Aug 30 verdict on RM100mil suit by Altantuya's family

SHAH ALAM: The High Court has set Aug 30 to deliver its decision in a RM100mil suit filed by the family of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu over her death in 2006.

Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera fixed the date on Friday (May 20) after witnesses from both sides finished testifying.

On June 4, 2007, Altantuya's parents, Dr Shaariibuu Setev and Altantsetseg Sanjaa as well as their two grandsons Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga filed the suit against former policemen Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, as well as political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda and the Malaysian government.

However, Altanshagai Munkhtulga’s name was later removed from the plaintiff’s list when he passed away in 2017.

In a statement of claim, the family claimed Altantuya’s death resulted in them suffering mental shock and psychological trauma, and sought compensation as well as exemplary and aggravated damages.

The court also set June 20 for the plaintiffs to file submissions and July 20 for the defendants to submit the reply, and Aug 4 for the parties to file counter submissions.

A total of 26 witnesses for the plaintiffs including Dr Shaariibuu and Altantuya's eldest son Bayarkhuu testified at the trial which began in 2019, and the government presented three witnesses while Abdul Razak chose not to testify.

Earlier, Senior Federal Counsel Zetty Zurina Kamarudin, representing the Malaysian government, informed the court that they had closed the case after their last witness, retired police officer Datuk Mastor Mohd Ariff, 60, finished testifying.

Mastor said Azilah and Sirul Azhar were not involved in any operations including special and confidential duties between Oct 19 and 20, 2006 (the date Altantuya was said to have disappeared and been murdered).

"And when they were not involved in any operation, they would be on duty during office hours between 8am until 5pm,” said the witness.

To a question from lawyer Sangeet Kaur Deo, representing the family, the witness said he was entirely responsible for the firearms and explosives stored in the Bukit Aman armoury while serving as a commanding officer there.

Mastor also agreed with the lawyer's suggestion that police personnel could not take out a firearm without the permission of a superior officer.

On Thursday (May 19), the investigation officer for the murder case, Supt Tonny Anak Lunggan, 42, told the court that there were no orders from any senior-ranked officer for Sirul Azhar to remove a firearm from Bukit Aman’s armoury in 2006.

In his witness statement, Supt Tonny said "Corporal 125591" had been registered on Page 20 of the armoury registry, with an accompanying signature, for the firearm bearing the serial number S98756.

He said Corporal 125591 was Sirul Azhar’s police identification number and the weapon listed was an MP 5 (S).

Based on information from the registry, Supt Tonny said the same firearm had been taken out on Oct 4, 2006, and returned at 8.15am on Oct 30 the same year.

During Friday's proceedings, another retired police officer, Sjn Mejar Rosli Ibrahim, 51, the government's second witness, also testified. – Bernama

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