Altantuya and the two Razaks: Dad tells court uncertain if ‘Najib Razak’ or ‘Razak Baginda’

Kenneth Tee
Shaariibuu Setev arrives at the Shah Alam Hight Court January 25, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

SHAH ALAM, Jan 25 — The father to slain Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu told the High Court today that his daughter had travelled to Malaysia in October 2006 to meet an individual identified as “Razak”.

Testifying as the second witness in his family’s RM100 million civil lawsuit against the Malaysian government, Altantuya’s convicted killers and the man she had an affair with, Shaariibuu Setev said his daughter met him at their home between October 7 and 8, 2006 prior to her departure to Kuala Lumpur.

Shaariibuu, 69, who is a retired professor from the Mongolian National University, however said he did not know how ‘Razak’ looked like at that time.

“All that she told me was Razak. I do not know which Razak, Abdul Razak Baginda or Najib Razak,” he said through Mongolian interpreter Enkhjin Batbilig under questioning from his lawyer Ramkarpal Singh.

Abdul Razak was a political analyst and had headed a think tank called the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre based in Kuala Lumpur previously.

He was also an adviser to Datuk Seri Najib Razak when the latter was defence minister (2000 to 2008) and deputy prime minister (between January 2004 and April 2009) before taking over as prime minister from April 3, 2009 to May last year.

Najib has repeatedly denied knowing Altantuya or that he had any part in her death.

Shaariibuu said Altantuya, fondly known as “Amina”, had gone to the toilet midway during their conversation, leaving her luggage with him when her phone rang.

“I opened her bag and I saw a photo of two men with her. I asked her specifically who they were because my daughter was in it.

“To which she answered these are the people she was going to meet in Malaysia,” he testified.

Shaariibuu said he was aware of his daughter’s frequent visit to Malaysia and had asked Altantuya if she had any reason to visit Malaysia so often during their meeting at his home in Mongolia in October 2006.

“She told me she was in a relationship with a ‘big’ man whose name was Baginda and that the trip was important because she wanted to arrange medical help for her handicapped son who was born with cerebral palsy,” he said.

He said he also later discovered among Altantuya’s possession a flight ticket purchased by a ‘Razak’ dated March 23, 2005 and jewellery receipt from Habib worth RM11,300 that was dated March 4, 2005.

“I also discovered a letter from Abdul Razak Baginda dated March 2, 2006 addressed to Altantuya for US$18,000.

“It was not signed by him but was signed by Altantuya in acknowledgement of the said funds,” he said.

Also present were Abdul Razak’s lawyer Kuan Chee Foo and senior federal counsel Norinna Bahadun for the government.

The hearing resumes Monday morning with the testimonial hearing of Shaariibuu.

Altantuya’s parents Shaariibuu and Altantsetseg Sanjaa, and Altantuya’s two sons had on June 4, 2007 filed the civil lawsuit to claim compensation for the mental shock and psychological trauma they suffered over her death.

However, Altantuya’s younger son, 15-year-old Alatanshagai Munkhtukga, was removed as plaintiff when he died in 2017.

In the lawsuit where Altantuya’s family is seeking RM100 million as compensation, Sirul Azhar Umar, Azilah Hadri, Abdul Razak and the government of Malaysia were named as defendants.

Sirul and Azilah were convicted by the High Court in 2009 of killing Altantuya. They succeeded in overturning their conviction at the Court of Appeal in 2013, but the Federal Court in 2015 restored their conviction and sentenced them to death.

Abdul Razak who was accused of abetting the two former police officers in her murder was acquitted.

Sirul fled to Australia after the death sentence and is currently under detention there as Australian laws do not allow extradition of anyone to a country where they will be killed. Azilah is on death row here.

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