A mail came from Lin Neumann from Asia Sentinel on the story they wrote on Altantuya on January 12. I refuted some facts in the story, including the reference to Baginda that he was divorced. They wrote back with a corrected version but maintained that he is divorced. Are we talking about the same Abdul Razak Baginda? We all know he is married to Mazlinda.

Dear Susan Loone:

We have made some of the changes you suggested in our story. We certainly have no “agenda” one way or the other and we are sorry if we got some facts wrong by relying on what had been reported earlier in Malaysia. As far as we know Abdul Razak is divorced, however. There are also conflicting versions of events regarding the victim.  Anyway we have tried to be fair.

Too many conflicting versions, that is true. But who is to blame?

Malaysian Murder Gets Stickier for Ruling Party Print E-mail
Our Correspondent   
12 January 2007
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim starts asking embarrassing questions about the sordid murder of a jilted Mongolian woman. Did someone order elite police officers to do something about Altantuya Shaaribuu?Questions over the spectacular murder of Mongolian beauty Altantuya Shaaribuu came closer to the very top of Malaysian politics Wednesday when opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim asked publicly who had ordered two police officers in Malaysia’s elite Special Operations Force to pick her up from the home of political advisor Abdul Razak Baginda.

Abdul Razak was later charged with the woman’s murder along with the two policemen.

Abdul Razak has close ties to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who supervises the Special Operations Force, known by its Malay initials UTK.  Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30, and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, 35, are the charged in connection with the case.  Police investigators have denied that anybody was involved in the October 20 murder besides those who have already been arrested and charged.

That leaves the question of how two elite police officers became involved with a political analyst with no apparent government authority. The top leadership of the United Malays National Organisation, the dominant political party in Malaysia’s ruling national coalition, have been tiptoeing gingerly around the case ever since Abdul Razak Baginda was arrested in November.

The head of a think tank closely tied to UMNO’s top leadership, Abdul Razak was initially freed on bail in November after posting a highly unusual 1 million ringgit bond and pleading not guilty to abetting the gruesome murder of the woman, whose baby he allegedly fathered and whose body was found in a patch of jungle near the Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam after she had reportedly been shot twice and torn apart with hand grenades available only to Malaysia’s security forces.

Anwar, a one-time deputy prime minister under then-Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, was imprisoned in 1998 on spurious charges of corruption and sexual abuse after breaking politically with Mahathir. He was freed from prison by Mahathir’s successor, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and is seeking to resurrect his political career

He asked why Najib has not been questioned about his connections to Abdul Razak and the two arrested policemen who worked for him.  

“In my personal experience,” Anwar told a press conference at his home, “the UTK are there to protect the deputy prime minister and they work under our instructions. He (Najib) should at least be asked how is it a person assigned to you, to protect you and work under your instructions, can (allegedly) commit such a heinous crime.”

Anwar told reporters that anyone deemed to have known the victim or have other links with the murder should be questioned.

“It is vital that whilst those who pulled the trigger are brought to justice, all those who are responsible for directing the killing must be made known,” he said in a statement read out at a news conference at his house. “In fact, such persons bear greater responsibility for the crime,” he said.

A federal police spokesman told Reuters he had no immediate comment on Anwar’s remarks. A government source said no one else has been questioned apart from the three accused. In fact government prosecutors have ruled out the possibility that anybody else is involved in the case other than Razak and the two policemen.

“Investigations reveal no one else’s involvement in this case. Those responsible are in court today,” deputy public prosecutor Salehuddin Saidin told the court during a pretrial motion last month.

Certainly, bail in a capital case is highly unusual. The two policemen were not allowed bail, adding to public irritation in Malaysia that it was Abdul Razak’s political ties that got him freed.

The political analyst was ultimately jailed again after his bail extension was rejected by the High Court last Friday after his counsel, Wong Kian Kheong, failed to file a formal application. Applying again, Abdul Razak argued that he is in ill health and that he is not a flight risk.

“It’s an absolute injustice,” a Kuala Lumpur-based lawyer told Asia Sentinel in November. “This is a non-bailable offence.”

To Abdul Razak’s plea that he was suffering from ill health, the lawyer replied: “Prisons have hospital facilities even if Razak is sick and in fact his sickness is not life-threatening and does not warrant bail. It is only asthma.”

According to Section 388(1) of Malaysia’s penal code, the lawyer quoted:  “When any person accused of any non-bailable offence is accused or detained without warrant by a police officer or appears or is brought before the court he may be released by the officer in charge of the police district or by the court, but he shall not be so released if there appear reasonable grounds for believing that he has been guilty of an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for

Shaaribuu was first identified in the press as a part-time freelance model but later reports from Mongolia claim she was a translator fluent in several languages.

She arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Mongolia on Oct. 6, reportedly intent on getting Abdul Razak to acknowledge his role as the father of her baby, according to press accounts, and asking for money.  Accompanied by her sister and a cousin,  Shaaribuu claimed that the baby was the product of a relationship she had with Abdul Razak when he visited Mongolia two years ago, telling others in Malaysia that the divorced political analyst was her husband.

A website that says it is seeking justice for the victim has claimed that she was only seeking money due her for translation services.  The website also carries a letter addressed to the Malaysian government calling for justice in the case. It is signed by 46 Mongolian human rights organizations and NGOs.

Initially, Abdul Razak was held for questioning along with three Malaysian police personnel including a woman detective from the UTK, which is used to guard VIPs and other dignitaries. The woman officer was released after her two colleagues were charged.

According to news reports, Shaaribuu found out where Abdul Razak lived, but she never got to see him. Police say she received a phone call to meet him but according to news reports she was pushed into a car and driven away, never to be seen again.

When she did not return to her hotel, the sister and cousin lodged reports with the police, and eventually with the Mongolian honorary consul. Mongolian authorities expressed their concern directly to the government.

Ultimately, a task force of 40 police officers was assembled to put together the circumstances that led the woman to visit Abdul Razak’s house, and whether he had summoned the police officers to take her away.

Local news reports also indicated that police were investigating where the victim and Abdul Razak first met and whether they had had a sexual relationship.

One of the most accessible and quotable of local analysts, Abdul Razak’s think tank, the Malaysian Strategic Research Institute, functioned as an international propaganda vehicle for both UMNO and the Malaysian armed forces.

Abdul Razak, 46, who became head of the institute when it was set up in 1993, is endowed with charm, a command of language and easy access to power due to his connections with Najib. A prolific writer, he penned a book in praise of the Malaysian Armed Forces, published by them, and numerous other works including “Malaysia and the Islamic World,” a collection of essays he edited with a forward by Najib.

“Whoever is involved will be brought to book regardless of his stature,” Musa told reporters before charges were laid. “I am also going to find out how and who authorized the issuance of the explosives used in the murder.”  But despite Musa’s statements, Internet bloggers in Malaysia have been having a field day with the case.

One, for instance, asked these questions: “What duty was (the chief inspector) assigned to at the time, to whom he reports to and from whom he takes instructions still remain a mystery and may be a key part of the chain. Whether he acted on his own or under directives, still remains unanswered. While the sordid details and the reasons and motives will probably only surface if the case ever goes to court, there is a list of unanswered questions. The most important question of course is: Why should a posse of police officers abduct an unknown foreign national in daylight and in public? Were they acting on a previously filed police report or were they merely acting on instructions? If it was the latter, who gave the instructions and for what reasons?”

Abdul Razak’s lawyer, Shafee Abdullah, who is equally well-connected, earlier acknowledged that his client knew the victim, according to the Associated Press, but said he was certain he would be cleared.

“I am totally convinced of his innocence,” Shafee said after Abdul Razak was first remanded for questioning. “He is completely unimplicated.”


11 responses »

  1. humanly says:

    Definitely sure the said reporter was not in the courtroom during the hearing. From which source the report obtained that Razak Baginda was a divorcee?

    The reporter should have dug the archives for background of the story. All the mainstream media highlighted his wife screaming at the reporters that her husband was not interested to be the next PM.

  2. wits0 says:

    Whata attempt to make “details” fit into a suspiciously and originally planted spin!

    Among other things, hand grenades do not normally contain C4 which has already been acknowledged as having been used. They use a compound of RDX, composition B or TNT as their explosive.

    They aren’t used to blast or demolish things in usage but depend mainly on the shrapnel(rather than blast) to cause human casualties. How do you make a few hand grenades explode simultaneously anyway in its normal form?

    Incredible HP6 insistence of AsiaSentinel.

  3. WTF? jilted woman??

    anwar is “seeking to resurrect his political career”..ke ke ke…did he mean to say:”making the necessary moves to remove all obstacles to his ascend to power”? ke ke ke…even when the country is flooding?????????????

  4. wits0 says:

    This “I am totally convinced of his innocence.” line is the necessary line of any lawyer wrt his/her client.

    How else will make defending lawyers remain
    relevant and earn their keeps?

    Therefore, per se, with the application of commonsense, it means little apart from a being a typical moral and psychological boost.

  5. wits0 says:

    Funny…..the modified add-on tale about Baginda(him divorced) and Atlantuya(she, a muslim) being married with his child sounds like a badly designed plug-in to the original spin that got mindlessly splattered in the mixed up confused MSM Pressdom.

  6. Sarah says:

    super blog… love it!!!!

  7. KSLOW says:

    that is how our ‘media’ play up the news early. All not accurate. Malaysia have a long way to go if leaders attitude dont change.

  8. wits0 says:

    Asia Sentinel may or may not have any hidden motive or self agenda. This isn’t quite as important as the immediate facts that suggest that it isn’t very knowledgeable. As blur as most Bolehland’s reporters/editorials.

    Surely its staffs including the editors are aware of the homicide/suicide bombers in Tel Aviv usually wear a ten pound explosive vests – meaning that approximately three quarter of that weight is from is mixed low and high explosives.

    When it explodes, often the limbs and more likely the head of the bomber is blown clear and recoverable. Hence the perpetrators are sometimes quickly identifiable.

    A typical hand grenade contains around 10 ounces of explosives with a total weight of around 15 ounces each.

    If you’re a soldier in a trench fighting against an attack by enemy forces with your comrades including wounded ones and a grenade is thrown in, you can save everyone else by falling on it as an act of supreme heroism and sacrifice as this has happened before in the annals of war. The blast will shatter your body, assorbing the blast but not blow it apart.

    So, assuming around 10 hand grenades were used to blow up poor Altantuya’s body, one cannot assume that larger fragments wouldn’t be found than those that were. Then you’ll have to rig them all up very specially and not just by pulling their pins(simultaneously?!)

  9. jones6680 says:

    hey susan,

    i have a story to tell, assume it is a fiction!

    1. the mongolian lady came to m sia for a purpose
    2. N was afraid that his secret (comission deal) will be exposed by the “GAN” clan
    3. thereby the mongolian lady is kept silence forever
    4. the “GAN” clan found out and exposed it to the public
    5. the “GAN” clan again gave second warning; sukhoi aircrafts deal
    6. more warnings will be given until someone step down!

  10. bamboo river says:

    What ever it is , a human life is lost. Nothing whatsoever can bring her back.All we could do is…..Let faith decides ……may her soul rest in peace.

  11. Lin Neumann says:

    Indeed, mea culpa. He is married. We got it wrong by relying on the word of a couple of people who claimed to know. The changes have been made and we will be more careful in future. Thanks for reading AS and bearing with us when we make a mistake.
    This trial is important and how it proceeds will say a lot about the course of justice in Malaysia.

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