KUALA LUMPUR: Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has vowed to take an oath in the mosque to deny allegations that he had ordered the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (Dec 18), Najib said he will swear an oath, known as sumpah laknat, at Masjid Jamek in Kampung Baru after the Friday prayers this week.
“I intend to take a sumpat laknat to deny the allegations in the statutory declaration issued by Azilah Hadri,” he wrote.
When a Muslim performs a sumpah laknat, he is making a sacred pledge of oath that he is telling the truth, and he is willing to accept a curse if he is lying.
On Monday, Azilah, a former cop who is on a death row, made a shocking revelation that he had acted on the orders of then deputy prime minister Najib to arrest and destroy Altantuya, a “foreign spy”.
He claimed that Najib indicated a “slit the throat” gesture when instructing him to “shoot to kill” Altantuya in 2006.
In response, Najib had dismissed Azilah’s allegations as Pakatan Harapan’s plot to discredit him and to silence him.
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 Najib from 2000 to 2008.
Following her death, Azilah and fellow cop Sirul Azhar Umar, both members of the police’s elite Special Actions Unit (UTK), were sentenced to death in 2009.
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.
READ: Ex-Najib bodyguard held over Altantuya's grisly murder loses Australian asylum bid
Azilah filed the statutory declaration in seeking the Federal Court to review its decision in the conviction and the death sentence. He is also seeking a retrial.
The court has fixed Apr 20 to hear his application, and Najib had said that would file his own application to intervene in Azilah's review application.
Hinting that Azilah’s application was politically-charged, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told Malaysian media on Tuesday that a “VVIP” had met Azilah outside the Sungai Buloh prison in February.
“I can’t say (who it is).
“A VVIP outside of prison! Not in prison. When he is on death row, that is a breach of protocol,” he claimed, according to the Star.
The Prisons Department, however, refuted his claims, adding that it had never escorted Azilah out this year.
“The last time he was brought of the prison was Apr 15, 2015, and that was to attend a court hearing in Sepang,” the department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Based on records, Azilah was visited by his family members 34 times and his lawyers 15 times in the past one year.
“Therefore, statement claiming Azilah was taken out of the Kajang Prison this year to meet a VVIP is unfounded,” the department added.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad has denied that the government is behind Azilah's allegations.
In a statement, the Prime Minister's Office noted there have been attempts to allude Dr Mahathir was the VVIP who met Azilah in February this year.
"The Office of the Prime Minister wishes to categorically state that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has never met former police commando Azilah Hadri, since the latter's imprisonment for the murder of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu."
The government would leave the matter to the relevant authorities to decide on the course of action, it added.