping me. One tries to sodomize me but gives up and forces himself into my mouth instead. I bite him and he screams in pain and hits my head very hard, till I almost lose consciousness. This is a horrible nightmare. It can't be happening to me! Who are these insane people? They can't be policemen! They are monsters! I can hear the large woman laughing like a witch...

Suddenly I am looking at the scene from somewhere above. My body is badly bruised and almost numb with shock. It's a strange feeling, to feel so detached from my body. I feel no anger. Only sadness and pity for my attackers who are so depraved they are no longer human. I know I will never see my family and friends again, because these people intend to kill me.

I am back in my body and it hurts all over. The woman is mercilessly beating me with a cane and kicking me while the others stand back. She keeps whacking my genitals until I feel nothing... then I am thankfully out of my body again.

I watch my unconscious body being carried downstairs. They tape my mouth shut and tie my hands and feet tight with plastic rope. Then they throw me into the back of a 4-wheel-drive and slam the door shut. The vehicle drives off, followed by two other cars.

After a long time the 4-wheel-drive stops and a few people climb into it. The road is very bad and bumpy but I am hovering close to my body, observing everything that happens. There is no more sound of traffic. We must be in the jungle somewhere because all I can hear are insects chirping loudly, and heavy breathing as my body is placed on a stretcher and carried by two men along a jungle path.

When they finally stop and put down the stretcher I hear the woman's voice again. Cold water is thrown on my face and I return to my body with a jerk. Slowly I try to open my eyes but I can't focus on anything because it is very dark, except for the flashlights carried by a few of my abductors. The woman's voice is very close to my ear as she hisses: "So long, Aminah. Lovely to meet you at last. Have a pleasant journey." She laughs grotesquely and rips off the tape covering my mouth. "I want to hear you scream. Do you have any last words... dear Aminah?" She has removed her hood so I can see her face. It's a very cruel face indeed. The others are not wearing hoods but I don't know who they are. The large woman is obviously their boss.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch the metallic gleam of a gun near my face and I know this is the end of my story. I gather my strength and say as calmly and clearly as possible, so they will hear every word: "You are evil people. I curse you forever. You will never know peace again." I feel myself transforming into a mother wolf, ready to pounce in defence of her cubs...

Then I hear a click and there is blinding flash. I am floating ten feet above my twitching body. After a while I see someone attaching something to my now lifeless body. I cannot believe they intend to blow up my corpse with explosives, so nobody will ever find my bones!

I look up and see a beautiful blue sky. The sun shines brilliantly over the distant mountains. I can hear voices singing in overtones the ancient melodies of the great steppes where my ancestors hunted and fought their battles. Suddenly I am flying like an eagle over the rugged landscape that feels so familiar. I am free as a bird and I am home at last.

[First published 19 October 2008. Reposted 8 November 2011]

Bless your soul, dear Altantuya (wish you had better taste in men, though)...

From French subs to French subpoenas...
Courtesy of Malaysiakini
Eight years have elapsed since a 28-year-old Mongolian beauty named Altantuya Shaariibuu was abducted in front of Abdul Razak Baginda's residence by three plainclothes police officers (Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, Corporal Sirul Azahar and Lance Corporal Rohaniza) around dusk. Private investigator Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal, who was at the scene, later stated in a statutory declaration on 3 July 2008 that a mystery man arrived soon afterwards in a blue Proton Saga to check on the situation and then drove off. Bala subsequently identified the mystery man as Nasir Safar, special aide to then deputy prime minister Najib Razak.

In early November 2006 the sensational news broke around the world that the Mongolian beauty, reported missing by her cousin and traveling companions, had been brutally executed with two bullets to her head and her body blown to smithereens with military-grade C4 plastic explosives in a forest clearing near Puncak Alam (where forensic experts later found DNA traces of at least half a dozen other unidentified murder victims).

Two of Altantuya's abductors, Chief Inspector Azilah and Corporal Sirul, were found guilty of premeditated murder after a ridiculously tedious trial that dragged on 159 days. Musa Safri, their commanding officer and security chief to Najib Razak was not required to even testify. Nor was the Head of Immigration called to the stand to explain how details of three Mongolian women's arrival in Malaysia sometime in September 2006 had been completely deleted from the Immigration Department's computer database.

Indeed, on 23 August 2013, Azilah and Sirul were acquitted and released by an Appeals Court, which declared that the prosecution's case was fatally flawed. Although Sirul Azahar had earlier confessed to committing the atrocity under instruction from Chief Inspector Azilah, with an offer of RM100,000 as reward, both killers now roam free.

Needless to say, Najib Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were never investigated and were deliberately omitted from the witness list. For full details of this sordid saga, click on all the embedded links.

In a land where justice hides in shame, there can be no future worth anticipating.

I have posthumously adopted Altantuya Shaariibuu as my soul-sister and vow to keep her memory alive - at least until the ones who ordered her gruesome murder are brought to justice and her spirit at last finds peace.


[First published 19 October 2010. Reposted 19 October 2013]

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Shaariibuu Setev, father of murdered Mongolian beauty Altantuya, wants to help connect the dots...

“I met her for the last time before she left for Malaysia and I asked her what was her travel purpose.  She showed me a picture of her, Najib Tun Razak and (political advisor) Abdul Razak Baginda which was taken in Paris. She pointed to Najib in the picture and told me she had something to decide with him. I told her that it was not worth it but she went anyway.” 

[Source: FreeMalaysiaToday. First posted 11 April 2012]

Mariam Mokhtar on Altantuya and P.I. Bala (repost)

As a special service to those who can't afford a Malaysiakini subscription or who may have missed this, I'm reproducing a well-crafted and important essay from Mariam Mokhtar...

Altantuya and PI Bala: A story that won't sink
Mariam Mokhtar
July 12, 2010

People want to know about the events that occurred in the months leading up to the murder of the Mongolian translator Altantuya Shaariibuu (left) in October 2006; but the investigation into her death was never intended to reveal the truth.

Those at the top realise that an inquiry helps to calm the public and presents a platform for disseminating the official version. Thus, the public never learns about the hidden web of political patronage, secret alliances and shared interests.

When the private investigator P Balasubramaniam (Bala) discovered that his testimony as a witness in Altantuya's murder was not revealed, and the evidence suppressed, he felt it necessary to make a statutory declaration (SD). His family was then threatened and his silence bought in order for him to retract his SD. The day after, he issued a sanitised version of the SD.

The press conference in London, on July 7, held by Bala and his team of lawyers, was supposed to be a platform to discuss issues raised during a scheduled interview of Bala by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). When the MACC cancelled at the last minute, their non-appearance generated more questions than answers.

When nothing new was reported at the press conference on July 7, the public reaction, gleaned from the feedback of the online news portals, was astounding. These ranged from indifference to incredulity.

Did they want Bala to produce the bullets which killed Altantuya? Did they really expect him to produce films of her body being blown apart in the jungle?

Maybe they should reflect on the various links that point to the top, rather than expect drama.

The people involved - chief inspector Azilah Hadri, corporal Sirul Azhar Umar (two of Najib's bodyguards who were later sentenced to death for Altantuya's murder), Nasir Safar (Najib's aide seen outside Abdul Razak Baginda's house the night of Altantuya's abduction), Abdul Razak Baginda (Najib's personal confidante and friend) and Musa Safri (Najib's ADC) - all have links to the PM.

Amongst other things, the police recorded no less than five statements from Bala, but all the references to the PM have been deleted.

Why was Altantuya silenced?

Was Altantuya silenced because she pointed out that these submarines were faulty? Did she realise that we were paying billions for useless submarines? These deals were done when Najib was defence minister.

Alternatively perhaps, she overlooked serious defects in the submarines.

Later, during the trial for Altantuya's murder, Burmaa Oyunchimeg (right), Altantuya's cousin, read out a hand-written letter to the court that is believed to have been Altantuya's final note. It said, “is powerfull person, he have money, he have connection in police, in government. He trying to scare me, trying to kill me.” [sic]

If Altantuya's command of English was good, why would she write in pidgin English? Did she really write the message and has a handwriting expert verified this? Altantuya's cousin testified that she had seen a picture of Najib together with the dead woman. However, she was quickly hushed by both defence and prosecution lawyers and the picture has not been produced. Why?

Altantuya's immigration details were erased from the system. Who has that kind of authority?

After the press conference in London, Bala says that he has no regrets and that his conscience is clear. He did, however, express one disappointment: “Those working for Najib don't want the truth to prevail.”

Despite the crucial inquiry behind Bala's statutory declarations and the substandard submarines, we must not be distracted from seeking justice for Altantuya.

Altantuya's children and parents need closure. Bala and his family are forced to live in exile. They want to return home. And the Malaysians are demanding that justice is served.

Malaysians are wondering why so much of their money was wasted on these Scorpene submarines. In addition, the administration is seemingly dragging its feet in dispensing justice; the public are now demanding a change of government.

If Abdul Razak Baginda (right) had immediate access to the corridors of power, why did he need a private investigator, Bala, masquerading as a bouncer to protect him from Altantuya? Surely a quick phone call would ensure that Altantuya could be jailed for public disorder or harassment, or at worst be deported by immigration?

Bala a fall-guy?

It is probable that the plan to kill Altantuya was conceived weeks before her death and involved a fall-guy, Bala, who was hired ostensibly to protect Abdul Razak Baginda.

It was reported that Bala and his assistant had already harassed Altantuya six or seven times after their arrival in Malaysia on Oct 8, 2006. There would have been telephone records or witness reports of Bala intimidating Altantuya. These would probably have been used against him in the trumped-up murder charge.

It is highly likely that this plan was poorly executed, with plenty of loose-ends. In addition, the unforeseen appearance of Altantuya's cousins and the underpaid taxi-driver, who corroborated the cousins' evidence, messed things up. Bala should consider himself lucky for he has escaped with his life, albeit one in exile.

Even if we were to ignore Bala, Najib, Razak Baginda, the submarines and the distasteful aspects of this case, we must not overlook the fact that one girl was killed in suspicious circumstances.

Who speaks for Altantuya? Who will avenge her death?

After the press conference, Bala was asked what he wished would happen next. He said, “I want the Malaysian public to know the truth.”

This case covers France, Mongolia and Malaysia; it has yet to reach its climax. If there is nothing to hide, then why are many things kept secret? It is an important question to which the Malaysian people have yet to receive an answer.

It is also a case that is worthy of Miss Marple.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In 'real-speak', this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.

Najib, Rosmah, Baginda, Deepak mentioned in Bala's French probe

[First posted 14 July 2010]

8 years on, Altantuya's bigwig killers stay elusive to the law but we all know who they are! ~ by KP Chee

The three accused arriving at court (photo: AFP)
Despite a detailed confession of pre-meditated murder from Sirul Azhar bin Haji Umar (IC No: RF12559) recorded in Police Report No: 7380/06 on 9 November 2006 at 1635 hrs by Inspector Nom Phot a/l Prack Dit, the Court of Appeal on 23 August 2013 decided to let both Sirul Azhar and his instigator Capt. Azilah Hadri walk free.

Sirul Azhar (left) & Azilah Hadri 
It has been established that Capt. Azilah Hadri was from the elite UTK (Special Operations Unit of the Royal Malaysian Police) and had served as personal bodyguard to then defence minister and deputy prime minister Najib Razak. He was summoned by Najib’s ADC and security chief, DSP Musa Safri, after Abdul Razak Baginda reported to his close friend and biggest client Najib Razak, that he was being harassed relentlessly by a very determined Mongolian woman demanding her share of a RM540 million kickback from a top secret French submarine deal.

Sirul Azhar stated in his police statement that he was recruited by Azilah to assist in “taking care” of a nuisance named Aminah alias Altantuya Shaariibuu. He even added that a cash reward of RM50,000 –100,000 was involved. I doubt Sirul knew who had made the offer, and even if he did, whatever name he mentioned would have been deleted from his statement by police officers eager to protect the VVIPs in Umno Baru.

'Taken care' of at least 6 others

The third accused in the gruesome murder trial was Abdul Razak Baginda who submitted a sworn affidavit to the effect that he had briefed Capt. Azilah Hadri on the problem of Altantuya. Razak Baginda said Capt. Azilah had assured him he was quite up to the task, even boasting that he had previously “taken care” of at least six others.

Nobody in their right mind would confess to cold-blooded murder - more so when the victim is unknown to them and happens to be a pretty woman given the brush-off by some well-heeled and politically connected casanova. Altantuya was obviously not a hardcore criminal. Who would have had the heart to shoot her twice in the head point blank even as she was pleading for her life – and that of her unborn child? Whatever crime she might have committed, blackmail for example, she deserved her day in court. Every policeman knows that – or should in any case.

Altantuya Shaariibuu in Europe with Razak Baginda
However, Capt. Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar weren’t ordinary cops. They were commandos with the UTK, trained as crack sharpshooters and willing to carry out orders without question. Whose orders? Surely they would not obey Abdul Razak Baginda – a mere civilian, albeit one with political clout? The orders had to come from a superior police officer, in this instance Najib Razak’s ADC, former DSP Musa Safri, who has since been promoted and transferred to a different state.

Political masters must take the ultimate responsibility

"Could do with more kickback"
Why was Musa Safri never called as a witness during the trial, which ran a record 159 days? He was security chief and ADC to Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor. Whatever action he took would have been at their behest, in the interest of their personal security. DSP Musa Safri was clearly a loyal servant to his political masters. They are ones who must accept ultimate responsibility for the actions of their loyal servants – particularly if these actions involved abduction and cold-blooded murder, topped by the use of military-grade plastic explosives to destroy evidence of a dead body carrying an unborn child.

We must not forget that somebody in the Immigration Department deliberately deleted from the computer database all entry records of Altantuya Shaariibuu and her companions. Who would have the authority to order such a criminal act? In October 2006 when the drama unfolded the Ministry of Home Affairs (which controls the Immigration Department) had recently been restructured and, although Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad was nominally in charge, it was a period of confusion without clear lines of command.

There must be someone very high in the power hierarchy to accomplish these grievous misdeeds without a hitch (almost). Who does all the evidence point to? Who is the common denominator in this complex web of intrigue?

Was Rosmah really not at the scene? Or was she?

Altantuya Shaariibuu (6 May 1978 – 20 October 2006)
Abdul Razak Baginda had friends in powerful places but maintained a relatively low public profile. He had little to lose except his reputation if his sordid affair with Altantuya became public knowledge - apart from facing the wrath of his wife, Mazlinda Makhzan (a director in the company involved with the submarine deal). Even if this scandal resulted in an investigation by the MACC, it would have been a routine matter to get the case closed after the excitement had subsided.

Same goes for the uniformed personnel involved in the case. Musa Safri may have been guilty of abetting a serious crime, but as a typical Malay police officer whose loyalty to his Tuan Besar superseded his duty as a public servant, he would have received a measure of sympathy had he confessed his role and cleared the path for justice to be served. Capt. Azilah and Sirul were clearly implicated, via Sirul’s confession as well as the detailed statutory declaration signed by private investigator Balasubramaniam a/l Perumal. However, their role was essentially to carry out somebody else’s dirty work.

Raja Petra Kamarudin
In a statutory declaration signed on 18 June 2008 by Raja Petra Kamarudin (the controversial blogger and editor of newsportal Malaysia Today better known as RPK), several others were implicated in the sensational murder. Indeed, RPK’s declaration revealed that Najib’s ambitious wife Rosmah Mansor may have been at the murder scene, along with two high-ranking officers attached to the defence ministry’s engineering corps, Lt Kol, Abdul Aziz Buyong and his wife Lt Kol. Norhayati Hassan, both experts in the use of C4 explosives. RPK claimed he had been given this shocking information by a senior Military Intelligence officer.

RPK subsequently retracted his statutory declaration in April 2011 in a heavily edited interview with TV3, a government-friendly station, explaining that he cannot be certain if what he heard was actually true. His excuse was that he felt it was his duty as a citizen to make public what he had been told in confidence. Others saw it as a clue that RPK might have been instigated into filing his June 2008 declaration by factions focused on derailing Najib Razak’s prime ministerial aspirations.

Who has been leaking the info?

Within Umno Baru there are many who would like to see Najib Razak and his influential wife removed from the game – and the Altantuya scandal serves as the perfect weapon.

Three names immediately spring to mind: Mahathir Mohamad, whose primary goal is to ensure that his youngest son, Mukhriz, eventually becomes prime minister; Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, who has been eyeing the PM’s post since the mid-1980s; and Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib’s deputy, who certainly wouldn’t mind a shot at taking over as Top Gun.

While an in-depth inquiry into the Altantuya murder would have revealed the fact that the Scorpene submarine scam was first mooted in 2002, during Mahathir’s tenure, Najib Razak would definitely be implicated as he was then Mahathir’s defence minister.

Abdul Razak Baginda, according to P.I. Bala’s explosive statutory declaration of 3 July 2008, had been introduced to Altantuya Shaariibuu by his buddy Najib Razak at a diamond expo in Singapore. In an unguarded moment, Razak Baginda had confided to his private eye that Najib could not afford a major scandal after being appointed deputy prime minister, only one step from the top. So he wanted Razak Baginda to take over the role of sugar daddy to his high-maintenance Mongolian paramour.

It is public knowledge that Najib Razak has always had an eye for beautiful women. This weakness is every public figure’s Achilles’ Heel – especially in a political jungle acrawl with hidden predators and a culture supercharged with hypocrisy and false piety.

Hotbed of intrigue

Dr Shaariibuu Setev, father of the murdered girl
With such colossal amounts of money involved, Umno Baru qualifies as a hotbed of intrigue. Parry and thrust, bribery and threat, playing one faction against another – these are par for the course in our benighted political milieu. Nobody wants to risk losing everything, so marriages of convenience, cynical pragmatism, and political trade-offs become the norm. Who cares about the truth? It’s all a matter of perception anyhow, and that’s where the professional spin-doctors come in. Who cares about justice? It can be bought and sold if you have deep pockets.

Umno Baru has sunk up to its tall songkok in a quagmire of deceit and a conspiracy of silence. While some may be happy to see Najib and Rosmah brought down and taken off the game board, there are others who fear losing power completely in the event of an ugly leadership tussle. They would rather serve a tainted leader who can offer them perks – than a clean one who might immediately sack them for incompetence and greed.

A nation that closes its eye to cold-blooded murder

In happier days: Altantuya with her firstborn
And so, eight years after her cruel and unnecessary death at the hands of ruthless mobsters posing as the government of Malaysia, Altantuya Shaariibuu’s ghost has yet to be appeased. The deafening silence surrounding this nightmarish episode reveals a conspiracy at the highest levels of power – and the entire Barisan Nasional federal government is, in fact, guilty of complicity in first-degree murder.

Since the government is supposed to represent the whole nation, every Malaysian will suffer the same curse – until we reclaim our collective conscience and our pride as citizens of a nation gone horribly wrong. Is that what we deserve after 56 years of nationhood – to be seen as a gigantic crime syndicate of congenital liars, hypocrites, thieves, rapists, and murderers?

[From Malaysia Chronicle, 28 October 2013. First posted 13 January 2014]