Friday, May 20, 2011

What WikiLeaks really said about the Scorpenes and Altantuya

Altantuya Shaariibuu has come back to haunt Prime Minister Najib Razak with the release of several US Embassy cables communicated through WikiLeaks.

Altantuya was murdered in October 2006, at which time Najib was Deputy Prime Minister, and Abdullah Badawi was Prime Minister.

For the most part, the cables are revealing not so much as to what is said but rather to what is not said.

At the end of it, what is strikingly clear from the cables is that Najib's fingerprints are all over the case - from the purchase of the submarines right down to Altantuya's murder. In what capacity and to what extent is the only doubt.

The two murderers, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar stood trial and were pronounced guilty in April 2009 in what many deemed a protracted mistrial. Very significantly, they were former bodyguards of Najib's.

Abdul Razak Baginda, accused of participating in the murder was released without having to stand trial.

The link to Najib can be found via Abdul Razak Baginda; who was one of his best friends and lover to Altantuya. And at the time of the murder, Baginda was instrumental in negotiating the purchase of three submarines by the Malaysian government from French Spanish firm Armaris to the tune of one billion euros.

According to French newspaper Liberation's report Razak Baginda’s company, Perimekar, earned 115 million euros from this transaction and it is this 'commission' that has been the point of argument for all parties. It was this 'commission' that brought Altantuya to Kuala Lumpur and which eventually killed her.

However, the Malaysian government denied paying any commission to Perimekar, stating that the whole purchasing of submarines was through direct negotiations. Queried in Parliament, the government said the 115 million euros was payment for “support and maintenance” services to Perimekar with regards to the submarines.

But though Najib and his agencies may call it by a different name, French lawyers are now ascertaining if it is legitimate fees or 'commission'. And whether some of it was kicked back to French or Malaysian politicians. This investigation about to go into open court in Paris has been completely blacked out by the mainstream media.

Yet, at no point has the Malaysian government denied the Liberation's news report of the figures involved, nor the notion that Najib Razak is directly or indirectly involved in his capacity as Defence Minister in the purchase of the submarines.

US concerned at bodyguards' mistrial

The WikiLeak reports showed the US embassy’s concern over irregularities in the conduct of the prosecution of the two bodyguards accused of killing Altantuya. The US officials viewed the trial as being manipulated by political forces. And this seems to point back to Abdullah Badawi and a perceived plot to stop Najib Razak from becoming the next premier.

As the trial played out before the Malaysian public, a far more complex battle was taking place behind the scenes within the corridors of power. A tussle to keep or drop Najib from the premiership.

The details of these dealings and activities will never be known unless a key person is willing to speak up and tell all - Abdul Razak Baginda, who has since moved to the United Kingdom.

This episode is an embarrassing moment to the nation and one that will continue to haunt Najib Razak. There are several key questions still left unanswered.

How was military grade C-4 optained? Who gave the “kill” order to the two men? Why was Musa Safri, Najib’s aide-de-camp, whom Abdul Razak Baginda sought help from never called to testify? Why was Najib Razak never called to testify to prove his innocence in a court of law? Who gave the order to delete immigration records for Altantuya and her companions?

There is a saying, “the blood of the innocents will cry for justice” and as long as real answer are never given to close this dark story, Altantuya spectre will continue to walk the Malaysian landscape and haunt Najib’s dreams.

- Malaysia Chronicle
Written by Maclean Patrick, Malaysia Chronicle

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