I was paid RM1mil to keep my mouth shut, says Sirul

PETALING JAYA: Sirul Azhar Umar says he received RM1mil from unnamed sources for his silence on the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder during his detention in Australia.

He said a prominent politically-linked lawyer and a top Cabinet leader were involved in the payment.

ALSO READ: Altantuya’s father shocked over decision to release Sirul from detention

In an interview with Al-Jazeera's 101 East programme aired on Friday (Nov 24) morning, the former policeman said he was made a scapegoat and pawn in a political game.

He further claimed he was not responsible for Altantuya's murder despite being convicted for the crime.

"For many years people in my country have been waiting to know who gave the order to kill Altantuya, but I cannot reveal that," he said.

He claimed, however, the order to kill Altantuya was made by a top politician.

"I feel in danger to return (to Malaysia) as I feel it's unsafe and want to build a life with my child here in Australia.

"I love Australia and urge the community here to give me a second chance and accept us," he added.

Sirul also named a well-connected person over links to Altantuya.

ALSO READ: Issues remain in extraditing Sirul

He also apologised to Altantuya's family and asked for their forgiveness.

Altantuya was abducted and murdered in Shah Alam in October 2006, and her remains blown up with military-grade explosives.

Sirul and Azilah Hadri, two of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's bodyguards, were convicted of the murder in 2009.

The Court of Appeal overturned the conviction in 2013 and ordered their release.

During the prosecution's appeal, Sirul fled to Australia. The Federal Court upheld the conviction and reinstated the death penalty.

Former political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, who was charged together with Sirul and Azilah, was freed on Oct 31, 2008, after the court found no concrete evidence against him.

ALSO READ: Former cop Sirul Azhar freed from Australian immigration detention

Sirul was arrested and detained by Australian immigration authorities in January 2015 but was not deported owing to the country's policy of not deporting people facing the death penalty.

On Nov 8, the Australian High Court ruled that indefinite immigration detention was unlawful, although the government could impose appropriate visa conditions to protect the local community.

On Dec 16 last year, High Court Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera (now Court of Appeal judge) allowed the suit by Altantuya's family and ordered former policemen Azilah, Sirul, Abdul Razak, and the Malaysian government to jointly pay RM5mil in general, aggravated and exemplary damages to the family.

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