Hornbill Unleashed

March 11, 2012

Altantuya murder: The invisible hands and who had the most motive

Altantuya murder: The invisible hands and who had the most motive

K Suresh

Now that the written judgment on the sensational Altantuya Shaariibuu murder is out, Malaysians and non-Malaysians alike from all walks of life are not surprisingly venting their fury in cyberspace, the teh tarik mamakstalls and the warongs, among other places.

They want answers to several searching questions in the public mind: who gave the orders or directives if at all to the two co-accused, now found “guilty”, to blow up Altantuya with C4 charges in the middle of a jungle in Selangor?

One theory is that the duo may not have even been responsible for the killing, as charged, but scapegoats to avoid risking the real culprit or culprits inadvertently spilling the beans. Someone or some group may have decided that the duo was guilty anyway, for other similar killings which they had apparently bragged about, and it was time to erase orterminate them. Or, it could be that it would be very much easier for the duo to escape the gallows on appeal.

Both have no alibi and their testimonies merely contradicted each other. Their defense was an outright denial and there was no motive. So, they have been found guilty merely on circumstantial evidence, whether substantial or otherwise remain debatable, and the Judge curiously held that motive was not important.

Politics or the law at work?
Anyway, the politics surrounding the case called for someone to be found guilty despite the absence of the proverbial smoking gun. In short, it may have been politics rather than the law at work here. The Appeal Court is likely to find that the Judge erred in law when commenting on motive as not being exactly applicable in a murder trial. The age-old four-point test has been opportunity, motive, murder weapon and body.

There’s even a theory going around that the duo will never be hanged anyway, if it comes to that, but will walk away into the sunset with new identities. If they hang someone, the theory goes; it will be others who had the misfortune to be around and conveniently available. No one can as yet hazard a guess who these unfortunate “Replacement Killers” will be.

Why isn’t the noose around the neck of Razak Baginda as well, the public wants to know, and instead this once co-accused was freed without his defence being called? Razak’s affidavit for bail was accepted by the Judge as his defence, almost as a sort of statement from the dock, although rejected earlier for bail purposes.

Why isn’t Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, Razak Baginda’s “boss”, not behind bars as well for what’s publicly perceived as “his role in the ghastly affair”. Anyway, the public believes that he’s guilty as hell, which is most unfortunate, and for this he may yet pay a heavy political price. That would translate into either cold storage or an indefinite spell in the political wilderness.

Najib still reeks of Altantuya
It was not for nothing that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad told the media not so long ago that, “Najib is yet to clear himself on Altantuya”. True, that Najib is the bad smell that keeps following the ghost of Altantuya everywhere.

Najib, it cannot be denied, is solely responsible for creating the Altantuya mess, whether directly or indirectly. It was not sheer coincidence that he was Defence Minister. Does it all really matter?

What matters is that it will only be a matter of time, sooner rather than later, before he’s held solely and fully accountable, if not for nothing else, but for extreme political stupidity.

Situation that got out of control

Altantuya Shaariibuu, if Malaysians recall, was not supposed to happen. She was supposed to have vanished from the face of the Earth without a trace.  The Immigration Department records of her entry into Malaysia had reportedly been wiped out from its computerized system. We will never know who was responsible for this heinous crime against the state, indeed treason, unless the Immigration Department itself is in a position to shed light on the matter. That may not be the case.

The fact that this erasure of Immigration records could happen so easily tells us that ‘invisible hands’ at the highest levels exist in Malaysia. The same kind of invisible hands may be behind padding the electoral rolls in Sabah with illegal immigrants or did away with the Australian insurance investigator who completed the report on the air crash which killed Donald Mohd Fuad Stephens.

This is the kind of set-up which may prevent the ouster of Umno from the government and the opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat, from seizing the reins of power in Putrajaya. It may even order street riots to be provoked and emergency law to be declared to help Umno cling to power. Forthunately, for the Pakatan Rakyat and Opposition Leader, these sort of methods don’t work. Even despots as powerful as Egypt’s Mubarak and Libya’s Gaddafi learned this the hard way. Might is no longer right in today’s world. All that violence does is to give the Pakatan more reason to hunt down and jail the culprits to the maximum when the coup is inevitably overthrown.

Baginda – collateral damage?

It’s highly unlikely that what the Immigration Department was supposed to have done with Altantuya’s records had anything to do with Baginda, or cover up for him or protect him in any manner. Razak is nobody as far as the political scene is concerned. In fact, being an analyst, Baginda can be sacrificed in the blink of an eye. He’s collateral damage.

They say that Altantuya came to collect a RM5 million commission — other estimates range as high as RM 45 million — on a multibillion ringgit submarine deal but ended up dead. The lower figure is no reason to murder her, the higher figure perhaps provides a pretext when there’s a falling out among thieves. In the end, it could have been that events spun way out of control of both Baginda and Najib.

The ‘invisible hands’ may have taken charge of the mission to terminate Altantuya. The woman was getting noisy for some reason, getting noisier by the day and on the verge of drawing unwelcome public and media attention. This won’t do since Najib, by that time, was on the threshold of the premiership.

Who are the ‘invisible hands’

It was Baginda’s wife who screamed at a shocked press in defending her husband in custody: “It’s not my husband who wants to be Prime Minister”. Bingo! Umno too could not afford to have mud splattered on its face given the political tsunami of 2008. Unfortunately, a lone fisher nearby heard the C4 going off violently in the vicinity and reported the matter to the nearest police station. If not for the lone fisher, Altantuya would have vanished without a trace, the same fate that reportedly befell others before her.

So who are these ‘invisible hands’ directing the Altantuya murder from behind? The Special Branch? Who in the special Branch could authorize such a thing and even so, this person would have to report to someone. Who is this someone? As for Umno, which supreme council member would care if Najib had pie splashed on his face and who could be higher than the president of the party?

The whole manner in which the murder was bungled and the way the investigation and trial was mismanaged point to culprits who were not prepared to be caught and who had to come up with makeshift alternative plans to scamper away from blame. In the end, no matter how the deck is shuffled, it does look like the people with the most motive come from the Najib camp. The rationale is exactly as Baginda’s wife had shouted.

Hopefully when the Pakatan Rakyat comes to federal power, it can set up a functional Royal Commission of Inquiry to dig into the truth. The murder of the Mongolian mistress is hot stuff and imagine the smear to the country if Hollywood decides to make a movie on it. The damage is done, but at the very least, Malaysia should show that it has tried its best to atone for the crime and is not shielding any political bigwig for it.



  1. How dirty can the politicians be in Malaysia? Besides corruption, are they capable of homicides? To a layman like me. all fingers are pointing to a handful of people responsible-why beat around the bush and make it look we still don’t know who the actual guilty parties are. Why are they still walking aroundlike nothing had happened? Is this the way Najib wants the world to perceive the filthy poilitics there? When will tere be closure for Altantuya’s family.

    Comment by Egbert Lau — March 12, 2012 @ 1:37 PM | Reply

  2. The commission that Altantuya demanded for her role as an interpreter for Baginda and Najib which successfully led to the procurement of the Submarines was just pittance. The commission paid by the French company was more than RM500 million.

    The main motive for the murder was the fact that Altantuya was pregnant and the baby was suspected to be having the same DNA as Najib.

    Comment by SK Subramaniam — March 11, 2012 @ 10:51 PM | Reply





    Comment by anon — March 11, 2012 @ 7:06 PM | Reply

  4. I’m waiting for the day when they make a movie about how thousands of the rakyat can be panicked for the sake of their votes. Given bucket loads of stress, fear, sleepless nights, told on national television that they will have “a slow death”, told by pollies in positions of trust that the whole South China sea will be turned radioactive etc etc etc etc etc etc all by what is NATURAL ore that doesn’t even qualify under INTERNATIONAL LAW (except for Malaysia!!!) to be called ‘radioactive’ cuz its rated at approx 4 Becquerels/grm LESS than the 10 Bq/grm the rest of world requires for such classification.
    Of course SMSL is trying to strongarm Singapore on this point – but that would require the Singapore officials to be stupid, emotional, uneducated in matters of atomic science, and therefore entirely unreasonable – so I would bet anything that the SMSL guys are gonna get laughed out of town.
    Is there such a thing as a dramatic comedy?. mmm I suppose that’s what a farce is. What would it be called? LYNAS – THE MOVIE ? btw..for the sake of factual scientific knowledge, here is a short extract from Wiki where they say>> ” Besides BANANAS (being NATURALLY RADIOACTIVE), other foods that are rich in potassium (and therefore in 40K) are potatoes, kidney beans, sunflower seeds, and nuts;[12][13] especially BRAZIL NUTS, which may have up to 444 Bq/kg (12 nCi/kg) — FOUR times the radioactivity of bananas.”
    Bottom line is… SAVE MALAYSIA – GET REAL! – and No, I don’t work for Lynas but I have a lot of geo-science experience within the oil industry and I DO have a sense of justice that is affronted by the dirty politics I see unleashed on the uber-safely designed dust filtered, gas-scrubbed, WLP water filtered, CHEMICAL processing plant at Gebeng.

    Comment by arafuraman — March 11, 2012 @ 4:48 PM | Reply

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