The office of Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has released an official response to an Al Jazeera investigation into the brutal murder of Altantuya Shaariibuu, a young Mongolian woman with alleged ties to Malaysia’s elite.
101 East, Al Jazeera's award-winning Asia-Pacific current affairs programme, has produced a detailed report into Altantuya's murder. She was killed in October 2006 and her body blown up with military-grade explosives.
In a crime that captured local and international media attention, the story behind Altantuya's murder remains hidden in mystery almost nine years later, fuelling suspicions of a possible cover up.
The case remains so sensitive today that the reporter of the story, Mary Ann Jolley, was deported from Malaysia during her investigation.
One of two officers from the government's elite protection squad, who has been found guilty of Altantuya’s murder, insists he has been made a scapegoat and maintains he was acting on the orders of others.
101 East has uncovered evidence that Sirul Azhar Umar, who fled Malaysia before the court's decision and is currently being held in Australia, is attempting to negotiate with mystery figures back in Malaysia - trading his silence on the details of the case for money.
The following is a statement sent to Al Jazeera by a Malaysian government spokesperson in response to 101 East's investigation:
"The Prime Minister did not know, has never met, has never had any communication with and has no link whatsoever with the deceased.
The two convicted individuals were not the Prime Minister's personal guards. This allegation is intentionally misleading, and has been used to perpetuate baseless conspiracy theories. They were members of a unit of the Royal Malaysian Police that provides rotating security for government officials and visiting dignitaries. The Prime Minister was not aware of the actions of the individuals until their arrest.
Comprehensive legal process has taken place, including police investigations and court trials, including at Malaysia's High Court, Court of Appeal and Federal Court. The guilty parties have been convicted and sentenced. At no point during any of these legal stages was the Prime Minister implicated, even indirectly. These malicious allegations are therefore also an affront to Malaysia’s Judiciary.
Political opponents and their media allies have been trying to attack the Prime Minister on this issue for many years. But there is absolutely no evidence of any wrongdoing, and there never will be - for the very good reason that the allegations are entirely false smears motivated by political gain.
The deceased was never involved in the purchase of submarines for the Royal Malaysian Navy, as has been alleged. The purchase was directly negotiated between the Malaysian and French governments. Perimekar is 40 percent owned by the Malaysian Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT), a respected government statutory body.
Perimekar was paid by the government of Malaysia to handle all logistics, training and coordination on behalf of the Royal Malaysian Navy. The training included that which was necessary for submariners and technicians to handle the submarines. The Navy did not have the manpower to handle these matters over the eight-year period of the construction of the submarines and coordination of the logistics. This was a services contract for work done and was transparent.
The purported French investigation pertains to the possibility of any 'kickbacks' that may have been paid by the French companies to Malaysian officials to secure the submarine contract. There were similar investigations into French defence contracts with Taiwan and India. The original deal was signed in 2002. There has never been any communication from the investigation's judges to the Prime Minister.
The reality is that there was absolutely no wrongdoing on the Prime Minister's part in the Government's purchase of the submarines. Absolutely no payments ever benefitted him. Again, these are baseless smears for political gain."
WATCH THE ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION HERE:
Source: Al Jazeera