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Altantuya murder: Ex-aide's testimony irrelevant, says Gani Patail

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 09:18 PM PDT

(The Star) - Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has maintained that the testimony of DSP Musa Safri, the former aide of then deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, had no relevance as the whole narrative of the prosecution's case has unfolded in the trial before the High Court.

"While respecting the Court of Appeal, the Attorney-General's Chamber for prosecution is dissatisfied with the decision as non-direction or misdirection by the trial court is not the fault of the prosecution," he said in a press statement.

As such, he said, the prosecution will file an appeal on the acquittal of former Special Action Force duo C/Insp Azilah Hadri and Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar by the Court of Appeal for the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The three-member panel of the Court of Appeal on Friday overturned the High Court's conviction of the two police officers.

The panel comprising Justices Mohamed Apandi Ali, Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat, had ruled that the cumulative effect of the misdirections by the trial judge had rendered the judgement unsafe.

The panel concluded that the trial judge had erred by not examining whether the contradictions and inconsistencies in the evidence of the prosecution witnesses were material.

In regards to the explosives, they ruled that after linking the explosives to the death of Altantuya, the trial judge should have made a further finding to connect the explosives to the appellants.


Karpal to call Najib and Musa Safri in Altantuya civil suit

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 03:42 PM PDT

(TMI) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his former aide-de-camp DSP Musa Safri will be subpoenaed to testify in the civil suit filed by Altantuya Shaariibuu's father, Setev.

Counsel Karpal Singh (pic), who is holding a watching brief for Setev, said he will push for the suit to be heard soon.

Setev filed a RM100-million civil suit against Abdul Razak Baginda, Azilah Hadri, Sirul Azhar Umar and the Malaysian government in June 2007.

The suit had been put on hold pending the appeal filed by Azilah and Sirul. Both policemen were acquitted today while Razak, who was charged with abetting the two, was acquitted in October 2008.

"We will now call the prime minister and Musa. Musa could not have acted on his own," Karpal said in Shah Alam today.

Karpal said despite Azilah's and Sirul's acquittal, Setev still has a recourse in the civil suit.

"This will be a chance to establish guilt on the balance of probability," he said.

"I will now have to activate the suit to have the case fixed for case management."

However, he said there was still a possibility the case would remain on hold pending an appeal by the Attorney-General's Chambers following today's ruling.

When asked if the acquittal would have a bearing in the civil suit, Karpal said, "Yes. But we still have this avenue to hold them liable. Take American footballer OJ Simpson's case. He was acquitted for murdering his wife, but was later found liable in the civil suit for her death and was ordered to pay damages.

"This (referring to Altantuya's case) is a serious matter. Someone comes to our country, gets blown up and end of the day, no one is held liable."

Karpal also took a swipe at the prosecution team handling the case.

"They should be held liable for the defects," he said referring to several points which were raised by the Court of Appeal bench in their judgment this morning.

"It just shows they are not up to mark." 


Read more here: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/karpal-to-call-najib-and-musa-safri-in-civil-suit?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+tmi%2Fnews%2Fallnews+(TMI+-+All+News) 

Altantuya murder: Sirul, Azilah walk free

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 03:41 PM PDT

Court of Appeal said that the High Court judge failed to establish facts and the prosecution did not produce a key material witness.

K. Pragalath, FMT

In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal released two former policemen who were sentenced to death by the High Court for murdering Mongolian national, Altantuya Shaariibuu.

"There are gaps in the evidence submitted and there is no sufficient evidence that links the accused to the crime as required under Section 27 of the Police Act," judge Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat said while reading the gist of the judgment.

"The learned High Court judge also failed to establish the links the jewellery found on Altantuya to the two accused," she said.

The other judges presiding the case were Apandi Ali and Linton Albert.

Tengku Maimun added that the High Court judge also failed to establish the credibility of the prosecution witnesses. The judges also found that the High Court failed to establish a common intent on the part of the defendants.

In a 4-page summary judgment, the court ruled that the High Court judge had misdirected himself in convicting them.

Justice Tengku Maimun, who read out the judgment, said the trial judge had misdirected himself by way of non-direction in failing to consider the station diary and in failing to make a finding whether the defence had cast a reasonable doubt on the prosecutions's case that Azilah who was the first accused in the case, was at the scene of the crime.

Justice Tengku Maimun said on Azilah Hadri's defence alibi, the court did not find anywhere in the trial judge's grounds of judgment that he had considered whether the station diary showed or tend to show that Azilah's presence at Bukit Aman at the material time and he could not be or was unlikely to be at the crime scene.

"Looking at the whole circumstances of this case, it is our judgment that the cumulative effect of the non-directions by the learned trial judge rendered the conviction of the appellants unsafe. We, unanimously allow both appeals," said Justice Tengku Maimun.

Ex-Special Action Unit personnel Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar and Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri were arrested seven years ago for Altantuya's murder.  The courtroom was silent today when the judge delivered the judgment while Azilah, 34, and Sirul Azhar, 39, looked calm after the verdict.

Sirul and Azilah were found guilty and sentenced to death in 2009 for murdering Altantuya, in Shah Alam in October 2006.

Two months ago the Court of Appeal had allowed the duo to appeal against the sentencing.

Sirul's lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin questioned whether the High Court was influenced by "adverse publicity" and "real and possible danger" which could have influenced the decision which was prejudicial against Sirul.

Kamarul Hisham also had applied to include additional documents in their appeal.

The third accused in this case – former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda – who was charged for abetting with the duo was acquitted on Oct 31, 2008 , due to the prosecution's failure to establish a prima facie case.

Material witness

Commenting on the judgment, Azilah's lawyer Hazman Ahmad was glad that the court accepted the defence's argument.

"There were many issues that we raised in the High Court that were not addressed.

"For example. the Celcom call log did not prove that my client was at the murder scene. We also had an alibi that my client was at Bukit Aman at the time of the murder.

He added that there was no proof that indicated that Altantuya was murdered using C4 explosives.

Kamarul Hisham, meanwhile, pointed out that the prosecution's failure to call DSP Musa Safri was the prosecution's undoing.

"The calling of DSP Musa Safri could have explained a lot of issues. It affected the prosecution's case.

Azilah's fiancee, Nor Azilah Baharudin, 35, who was met outside the courtroom was happy with the verdict.

"It has been seven years. We knew he would be released," said the fiancee who works as an operations manager in a private company.

Meanwhile, Deputy Solicitor General Tun Majid Tun Hamzah confirmed that the prosecution team would be appealing against the acquittal.



‘So who killed Altantuya?’

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 03:23 PM PDT

The verdict on the two former policemen illustrates the failure of the system, says Lawyers for Liberty's N Surendran, who is also a PKR leader.

Alyaa Azhar and Leven Woon, FMT

Lawyers for Liberty (LFL) has termed the release of the two policemen involved in the Altantuya Shaariibuu case as a 'national embarrassment'.

LFL member and PKR vice president N Surendran labelled the Court of Appeal ruling this morning as such and said the verdict was expected.

"We expected this from the beginning since it was a set-up to hide the truth and protect the guilty," he said.

"The bottom line is, she was murdered in the most gruesome and brutal manner and after so many years, no one has been held accountable or found guilty," said the Padang Serai MP.

The PKR vice-president then said the verdict was a "national embarrassment and a complete failure of the system".

"The system has failed because there is no attempt to find out who the real perpetrators are.

"It is a national embarrassment and this will make international news, especially since it involves a foreign national," he said.

'So who killed Altantuya?'

Fellow LFL lawyer and PKR leader Latheefa Koya raised the question of who then, killed, Altantuya?

"So the question now is, who actually killed Altantuya? If they [the two former policemen] did not do it, then who did?

"We cannot help but wonder what really is going on. The matter is shocking, we would like to know who killed Altantuya," she said.

The same question was also raised by Suaram secretariat member Cynthia Gabriel.

"This shocking verdict throws open the murder of Altantuya into scrutiny. So who killed her?

"How were the C4 explosives obtained? It is not like you can get C4 at 7-11 stores," she said.

Gabriel then asked the pertinent question, similarly with Latheefa: "Who is responsible now for Altantuya's death?"

"The verdict this morning calls for nothing short of full and fresh investigations into Altantuya's death .

"Only an independent inquiry will suffice as Malaysians have lost faith in the justice system of the country," she said, adding that Suaram also asks if Altantuya's brutal murder was linked to the corruption allegations in the Scorpene deal.

Altantuya was brutally murdered with military explosive C4 in 2006 when she came to Malaysia with her two companions.

She was claimed to be on intimate terms with Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his confidant Abdul Razak Baginda and her visit to Malaysia was linked to her demand for commissions in helping Malaysia's government to secure two French-made Scorpene submarine.

The late private investigator P Balasubramaniam had made a statutory declaration (SD) claiming that Najib was linked to the Altantuya's murder. He had then retracted the SD, only to backtrack again before his sudden death earlier this year.

Sirul and Azilah were members of elite Unit Tindakan Khas (police's special action force) and were assigned to be Najib's bodyguards. They were found guilty for murder and sentenced to death in 2009.



So, who killed Altantuya? And why?

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 03:19 PM PDT


(TMI) - Seven years on, no one has paid the price for the death of Altantuya Shaariibuu. And no one knows why the pretty Mongolian was killed one night in October 2006.

But today's Court of Appeal decision does not close the file on her mysterious murder.

Instead, the ruling to acquit former chief inspector Azilah Hadri and former corporal Sirul Azhar Umar raises more questions than ever.

Who killed her? Why?

She was shot dead and C4 explosives were allegedly used to blow her to bits but both police commandos said they had no access to the explosives. So what happened? Were there others involved?

She came into the country but there were no immigration records with her name. Did she use another passport? Can the authorities explain this?

Some of these questions could have been answered if the likes of DSP Musa Safri had been called to give evidence.

The prosecution did not call him and the appeal court today allowed the appeal because material witnesses were not called to testify, including Musa.

Musa would have been able to say what sort of help political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda had asked of him to fend off Altantuya.

The interpreter had become Abdul Razak's lover but later hounded him. He had to hire private investigator P. Balasubramaniam to keep watch on her. When Altantuya turned up that fateful night on October 19, 2006, the policemen took her away and that was the last time she was seen alive.

What followed rocked Malaysia's political establishment. Abdul Razak was held in connection with the murder and both police commandos Azilah and Sirul were later charged for Altantuya's murder.



Dr Mahathir replies to Pak Lah's "spendthrift PM" claim

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:42 PM PDT


(The Star) - Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has finally cleared the air over claims in a book by his successor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi that Malaysia would have gone bankrupt if his advice was followed.

Taking to his blog chedet.cc on Thursday, the fourth Prime Minister for 22 years, however, noted that he was happy that Abdullah had explained in his book, The Awakening, that it was not him, but an interviewer, who wrote about how the nation would be bankrupt if he had followed the advice.

"I hope he does not mind my clearing my name over what the interviewer wrote," he wrote.

Dr Mahathir said: "Yes, I agree that I was a spendthrift Prime Minister who finished all the government money building the North South Expressway, Penang Bridge, West Port, KLIA, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya and an assortment of others."

He said had Abdullah succeeded him earlier, "all these would be stopped to save Malaysia from bankruptcy."

As it is, he said, Abdullah managed to stop the crooked bridge and the railway double-tracking and electrification project.

He said the bridge would have cost just under RM1bil. The cancellation cost the Government RM200mil in compensation and unfinished work.

Dr Mahathir said the railway project from Johor Baru to Padang Besar was going to cost RM14bil – slightly more than RM2bil per year for six years. RM14bil was saved but then it was found necessary to build the electrified double track from Ipoh to Padang Besar, he added, at a cost of RM12bil.

"A contract was given to a foreign company to build the track from Seremban to Gemas. I don't know what it cost. Looks like the RM14bil saved was spent on very much shorter tracks, about one-third in length. Still there must have been a lot of money saved," he said.

Dr Mahathir said the small jet he used was good only for the Deputy Prime Minister while a big jet was bought not through the usual channels but by some private individual. 

"There was denial by the Government that the A320 was bought for the use by the Prime Minister. But the aircraft is even today used by the Prime Minister. Wonder why the deal was struck. Who really owns the aircraft? How much money has been saved by the Government from this deal?," he said.

Touching on the economic super-corridors initiated by Abdullah, Dr Mahathir said each corridor would cost RM70bil. 

"Then it is learnt that the allocation include private sector investments. Before, the Government budget is about how the Government will spend Government money. Under Tun Abdullah the Government budgets for the private sector to spend. But that's allright because the figures look good," he added.

However, since none of the corridors took off, billions were saved, he said.

"It must have been a very rich Government which went for the 12th General Election. Sadly the people did not appreciate the billions that were saved. They rejected the Government party, giving 5 states and one federal territory to the opposition, and just a small majority to the thrifty party.

"Just imagine how many billions more would be saved if I had stepped down earlier before building the North-South Highway, Penang Bridge, KLIA, West Port, Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, the twin towers of Petronas and a host of other mega projects. We would be sitting on a mountain of Ringgits," he said.


Altantuya murder: Court of Appeal frees cops

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:36 PM PDT


(MM) - The three-person panel which included Justices Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled that the cumulative effect of the misdirections by the trial judge had rendered the judgement unsafe.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of two officers accused of the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.

The panel chaired by Justice Mohamed Apandi Ali allowed the appeal of the two for­mer Spe­cial Ac­tion Unit person­nel members, sparing them from the gallows.

The three-person panel which included Justices Linton Albert and Tengku Maimun Tuan Mat ruled that the cumulative effect of the misdirections by the trial judge had rendered the judgement unsafe.

"Thus with this, we acquit and discharge the two appellants," said Justice Tengku Maimun.

The family and supporters of the accused were seen sighing in relief, and uttering thanks when they heard the judgement, while the appellants remained stoic in the dock.

However, the government can still appeal Friday's decision at the Federal Court. 

In 2009, Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar and C/Insp Azi­lah Hadri were convicted and sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court for killing the Mongolian woman at Mukim Bukit Raja, Klang, be­tween 10pm on Oct 19, 2006, and 1am on Oct 20, 2006.

For­mer po­lit­i­cal an­a­lyst Ab­dul Razak Baginda Baginda, who was jointly charged with them, was ac­quit­ted of by the High Court on Oct 31, 2008, after the pros­e­cu­tion failed to es­tab­lish a prima fa­cie case against him.

Deputy Solicitor General II Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah lead the prosecution, while Kpl Sirul and C/Insp Azilah were represented by Kamarul Hisham and Datuk Hazman Ahmad, respectively. 

With plenty to chew on, PM’s silence confounds Malaysians

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:33 PM PDT


(MM) - Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's silence as the country grapples with a trifecta of crime, religious strife and a stuttering economy three months after Election 2013 has Malaysians asking who is at the nation's helm, Singapore's The Straits Times reported today.

The Singapore daily contrasted this with Najib's gung-ho approach after taking over from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009, when he had set the foundation for his reformist image by freeing Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees and lifted the ban on two opposition party newsletters.

One analyst said Barisan Nasional (BN) was still reeling from the May 5 general election — its new low since the previous nadir of 2008.  

"Najib's Cabinet will need more than 100 days to settle in because of the aftershocks still being felt," Dr Syed Arabi Idid, dean of the communications department at the International Islamic University Malaysia, was quoted as saying by the ST.

Today is the Najib Cabinet's 100th day in power, following their swearing in on May 16. Najib was sworn in as prime minister one day after the election, on May 6.

Others believe the reticence this time around may be due to the impending Umno election later this year, where a challenge may arise for Najib's presidency and, by extension, prime minister's post.

"Najib has been too preoccupied with defending his position in the Umno party elections, to the extent that there has been no clear direction in economic, political or nation-building policies," Seremban MP Anthony Loke, national organising secretary of the DAP, told the ST.

But whatever the reason for his silence, the country's issues continue to pile up.

Yesterday saw the renewal of the Christian-Muslim tussle over the Arabic word "Allah", when Putrajaya won leave to appeal a 2009 High Court ruling upholding the Catholic Church's right to use the word outside of a Muslim context.

Before that, other religious issues have built up the antagonism between Muslims and non-Muslims: a mock Ramadan message by a pair of sex bloggers, who have since been charged; a three-year old Aidilfitri video of a Muslim dog trainer and three pet-hounds that was recently reposted online; and a surau in Johor that was used a group of Buddhists.

Muslims have seen insult in each of the three cases.

The country is also transfixed with shootings and gun violence, with near-daily incidents reported in the media. The police have finally launched a nationwide crackdown on the gangs they allege are behind the incidents, arresting hundreds in the process.

But most worrying for the country is Malaysia's recent credit outlook downgrade by Fitch Ratings. Although some analysts have described the move as unsurprising, it had brought the country's finances directly into public's attention.

The country is now into its 16th straight year of budget deficits, with the national debt level pushing on the legal ceiling of 55 per cent of gross domestic product.

The situation is compounded by a capital flight from emerging markets, with foreign investors withdrawing their funds and repatriating these to their home nations in the West.

It is also feared that Malaysia is set to record a trade deficit — the first since the Asian financial crisis — after its current account surplus dropped in April to its lowest since the 1997 crash. 

Ringgit Declines to Lowest Since 2010, Bonds Drop on Fed Outlook

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 12:25 PM PDT


(Bloomberg) - Malaysia's ringgit fell to the weakest level since June 2010 and bonds declined after Federal Reserve minutes showed policy makers back Chairman Ben S. Bernanke's plan to cut stimulus, boosting demand for the dollar.

Ringgit forwards dropped the most in two months and the benchmark stock index slipped to the lowest since May, tracking a selloff across Asian markets. Fed members are "broadly comfortable" with the plan to reduce bond-buying later this year should the economy improve, according to the record of the July 30-31 meeting. Malaysia's current-account surplus fell to the least since at least 1999, data showed yesterday, while the central bank pared its 2013 growth forecast.

"The dollar was strong after the minutes," said Nizam Idris, the head of fixed income and currency strategy at Macquarie Bank Ltd. in Singapore. "The market is still worried and probably pricing in the potential for Malaysia's current account to fall into deficit."

The ringgit retreated 0.7 percent, the biggest drop since June 20, to 3.3180 per dollar as of 10:45 a.m. in Kuala Lumpur, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It touched 3.3220, the weakest since June 10, 2010. One-month implied volatility, a measure of expected moves in the exchange rate used to price options, rose 67 basis points to 10.41 percent.

One-month non-deliverable forwards dropped 1 percent to 3.3265 against the greenback, the lowest since June 2010 and 0.3 percent weaker than the spot rate. The Bloomberg U.S. Dollar Index climbed 0.3 percent to 1029.50, a two-week high.

Read more at: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-08-21/ringgit-declines-to-lowest-since-2010-bonds-drop-on-fed-outlook 

DAP to hold fresh polls on Sept 29

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 10:56 AM PDT


(FMT) - "The CEC held its meeting today and we have decided that our Special National Congress will be held on Sept 29. "We also decided that candidates of re-elections will be from the same list used in the 2012 National Congress, minus candidates who have withdrawn from the contest," said Lim, at a press conference held at the party headquarters today.

KUALA LUMPUR: DAP has fixed Sept 29  to hold their Central Executive Committee (CEC) re-election, which came about after a directive from the Registrar of Society (ROS).

In making the announcement today, DAP Secretary-General Lim Guan Eng also said  that their National Special Congress for the re-election will be held in the Klang Valley –' preferably in Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya area".

"The CEC held its meeting today and we have decided that our Special National Congress will be held on Sept 29.

"We also decided that candidates of re-elections will be from the same list used in the 2012 National Congress, minus candidates who have withdrawn from the contest," said Lim, at a press conference held at the party headquarters today.

The Bagan MP said that the party made the decision as there was no controversy over the list of nominated candidates, and that the ROS had only called for a re-election of the CEC.

"Also, the 17 delegates who were suspended or expelled by the party after the 2012 National Congress are now qualified to take part as well, if they choose to do so," said Lim.

He also announced that the election organising committee will be headed by Seremban MP Anthony Loke, while the appointed returning officer for the re-election is Serdang MP Ong Kian Meng.

Lim added the schedule for the party's parliamentary liaison committee and state ordinary conventions will be decided by the new CEC.

"The original schedule… to be held between August to December 2013 shall be postponed until a new date is fixed, when the new CEC is constituted."

Last week, DAP chairman Karpal Singh announced that the party would comply with the ROS directive under protest to avoid deregistration.

ROS had instructed DAP to hold fresh polls on July 31, saying that it was dissatisfied with the party's explanation on the counting error during the party polls in December.

The decision drew strong criticism from the opposition party, which cried foul over the lack of legal justifications behind the directive and likened it to political victimisation.

DAP's Concept Of Equality Drew Support From Non-Malay Voters In GE13

Posted: 22 Aug 2013 10:38 AM PDT


(BERNAMA) - Shahrir also pictured that PAS could be leaving the opposition pact in the GE14 as support for the Islamist party was declining including from its own members.

JOHOR BAHARU, Aug 22 (Bernama) -- The principle of equality championed by the DAP is seen as a factor that drew much support from non-Malay voters for the opposition party in the 13th General Election (GE13) on May 5.

Barisan Nasional (BN) Backbenchers Club chairman, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad said DAP emphasised on equality as they wanted to achieve the aim of making Malaysia a secular state.

"This had much influenced the non-Malay voters, especially the Chinese, in the DAP's efforts to create a tsunami to destroy Umno."

Shahrir said this in his speech on the theme, "The 14th General Election: Continuity of Barisan Nasional Power" at the first convention of the Malaysian Council of Former Elected Representatives (Mubarak), here, Thursday.

He said the opposition's campaign of "Anything But Umno" (ABU) had also raised the confidence of non-Malay voters that the opposition pact would be replacing BN as the ruling government after GE14.

Shahrir also pictured that PAS could be leaving the opposition pact in the GE14 as support for the Islamist party was declining including from its own members.

However, he said, this did not mean that it would benefit Umno and BN but would pose an even bigger challenge which Umno and BN must tackle wisely.

Shahrir, who is also Johor Baharu MP, suggested that in order to restore support for Umno and BN, the government show better governance before facing the GE14.

The pro-chancellor of Kolej Universiti Insaniah (KUIN), Kedah, Datuk Dr Affifudin Omar said Umno and BN became their own victim of bringing material development.

He said there were those among the younger generation who supported Umno merely to get projects for their own business and not to champion the party's real struggles.

Johor Islamic Religious Council adviser, Datuk Noh Gadut, meanwhile, said Umno and BN leaders must have a high level of integrity to rectify the situation they were in.

He reminded that the posts held by political leaders were not a privilege but a responsibility and trust that they must shoulder well.

Kredit: www.malaysia-today.net

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