The Guardian reported yesterday that the Australian authorities have approved a request from Malaysia to extradite Sirul within a month after Malaysia agreed to bear the costs of his travel (‘Australia to extradite Malaysian hitman Sirul Azhar Umar’, 7.6.2018).
It is unclear if the said report is true.
In any event, the newly elected Pakatan Harapan (PH) government has promised major reforms including the abolishment of the death penalty which I wholly agree with. In fact, Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin recently confirmed that his ministry will be reviewing the death penalty with a view to its eventual abolishment and I will be filing an application for a stay of execution on behalf of one of my clients who is currently on death row for a drug trafficking offence in the Federal Court pending the said abolishment based on Muhyddin’s said assurance.
As such, there is a very real possibility that Sirul will be spared the death penalty as well if he is extradited as it is likely that the said abolishment will apply retrospectively in the event it is passed. I have said before that Sirul must serve his sentence in Malaysia and if the death penalty is abolished, his said sentence will be commuted to life imprisonment.
In the circumstances, I urge the Australian authorities to seriously consider extraditing Sirul (if the decision to do so has not yet been made) as this may trigger fresh investigations into Altantuya’s murder, particularly on the question of who ordered the same. I have said before that the motive of the said murder must be exposed as the failure to do so can give rise to the perception that certain parties are being protected.
If further investigations reveal a cover up on this issue, all those involved must be dealt with according to law and possibly be charged for aiding and abetting in her murder.
I also wish to announce that Dr Shaariibuu Setev, the father of Altantuya will travel to Malaysia from Mongolia in the next two weeks, during which time, I hope to arrange an appointment for him and myself (as his counsel) to meet with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and newly appointed Attorney General Tommy Thomas to discuss the possibility of reopening investigations into the case or alternatively, setting up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the purpose of establishing the motive behind the murder.
Sirul’s return may unravel the mystery of who wanted Altantuya dead and why. Those responsible for her inhumane demise must be brought to justice and I am committed to achieving this end with the help of the new PH government.