Kuala Lumpur (AFP) – A probe into the sensational murder of a young woman linked to Malaysia’s ousted leader could be re-opened, a lawyer said Tuesday, after a meeting between the victim’s father and the attorney-general.
Altantuya Shaariibuu was shot dead and her body blown up with military-grade plastic explosives near Kuala Lumpur in 2006.
The Mongolian’s murder was the most shocking aspect in a scandal involving allegations that an associate of recently ousted premier Najib Razak arranged huge kickbacks for the purchase of French submarines in 2002.
The case captivated Malaysia for years and there have long been allegations that Najib — defence minister at the time of the deal — and his wife Rosmah Mansor were involved. They have steadfastly denied the claims.
Two government bodyguards were convicted of the killing and sentenced to death. One subsequently fled to Australia, where he is in detention, and maintains he was ordered by “important people” to carry out the murder.
The shock election loss last month of scandal-plagued Najib’s regime, long accused of burying the scandal, has fuelled speculation that new details about the murky case could be revealed.
On Tuesday Altantuya’s father Setev Shaariibuu and his lawyer met Malaysia’s newly-appointed Attorney-General Tommy Thomas to discuss whether authorities could take a fresh look at the scandal.
“It was a very, very positive meeting,” lawyer Ramkarpal Singh told AFP, adding discussions centred on the possibility of re-opening the case or holding an official inquiry.
Singh said he believed there were new leads and he was “confident” the investigation would be re-opened.
At an earlier press conference, Setev said his daughter’s death had “destroyed” his life as if by a tsunami.
Altantuya was the mistress of Najib’s associate, Abdul Razak Baginda, and was alleged to have demanded a cut in the submarine deal for translating during negotiations. Abdul Razak was cleared in 2008 of abetting the murder.
The bodyguard who fled to Australia, Sirul Azhar Umar, recently said he is willing to assist any new government investigation into the case, a potential major breakthrough.