KUALA LUMPUR: A former Malaysian policeman who was convicted of killing Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu claimed that he acted on the orders of then deputy prime minister Najib Razak, a shocking allegation dismissed by the latter as a conspiracy to defame him.
Azilah Hadri revealed in a statutory declaration dated Oct 17 that Najib had ordered him to “arrest and destroy” Altantuya – whom Najib described as a foreign spy – with an explicit “shoot to kill” message in 2006, Malaysiakini reported on Monday (Dec 16).
“I asked the DPM (deputy prime minister) what he meant by arrest and destroy the foreign spy, he responded: ‘Shoot to kill’, and indicating it with a ‘slit the throat’ gesture.
“When asked the purpose of destroying the foreign spy with explosives, the DPM replied: ‘Dispose of the foreign spy’s body with an explosive device to remove the traces and the explosives can be obtained from the UTK store (armoury),” read the statutory statement sighted by the news portal.
UTK refers to the elite Special Action Force of the police.
Azilah filed the statutory statement in seeking the Federal Court to review its decision in the conviction and the death sentence imposed on him and Sirul Azhar Umar, a fellow UTK personnel, in 2015.
He is also seeking a retrial. The court has fixed Tuesday for case management.
Altantuya was shot dead and her body blown up by military-grade C4 explosives in Shah Alam in 2006. She was said to be the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda, a political analyst who advised former Malaysia prime minister Najib Razak from 2000 to 2008.
Azilah and Sirul were convicted and sentenced to death by the Shah Alam High Court in 2009 for killing Altantuya between 10pm on Oct 19, 2006 and 1am on Oct 20, 2006.
The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision in August 2013, but the Federal Court later restored the conviction in 2015.
Sirul had fled to Australia while on bail in 2014.
In his statutory declaration, Azilah detailed how he met Najib in Pekan, Pahang, and received the verbal instruction to carry out the covert operation.
Altantuya was described by Najib as a “threat to national security”, Malaysiakini reported.
In an immediate response, Najib rubbished Azilah’s claims and alleged that it was a “new plot” created by the ruling Pakatan Haparan (PH) coalition that would pave the way for his arrest and imprisonment, so to silence him.
“PH is very fearful of the label of ‘one-term government’.
“Therefore, they need to create yet another new conspiracy to oppose and defame me,” he wrote on his Facebook.
The former prime minister, who is on trial for a slew of corruption charges linked to the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal, said the murder occurred 13 years ago and the death sentence was decided by the courts after years of proceedings.
Speaking to Malaysiakini, Najib asked: “Why did this information not come out earlier, and only now, more than a decade after her death and only after 19 months Harapan has been in power?”
“I believe this is a deal struck between the Harapan government and Azilah, with the latter’s death sentence being commuted or delayed in return.
“This is an attempt to distract attention and to hit out at me,” Najib said.