One news organisation described today’s bombshell refusal by defendant Razak Baginda to take the stand in the Altantuya case as a “bold move”. It was a sardonic acknowledgement that by declining be cross examined on the devastating evidence brought before the KL court the former key aide to prime minister Najib has conceded the case and that the judge is almost bound to find against him.
Perhaps someone has already offered to pay out the compensation on his behalf to continue to maintain the attempt at silence in this affair? After all, the lengths to which Najib whilst prime minister went out of his way to get Razak Baginda dropped as one of the defendants in the original criminal prosecution are well known. In the end only Najib’s two bodyguards took the rap in a trial where gaping holes in the evidence and testimony proved to be the signature feature.
The re-run of these tragic events involving corruption, murder and cover-up during the crucial run-up to Najib’s ultimate accession to power has been brought by the family of the slaughtered young woman having been denied justice as they see it through the Malaysian courts. Most people who have looked at the available evidence can only sympathise.
Najib, who was then deputy prime minister and previously the defence minister who received the French Scorpene submarine kickbacks that Altantuya was threatening to expose, did everything possible to keep his advisor and proxy Razak Baginda out of the picture and away from giving evidence. What he was unable to do was to save his own two bodyguards from getting caught and convicted…. which brought the trail of evidence right back to his own door.
Fortunately from Najib’s perspective, the bodyguards had no idea what the motive was for killing Altantuya. They didn’t know her. However, both have now testified that they were ordered to murder her by Najib on the grounds that she was a foreign spy – one said he was warned that she might beg for mercy as she was pregnant (which she was) and to take no notice.
He said he received these instructions from Najib personally, and it was from Najib’s own premises that the two guards raced that day to abduct Altantuya from outside Baginda’s house, where she had been loudly demanding compensation on the threat of revealing what she knew about the submarine kickbacks: information that was confirmed to the world just last month by the French courts, namely that Najib received the pay offs through his proxy Baginda.
The whole matter could not have been aired at a more pertinent time as the nation faces a barrage of attempts by the criminally wealthy Najib to re-write history and over-turn his existing convictions for corruption, even to the extent of going after the judge who found him guilty. There is very little about the Altantuya case that has not been revealed and substantiated in the ensuing years since the appalling murder took place in 2006. However, at the time of the original trial virtually none of that information was allowed to be disclosed.
This legal cover-up included perhaps the most shocking piece of new evidence that came to light over the past few days which is that Altantuya, clearly alert to the danger she had placed herself in by challenging her lovers (Razak Baginda and allegedly also Najib himself) had on the very day that she was murdered filed a police report saying that if anything was to happen to her the man responsible would be Razak Baginda.
For some ‘inexplicable reason’ this evidence was not brought up at the original trial, Razak having been dropped as one of the defendants early in the case. Najib had of course texted him from the start not to worry as he would intervene to solve his problems in this respect. We know, because Baginda had shown the text to his bodyguard cum private investigator who later testified to the entire cover-up after being shocked at the conduct of the trial – Najib and his two brothers personally arranged that night for the said PI Bala to be forced into a retraction and bundled out of the country, as has been detailed by multiple witnesses whom none have ever dared to challenge in a court of law.
Time and again the facts and evidence that tell the truth of this sordid tale have been revealed and corroborated and never challenged by these actors. Today Razak Baginda again declined to deny them under oath and cross-examination in a court of law – his chance to plead his innocence once more dramatically turned down.
It is a classic tale of theft and greed, followed by the threat of blackmail and exposure, followed by murder to silence that threat – all ultimately perpetrated by the same man who seeks to now deny that he likewise was behind the thefts from 1MDB for which he has been convicted and over which he performed the same appalling pattern of cover-ups.
When threatened with exposure by the whistleblower, Xavier Justo, over 1MDB the by then Malaysian prime minister had him arrested and jailed on false pretences in Thailand and forced on pain of death to sign a false confession. A prosecutor who drew up charges was abducted and horribly murdered shortly after.
As Najib seeks to pour money and pressure his powerful allies to assist his frantic efforts at self-rehabilitation it is salutary for the Malaysian public to be reminded that grand theft and corruption are one thing but murder quite another, whilst also remembering that the one crime so often leads to the other and then on to death and destruction on a much grander scale should power be allowed to fall into the hands of a weak and immoral and criminally minded man.
The judge’s verdict awaits. However, the facts on which it will be based are so overwhelming that the defendant has once again publicly refused to come to court to deny them.