Model’s Murder Still Haunts Malaysia

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Model’s Murder Still Haunts Malaysia

The mystery surrounding Altantuya Shaariibuu’s death continues to plague Malaysia— and its Prime Minister.

The prospects were tantalizing. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) knew this and advertised accordingly: “New revelations in the Altantuya murder case — Press conference by Musa Hassan, former national police chief of Malaysia.”

The press conference was originally scheduled for Monday but then scrapped all together as Musa gave a brief interview with a Malaysian publication saying he knew nothing about his scheduled press conference, adding he was in Kuala Lumpur and not Bangkok.

He also said he had no intention of talking to reporters about the infamous murder of the Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu who had also worked as a translator, adding he was puzzled about the speculation about his activities.

“I was shocked to hear the news. I only found out about this when reporters contacted me yesterday. There is no such thing, I am still here (in Malaysia),” Musa told The Malaysian Insider.

“I don’t understand why recently I’ve been the target of so much speculation. I hope these irresponsible people will stop disturbing me,” Musa, who retired as national police chief in 2010, added.

Journalists were obviously disappointed. They were prepared to ask the obvious questions that had escaped their peers, the police, politicians and anybody remotely interested in this case in Malaysia for the last six years.

Questions like who paid the two police officers — Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar — RMBS$100,000 (US$33,000) to kill Altantuya, 28, and have her remains blown to pieces with C4? Why were no DNA tests done on the baby she was carrying aimed at identifying the father of the child?

Political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, 50, was also charged with abetting the pair but was acquitted by the High Court on the basis that there was no prima facie case against him.

His friend, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has already sworn on the Koran that he had nothing to do with the woman whose work as Najib’s translator is now under investigation by French authorities who are looking into allegations that massive bribes were involved in the sale of two French submarines to Malaysia when Najib was the Defense Minister.

This case simply won’t go away, much to the annoyance of the Prime Minister and his First Lady, Rosmah Mansor, who are also gearing-up for an election, due in the first half of next year. More importantly, the hapless officers found guilty of her 2006 murder were to have their death sentences heard on appeal next week.

That was until earlier today when the dates were vacated and no new dates for their appeals were set. There is speculation that the appeal will not take place until after the upcoming election is over in order to spare Najib and Rosmah any potential embarrassment while campaigning.

How the officers obtained C4 only available for only military use, and used it to destroy the body after Altantuya was shot twice, and who they got it from, are among other questions that needed to be asked. Musa’s no show and the polite excuses made through the Malaysian media are equally puzzling.

Sources close to the press conference said Musa was intended to appear but got “cold feet” last minute and backed out. Cold comfort for the family and friends of Altantuya, whose tragic rise to fame was for all the wrong reasons.