Najib denies giving order to kill Altantuya after ex-commando’s shocking SD

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak leaves the courtroom for a short recess during his trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak leaves the courtroom for a short recess during his trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 11, 2019. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today decried as complete fabrication a former elite policeman’s shocking statutory declaration (SD) that he gave an order to kill a Mongolian mother of two, Altantuya Shaariibuu, in 2006 when he was deputy prime minister.

Ex-police commando Azilah Hadri, who along with Sirul Azhar Umar, was convicted of Altantuya’s murder issued the SD dated October 17 this year, which was published in its entirety by news portal Malaysiakini.

In it, Azilah claimed Najib gave him the “shoot to kill” order verbally during a meeting on October 17, 2006.

He further claimed Najib told him then to destroy Altantuya’s body and dispose of the evidence as she was purportedly a “foreign spy” and posed a threat to Malaysia’s security.

“I asked the DPM what was meant by arrest and destroy that foreign spy and DPM answered ‘Shoot to kill’ while showing the sign of slitting the throat.

“When asked what was meant by destroying that foreign spy’s body, DPM answered ‘Destroy the foreign spy’s body to get rid of traces.’ After discussing methods to destroy the body, DPM ordered me to blow up that foreign spy’s body using explosives,” Azilah said in his statutory declaration.

Najib was also defence minister at that time.

In the same statutory declaration, Azilah said he had no motive to kill Altantuya, also asserting that he was following Najib’s alleged order in his role as an assault commander of the police’s Special Action Unit (UTK) in what he had fully believed to be a secret operation involving espionage and the country’s national security.

Azilah also said he would provide detailed explanation about the case if allowed to defend himself and give sworn testimony in either criminal or civil cases relating to Altantuya’s murder.

According to Malaysiakini, Azilah’s SD was filed in court to support his application to the Federal Court for a review of the 2015 death sentence handed down on him and Sirul, who has since escaped to Australia but is imprisoned in a maximum security facility in Sydney.

Azilah reportedly also wants a fresh trial to allow the court to hear full evidence on the alleged secret operation and reportedly alleged that key facts were suppressed during court hearings at the High Court and Court of Appeal.

Tomorrow is scheduled as case management for Azilah’s application for the review and retrial.

 According to Malaysiakini, Azilah had reportedly explained that he had decided to defer his initial plans of making the statutory declaration in early 2018 before the 14th general election to prevent misuse, and that his purpose now in making the sworn statement was due to him feeling betrayed and also to disclose the “truth” about Altantuya’s murder.

“I also hope that my colleagues in the UTK and the police force will be careful in executing orders so that the issue of betrayal and being made a scapegoat will not recur,” he was quoted saying by Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini said Azilah had in an affidavit to support his application also said that the alleged order from Najib was not done in writing, and that Azilah also claimed that he was assured that he would be protected and not be charged in court in relation to the operations which he maintained was done based on orders. 

Citing the statutory declaration, Malaysiakini also reported of Azilah’s claim of the alleged roles played by Najib’s former aide Abdul Razak Baginda and Najib’s former aide-de-camp DSP Musa Safri, noting that their responses were being sought.

Separately, Malaysiakini reported that Najib has however dismissed Azilah’s claims as a “complete fabrication by a desperate person seeking to escape the gallows”, and as an alleged attempt to distract attention and hit out at him.

“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? “ he was quoted as saying to Malaysiakini.

Malaysiakini also reported Najib as sharing his belief that this was a “deal” struck between the Pakatan Harapan administration and Azilah, purportedly in exchange for the delay or commuting of the latter’s death sentence.

Najib also reportedly said he has not met Altantuya as otherwise claimed by Azilah, maintaining that he is innocent and also welcomed the police to investigate these claims.

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