Nov 1, 2008

Abdul Razak Baginda and Altantuya Shaaribuu

Shaariibuugiin Altantuyaa was a Mongolian national, was a murder victim who was either murdered by C-4 explosives or was somehow killed first and her remains destroyed with C-4 in October 2006 in a deserted area in Shah Alam, Malaysia near Kuala Lumpur and Abdul Razak Baginda, a former political analyst from Malaysia, and close associate of the Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak. He became a household name in Malaysia in 2006 when he was charged with abetting the murder of Altantuya Shaaribuu. He was held in prison but acquitted on October 31, 2008 when the Malaysian High Court judge found no prima facie case against him.


The Murder

Altantuya was allegedly introduced to Abdul Razak Baginda, a defense analyst from the Malaysian Strategic Research Centre think-tank, at an international diamond convention in Hong Kong by Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak, and had a relationship with him. She reportedly had worked as Abdul Razak’s translator on a deal he was brokering for the Malaysian government to buy submarines from France. The pair seems to have travelled to Paris together for the submarine deal.

Some sources allege that Altantuya came to Kuala Lumpur with a cousin in early October 2006 intending to confront Abdul Razak. When she went missing on Oct 19, her cousin lodged a police report and sought help from the Mongolian embassy in Bangkok. Altantuya, by her own admission in the last letter she wrote before her murder, had been blackmailing Razak.

The Malaysian police found fragments of bone, later verified as hers, in forested land near the Subang Dam in Puncak Alam, Shah Alam. Police investigation of her remains revealed that she was shot twice before C-4 explosives were used on her remains, although there has been later suggestion that the C-4 explosives may have killed her. When her remains were found their identity could only be confirmed with DNA testing. The provenance of the C-4 remains unclear.


Abdul Razak and three members of the police force were arrested during the murder investigation. The two murder suspects have been named as Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri, 30 and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar. They had been members of the elite Unit Tindakan Khas (the Malaysian Police Special Action Force or counter-terrorism unit) and were both assigned to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who was also the Defence Minister at the time of the murder. Abdul Razak has been charged with abetment in the murder.

The Evidences
-First Statutory Declaration

In a statutory declaration in his sedition trial in June 2008, Raja Petra accused Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor (the wife of Malaysia's Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak) of being one of three individuals who were present at the crime scene when Altantuya Shaariibuu was murdered on Oct 19, 2006. He wrote that Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, and Acting Colonel Aziz Buyong and his wife, Norhayati, Rosmah’s aide-de-camp, were present at the scene of the murder and that Aziz Buyong was the individual who placed C4 plastic explosive on Altantuya’s body and blew it up.

Dr Shaariibuu Setev, the father of murdered Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, has asked the police to conduct a thorough investigation into an allegation by Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin. He said the police should look seriously into the allegation by Raja Petra as it might provide them with fresh evidence. In retaliation, the two people named in Raja Petra Kamarudin’s statutory declaration on June 18, Lt-Col Aziz Buyong and his wife Lt-Col Norhayati Hassan, as having been present at the murder scene of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu are suing the Malaysia Today editor for defamation. Aziz is seeking an apology from Raja Petra to be published in certain websites and newspapers, the removal of the statutory declaration from his blog and damages of RM1 million.

-Second Statutory Declaration

A second statutory declaration was filed on July 1, 2008 by Abdul Razak Baginda's private investigator P. Balasubramaniam, disclosing Najib's links to the murdered Mongolian girl. He said the police omitted information about the relationship between Najib and Mongolian murder victim Altantuya Shaariibuu in his statement. In the declaration Abdul Razak had told Balasubramaniam that the deputy prime minister had a sexual relationship with Altantuya and that the trio had dined together in Paris. Balasubramaniam detailed conversations in a statutory declaration in which the well-connected political analyst allegedly told him he had in effect inherited Altantuya as a lover from Najib, who passed her on because he didn’t want to be harassed as deputy prime minister. Among other lurid details, Balasubramaniam described text messages between Najib and Abdul Razak in which the latter was asking for help to avoid arrest. Former deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has called for a Royal Commission of Inquiry to look into the case.

P. Balasubramaniam made a retraction of the statutory declaration he made on July 1 and its replacement with one that erased all traces of allegations with references to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Altantuya Shaariibuu's murder. There were accusations that this new statutory declaration could have been due to intimidation or inducement, and was done on his free will. Bala's first lawyer Americk Singh Sidhu said he was not able to get in touch with Bala despite repeated phone calls. The Malaysian police said on 6 July that they have asked Interpol to help find the private investigator that has been reported missing since making explosive claims linking the deputy premier to a murder. Bala's nephew has filed a missing person's report, saying the investigator and his family had disappeared. It was discovered on July 10 that Balasubramaniam's house in Taman Pelangi here has been broken into but police have yet to ascertain whether anything was stolen. Balasubramaniam is said to have taken refuge in a neighbouring country with his wife and children.

-Alleged Interference by Najib

Even behind bars under ISA detention, Raja Petra's website Malaysia Today carried a report detailing allegations on an exchange of text messages between Najib and Shafee Abdullah, the prominent lawyer who represented Abdul Razak Baginda before he was charged with abetting two police officers in the murder of the Altantunya. The SMSes, which went on from 8 November to 2 December, 2006 raises some questions over the handling of the murder case and suggests that Najib took a strong interest in the investigation from the beginning.

Oct 31, 2008

The Never Ending Dilemmas

March 8 Tsunami caught PAS in a dilemma between defending Malay rights and keeping the support of non-Malays who had backed and strengthened the party. They are unable to resolve this dilemma, being trapped by their rival, UMNO. PAS returned to its old habits frequently showing an intolerance that is not in keeping with its preferred image now as a tolerant, moderate Islamic party that campaign general values in a multi-ethnic party.

Let me tell you about few incidents that indicate the intolerance of PAS and PKR upholding the equal rights in multi-ethnic Malaysia. In Kedah PAS wants 50% of house ownership reserved for bumiputras and in Selangor it is against a Chinese heading the state development corporation PKNS. What’s wrong? I’m not challenging Malay special rights, just arguing that why don’t we build competent Malaysia with power-sharing concept. The PKR is also in a similar dilemma having to carry an MP like Zulkifli Noordin whose ideology is far from the PKR ideology to create equality to all Malaysia without fear and favour, he involved in an incident when he led a protest against the Bar Council forum on “Conversion to Islam” in August, where he was accused of barging into the forum and making an inciteful speech.

Voices calling for relief for poor communities are needed, to push us out of our obsession with our monotonous, jingoistic "Social Contract" national narrative. We need to look at all Malaysians generally, even bumiputeras have failed to achieve the target for 30% equity despite nearly 40 years of NEP only proves that achieving equity through regulation will not achieve the objective increasing the wealth of bumiputeras in the shortest possible time. In fact, the 19% wealth ownership target, if accurate, has remained death since the 1990s. Why don’t we structure new “Policy’ to save all Malaysian? If Muslim compromise with non-Muslims is it clash with Islamic principles?

Clearly I can say that there are some party politics are caught between satisfying non-Muslim desire for equality and an end to discrimination and defending its Malay Muslim ground where there is fear that giving way social equality is a huge loss to Malay society. Lets we (Malay, Chinese, Indian, Sabahan and Sarawakian) strive together despite the differences of race and religion to form a harmony, developed, and competent nation upon Vision 2020.

Oct 30, 2008

Islam and Yoga

Yoga is not a religion. Rather, it is a set of techniques and skills that enhance the practice of any religion. A French author named Jean Déchanet discovered this in regard to his Catholic faith and wrote the book ChristianYoga (New York: Harper, 1960). In Malaysia Muslim’s case, I have found that Islamic yoga is a reality. It is possible to employ the skills of yoga to worship god better and to be a better human.

Yoga arose from the matrix of the Hindu world, although according to Mircea Eliade it is of pre-Hindu origin and can be traced back to prehistoric shamanism. Like India's other gifts to world civilization, for example the system of place notation on which all mathematics depends, yoga is not tied to the Hindu religion but has a universal applicability. It helps one to follow one's own religion better whatever that may be. Yoga is no substitute for any Islamic requirement, it just as a valuable addition to the spiritual path of one’s religion.

I totally disagree if Yoga banned for Muslims in Malaysia by authorities. Such act is more to the mockery of human rights, definitely not to protect the religion. I think it’s nothing wrong if write about Islam although I'm a Hindu. Correct me if I have misunderstood about Islam and yoga.

Oct 29, 2008

Are You Following Global Market Price?

Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir Abdul Samad said that the minimum price of petrol should be RM1.92 per litre even if the global oil price continues to fall. This is despite their earlier pledge in August to strictly follow market price with 0.30 cents subsidy per litre.

Government has promised in August that it will update the fuel price according to world price. Government fixed the price at a minimum of RM 1.92 and maximum of RM 2.70. The decision is unacceptable, is there any logic you need to fix the minimum price? That means even the price in world market dropped at the lowest rate; you will be maintain the price at RM 1.92? Malaysians are suffering with rising living cost due to the fuel price, hope government to revise their decision to fix the 'minimum' price to reduce the peoples burden.

Oct 28, 2008

Crisis in Malaysian Football? Stop Racism Now!

THE Malaysian football team faces abject failure in the recent tournaments, sparked a furious debate as fans, officials, football experts and the media grapple over the reasons behind the alarming slide of the nation in world football. However, this search for the answers to the Malaysian team’s mounting problems hit a embarrassing note when the issue of racism was brought up. Although the Malaysian government is under constant criticism from the global free press movement for the limitations it places on the country’s mainstream media, the fact that this issue of racism in sports was brought up by the national tabloid New Straits Times is an indication of the loosening of these controls.

Now that this issue of racism in sports has been brought up, it would be a big mistake to sweep it under carpet again and the best course of action is to take closer look at it. The question of whether race is a major criterion in the selection of players for the national team arose from the fact that the squad that fared so badly in in the last years 2007 Asian Cup comprised just one Indian while the rest was Malays. This led to the question of why the other races, especially the Chinese, were not selected and fears that football, the nation’s favourite sport, has become a divisive factor in our multi-racial society.


A senior FAM official hit the nail on the head when he said race had no bearing on team selection and the coaches just had no choice but to select the best players at their disposal and most of them were Malays. His statement touched on the disturbing situation of preference and dominance of different sports along racial line in Malaysia.

National basketball and volleyball teams are dominated by Chinese players simply because these sports are very popular among Chinese youths while very few youths from other races take up these sports seriously. The question of racial bias in selections for the national basketball and volleyball teams never arose because it is accepted that the best players in these sports come from the Chinese community.

However, the situation in football is different because once this sport cut across racial lines and was widely played among all races and the national team was made up of players of different races. The great Malaysian teams of the 70's and 80's were truly a mixed bag with the likes of S.Ravindran, Soh Chin Aun, Shukor Salleh, Santokh Singh, Mothtar Dahari, Wong Choon Wah, Hassan Sani, Arumugam, Chow Chee Keong, Abdah Alif, James Wong, Isa Bakar, Bakri Ibni, Lim Teong Kim and others donning national colours.

The question of whether race is a major criterion in the selection of players for the national team arose from the fact that the squad that fared so badly in the recent tournaments. This led to the question of why the other races, especially the Indian and Chinese, were not selected and fears that football, the nation’s favourite sport, has become a divisive factor in our multi-racial society.

Restructure back the dream team as it was in 70's and 80's, multiracial team able to perform well in order to bring the glorious moments.


Oct 26, 2008

Have a Simple Deepavali

With the economic crisis we are facing now, try to spend money efficiently. Simple and a Deepavali with a lot of hopes is more than enough for us now. Pray for those who are in Internal Security Act (ISA) especially HINDRAF5 and Raja Petra.

அனைவருக்கும் தீபாவளி வாழ்த்துக்கள்!