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Saturday, August 20, 2011

September a worrying month for Najib as Scorpenes probe pick up pace

Sulaiman Kamal | 12:35 AM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Nine years ago in 2002, when current Prime Minister Najib Razak was defense minister, Malaysia ordered two diesel-electric Scorpene attack submarines from French shipbuilder DCNS as part of a naval upgrade. This singular event has since set off a chain of consequences that have culminated into a sensational story of corruption, murder and sex befitting a paperback blockbuster novel.
An upcoming investigation into the 2002 deal by a French appointed investigative judge aims to “get at the truth surrounding the commisions”, according to human rights activist group Voice of the Malaysian People (Suaram) director Kua Kia Soong.

As the time draws closer for the true story to unravel through the French investigation beginning in September, Najib and his government will be under increasingly heavy scrutiny not only for the alleged bribery that was paid out as “commissions” to government officials during the sale but even more sensationally for his involvement in the murder of Mongolian translator, Altantuya Sharibuu in 2006.
During the sale of the two submarines, a 114 million euros “fee” was paid by DCNS to an alleged shell company Perimekar Sdn. Bhd., whose major shareholder is wife of Najib’s close friend and then defense analyst Abdul Razak Baginda. Altantuya, who had been having an affair with Baginda, had apparently found out about this and demanded a share of 500,000 euros from Baginda, an act that effectively led to her demise. The rest, as we know, is still a mystery.
Here is a succinct timeline for the occurrences that took place following the Scorpene deal:
In October 2006, Mongolian national Altantuya Sharibuu was shot in the head and blown up with C4 explosives in Shah Alam, sparking a sensational trial and investigation into Malaysia’s most prominent leaders and government officials. Baginda and two police officers, Chief Inspector Azilah Hadri and Corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, of the Malaysian Police Special Action Force and bodyguards to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak were arrested for the murder.
In June 2008, Raja Petra Kamarudin in a statutory declaration implicated Prime Minister Najib’s wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mandor in Altantuya’s murder.
In July 2008, private investigator P. Balasubramaniam disappeared the day after he filed a statutory declaration that disclosed Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s links to Altantuya and his direct interference in her murder investigation. Bala further claimed that Najib had a sexual relationship with the victim, and that Baginda had inherited her as a lover from Najib.
On October 31st 2008, Baginda was acquitted of the allegation that he abetted the murder of the Mongolian translator, with whom he had been having an affair.
On February 3rd 2009, Sirul pleaded with the court to not sentence him to death as he was “a black sheep that has to be sacrificed” to protect unnamed people.
In April 2009, the two special force policemen received stone-facedly death sentences for the murder of Mongolian beauty.
In March 2010, French judicial officials launched an investigation into the 2002 Scorpene submarine sale at the request of Suaram.
A month ago, French lawyer William Bourdon hired by Suaram, was deported from Kuala Lumpur for giving a speech at a Suaram dinner in Penang on Thursday.
The elephant in the room
With the investigation looming ahead, the series of events and the Malaysian government’s dubious actions can no longer be ignored or sidelined as irrelevant coincidences, and the overlapping links between Altantuya’s death and the Scorpene scandal are difficult to overlook.
Of the myriad of mysteries still shrouding this case, it is of the utmost importance that the relationship between Altantuya’s murder and the Scorpene scandal, as well Najib and Razak’s involvement in both of the above do not remain the elephant in the room.
Perhaps with the commencement of the investigation into “Ops Scorpene” in September, the gritty truth behind Altantuya’s murder and the full extent of the corruption within our government will finally meet the public’s eye.

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