SHAH ALAM (Bernama): “We all died the moment she did and our lives have fallen apart ever since.”
Those are the words of Dr Shaariibuu Setev, the father of slain Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, in a civil suit hearing at the High Court here Monday.
Wiping his tears, Dr Shaariibuu, 69, said Altantuya, who was his eldest child, also happened to be the most educated and most reliable person in the family.
“She used to financially contribute to my wife, myself and also to her two sons.
“She was a very good mother. At the time, the boys were only 10 and four. The younger one was born with medical complications; he was mentally alert but had physical impairments.
“Before her death, the boy received constant medical care and could walk short distances.
“She (Altantuya) would always do physical exercises with him to increase his mobility. She even took him to other countries for medical treatment,” he said.
The part-time professor at the Mongolian National University said this when asked by his counsel Sangeet Kaur Deo at the hearing of the RM100mil suit filed by him and his family against two former policemen, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, and the Malaysian government.
Shaariibuu said all his daughter's responsibilities had fallen upon his shoulders and he could not do as much for her children as she had done.
“At our age and my earning capacity, my wife and I cannot do as much for Altantuya's children, especially for the younger boy. His condition has worsened to the point that his movement became very limited. He was bedridden.
“I have to work very hard to solely provide for this family. Her older boy started doing odd jobs during summer holidays to help us out financially from a very young age. We could not even buy him new clothes for school.
“I cannot describe how bad things have become. I had to sell our apartment and all our valuables to support these children.
“You may think a professor would be earning well, but in Mongolia, a professor is paid an equivalent of US$700 per month (RM2,879). Currently, I’m earning US$800 per month (RM3,290),” he said.
Sadness engulfed the courtroom when Shaariibuu said Altantuya's youngest son, Altanshagai Munkhtulga, was not even aware of his mother's death as they just told him that she had gone very far.
“During festivals and birthdays, we prepared gifts for him and said that it was from his mother. However, on Jan 19, 2017, he passed away at the age of 15. He missed his mother every day,” he said.
His lawyer Sangeet asked, “Can you tell us how else you were directly involved in this case?”
Dr Shaariibuu said, “I was updated on the progress of the investigations by honorary Mongolian Consul-General in Malaysia Datuk Syed Abdul Rahman AlHabshi. I was also informed that I was required to attend as a witness in the criminal trial.
“On Aug 29, 2008, Syed Abdul Rahman sent an email to the Mongolian Foreign Affairs Ministry stating that he was a member of the then-ruling party and was seeking to dismiss all speculation of the involvement of Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who was the deputy prime minister at the time,” he said.
In his witness statement Monday, Shaariibuu said the email was translated for him by a Mongolian lawyer after a ministry official, Ganbold D, provided him with a copy.
He also claimed that Syed Abdul Rahman had invited him to his house in Kuala Lumpur, where he showed him a large photo of himself with Najib soon after the acquittal of Abdul Razak Baginda for abetment in Altantuya's murder.
“He told me that they were good friends,” Shaariibuu told the High Court when examined by Sangeet.
Shaariibuu said Syed Abdul Rahman also insisted that he hand over records of Altantuya's flight tickets and bank statements as well as several photographs of her.
“I was under the impression that they were to be used for the criminal trial. I do not know whether all those documents were sent to the relevant authorities or used in the trial,” he said.
When asked what was his claim in this suit, Shaariibuu said he was seeking justice in this case.
He and his wife Altantsetseg Sanjaa and their two grandsons, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga, filed the RM100mil suit on June 4, 2007.
However, Altanshagai’s name was removed as a plaintiff as he died two years ago.
In the statement of claim, the family alleged that Altantuya's death had caused them mental shock and psychological trauma, entitling them to be compensated with exemplary and aggravated damages.
The trial before Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera continues tomorrow (Jan 29). – Bernama