Published June 19, 2018
The father of a Mongolian model whose murder touched off a scandal in the highest levels of Malaysia's recently ousted ruling party said Tuesday he will ask new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad to reopen the investigation into his daughter's death.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with plastic explosives outside Kuala Lumpur in October 2006. Two members of an elite police unit that provided bodyguards for Malaysia's top leaders were convicted of killing her.
Abdul Razak Baginda, a close aide to then-defense minister Najib Razak, was reportedly her lover, and was tried but acquitted of abetting the crime, whose planner was never determined. Altantuya was 28 and pregnant at the time of her death.
Najib later became prime minister, serving until his party lost power in May this year.
The victim's father, Setev Shaariibuu, said after talking with Attorney General Tommy Thomas that he will ask Mahathir at a meeting scheduled for Wednesday to reopen the case.
"Nobody is above the law," he said at a news conference with his Malaysian lawyer, Ramkarpal Singh. "I will ask him to solve my problem and bring justice for me."
"We are quite optimistic that in light of this discussion with the attorney general, that the chances for the matter being investigated further will happen," Ramkarpal said.
Najib was ousted from power in an election that saw the Barisan Nasional coalition that had held power for decades lose to a reformist coalition spearheaded by Mahathir, a former prime minister who had been a stalwart of the Barisan Nasional until turning against his former comrades.
Allegations of massive corruption on Najib's part undermined support for him and are now being closely investigated by Mahathir's new government.
Altantuya's death has drawn new interest largely because of the possibility that it can be fairly investigated following the change in government. There has been speculation that Najib might be linked to the case because the two men convicted of the killing served as his bodyguards.
Further interest stems from reports that Altantuya, who worked as a translator for Razak Baginda, had knowledge of an allegedly corrupt deal concerning the purchase of submarines from France and had threatened to expose the deal, which occurred while Najib was defense minister.
One of the policemen convicted of the murder escaped to Australia while his conviction was on appeal. Sirul Azhar Umar has been detained there since 2015 for overstaying his visa, and has recently offered to return to Malaysia to provide evidence in the case if he is promised a pardon. His colleague is on death row.