Sunday, June 5, 2011

A Love Song for Altantuya...

Well, folks, fasten your seat belts. Some massive turbulence ahead... when the case filed in Paris by SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia, a leading human rights organization) to investigate the astronomical kickbacks involved in Malaysia's purchase of French-made Scorpene submarines between 2002 and 2005, reaches full trial in the coming weeks.

It was an inspired move on the part of SUARAM, because no serious investigation would have been possible in Malaysia, where the defence minister involved in these shady deals has now been promoted to prime minister. Everybody knows all law enforcement agencies in Malaysia are under the direct control of the executive - specifically the prime minister's department and the home ministry. The present home minister happens to be Najib Razak's boorish cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein.

The shadow of unavoidable suspicion still dogs Najib Razak's every step. None of this would have become front-page news had it not been for the gruesome murder of 28-year-old Mongolian beauty, Altantuya Shaariibuu, on 20 October 2006 - who was shot twice in the head and her body blown to smithereens with military-grade C4 explosives in a forested area known as Puncak Alam, near Kuala Lumpur.

Two police officers attached to the Unit Tindakan Khas (Special Action Unit) who, at the time of the murder, had served as personal bodyguards to Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor, were charged with the macabre murder of the Mongolian woman and found guilty in April 2009 after a ponderous and farcical trial during which both the defence and prosecution took extraordinary pains to keep Najib Razak and his security chief Musa Safri from testifying.

Najib's close friend Abdul Razak Baginda, a special advisor to the defence ministry, was deeply involved in the submarine purchase. He was arrested in connection with the Altantuya murder and admitted in an affidavit that she had been his mistress for a couple of years and that she had served as a translator during the negotiations in Paris. Trial judge Zaki Yasin acquitted Abdul Razak Baginda, who swiftly relocated to the U.K. with his family.

The faces of the two policemen sentenced to death have never been revealed to the public, as the judge allowed them to cover their heads throughout the prolonged trial. Najib Razak swore on the Koran in August 2008 that he had never met "that Mongolian woman." He did not mention her by name.

However, on 3 July 2008, private investigator Balasubramaniam Perumal had issued an explosive statutory declaration: he had been engaged by Abdul Razak Baginda to keep Altantuya from bothering his client. Bala indicated in his signed declaration that Baginda had briefed him thoroughly on the situation. The background to the messy affair was that Altantuya Shaariibuu had been Najib Razak's mistress until 2004 when he became deputy prime minister, in addition to being defence minister. Najib, wishing to avoid scandal in his new high profile position, had coaxed his buddy Baginda to "look after" Altantuya.

A day later Bala Perumal appeared sullen and ashen-faced at a hastily convened media conference in a hotel at which an unknown lawyer claiming to represent Bala announced that his client had recanted his first statutory declaration and issued a new one wherein all references to Najib Razak had been surgically excised. Immediately afterwards, Bala Perumal vanished from sight and did not reappear until November 2009 when he recorded an interview with three veteran lawyers narrating his harrowing adventures following his 3 July statutory declaration.

According to Bala, he had been escorted by business associates of Rosmah Mansor (Najib's wife) to meet Nazim Razak, younger brother of Najib, who instructed him to accept a "special arrangement" if he valued the lives of his wife and children. Under this arrangement Bala was to leave Malaysia with his family and keep a low profile until after Najib Razak had been appointed the sixth prime minister. He and his family would be comfortably supported with a payment of RM5 million.

Corruption, sex, blackmail, abduction, murder, cover-ups, criminal intimidation, judicial interference, dirty deals... welcome to Bolehsia! Will Najib Razak and his moribund political party, UMNO, survive whatever fresh evidence surfaces during the upcoming corruption trial in Paris?

Well, if they do... it would mean the end of all decency, justice, freedom, truth and wise governance in Malaysia. We shall all turn into moral zombies and our beloved land will be renamed Mordoria....

Folks, a hearty round of applause to Dr Kua Kia Soong and his dedicated staff at SUARAM. They will require an injection of money to pay their legal representatives in France. I've already donated to SUARA INISIATIF SDN BHD's Hong Leong Bank account # 03000065200. Please do your bit to restore justice, accountability and human decency to this country. Thank you.