As the tortured family of Altantuya Shaariibuu awaits the verdict of their civil case against defendants they accuse of her brutal murder, it is worth considering the context that led to this parlous state of affairs and what it says about the way Malaysia has been run by its UMNO mafia ‘elite’ in recent decades.
The family have argued convincingly that the motive for abducting Altantuya from where she had held her noisy vigil outside the house of Razak Baginda and having her murdered by two bodyguards working for Baginda’s boss, the then deputy prime minister and former defence secretary Najib Razak, was to shut her up.
The bodyguards have now testified that Najib told them to kill Altantuya because she was a spy. They had no idea who she was but followed orders, speeding away from Najib’s premises to where Altantuya was that day and then ‘arresting’ her and driving her to a lonely spot where they shot her and blew her up.
One of the bodyguards has said that Najib warned that Altantuya would plead she was pregnant, which she was, but not to believe her or to have mercy. They acted accordingly and ignored her pleas to save her unborn child. Her family are now demanding compensation to help them with the costs of bringing up the two children she left behind and for their loss.
Altantuya’s reason for shouting outside his house was that she wanted financial assistance, namely $500,000 USD after he had dumped her pregnant following their affair. She said she knew about the kickbacks he and Najib had received from DCNS and would speak out if she didn’t get the money.
Witness, PI Bala (himself now deceased before his time) later said that Baginda had rued not paying the money following the rapid discovery of her murder and the identification of the two bodyguards as the perpetrators, the trail soon therefore returning back to him.
If none of this is true, then last week Razak Baginda failed to take his opportunity to deny it on the stand. However, we do now know that he could have certainly afforded the money out of what he himself admits he netted from DCNS acting as Najib’s proxy and go-between for the bribes the French courts found the company guilty of last month.
In an interview with the Financial Times back in 2019 as the French case was underway Razak Baginda admitted that he received €30 million (RM137 million) as his payment for as a ‘consultation fee’ on the deal where he was already a paid government servant as Najib’s advisor.
“It was a legitimate agreement. I did my job and I got paid for it. And I never paid any official” was his jaw-dropping comment.
Only an utterly corrupted UMNO flunkey could imagine in a month of Sundays that €30 million euros could be considered a reasonable ‘consultation fee’ for a hired civil servant barely qualified to identify a submarine engine from a horse and cart. Only someone drenched in the sea of stolen money that the kleptocrats from UMNO have rewarded themselves with at the expense of the population could have imagined others would regard such an enormous secret payment to be in any way ‘legitimate’.
With RM137 million a generation of Sarawak schoolchildren could have had their education transformed or a badly needed hospital could have finally been built in Lawas. Yet this money was paid to one Mr Razak Baginda who would have not added a cent of useful knowledge to the construction of a single submarine.
We all know what Razak Baginda was actually paid for, thanks to what has come out in the French court. It was his own wife who posed as the shareholder of the company Perimekar Sdn Bid to which DCNS has been found to have illegally paid a further whopping €114 million in further bogus consultation fees – a sum that has been identified by the courts as having been passed on to Najib himself (this is the man who fancies himself as the best prospect to return as the country’s prime minister once more). One wonders how much his long-suffering wife got paid herself for acting in such a role?
Yet Razak Baginda plainly tells himself that he earned a legitimate buck at an honest rate (after all, the deal took place over eight whole years he sanctimoniously informed the Financial Times) as the sort of nice little earner on the side that a salaried civil servant with the right connections can reasonably expect to be paid.
This is the culture that Razak Baginda has been nurtured within and so he plainly sees nothing wrong in what shocks any normal right-minded person from a country that has been decently governed. For UMNO the biggest thieves are at the top, grabbing billions and hundreds of millions, as the present trials of Najib and Zahid have exposed, whilst their minions and facilitators measure their own achievement in terms of how near they have situated themselves to where the fountain of graft spills over.
Poorer voters and non-Malays (except for handy crooked businessmen who assist in the theft of Malaysia’s wealth) can expect nothing except for a bag of rice and crate of beer on election day to remind who rules.
So soaked is Razak Baginda in this corruption and so small is his understanding of what the real responsibilities of government consist of that he really thinks his bloated backhander for helping Najib steal from his own people is a reasonable payment. Whereas on the other hand he thinks his translator cum mistress (who was at least qualified in the French language unlike him, the supposed consultant) was not worth a cent either to bring up their child or to keep silent about something he likes to claim was “legitimate”.
The bodyguards took a small tip for the job they were given by comparison after all.
In UMNO Malaysia where Baginda was reared to think this way his reasoning proved logical as far as the mafia run state was managed. The charges raised against him as the prime suspect were rapidly dropped after the intervention of his powerful boss Najib. He was then allowed to swan off to ‘study’ at Oxford University in the UK whilst posing as a very religious fellow (as all his type in UMNO like to do at the same time as they shame their faith by breaking every rule laid down).
Thanks to the outrage of the more decent and unrewarded wider population who have been scandalously cheated by these UMNO kleptocrats, enough leaked out about this case so that for a brief period when an elected government ruled from 2018 investigations began again into the murder and thefts around this case.
It says everything about the parlous state of affairs in Malaysia today that with the return of UMNO, following an establishment coup, such investigations have been suspended and that whilst revealed as a thief in France, Baginda and his boss have yet to face a single indictment about their purloining of millions from Scorpene, let alone their role in the death of Altantuya.