PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has issued a letter of demand to former attorney-general Tommy Thomas for defaming him in his recently published memoir “My Story: Justice in the Wilderness”.
Najib’s lawyer, Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, said his client was seeking an apology and RM10 million in compensation.
“If we do not receive a satisfactory reply from you by this Friday, our clear instruction is to institute legal proceedings early next week,” he said.
In the letter of demand to Thomas, Najib said that on Jan 31, the former had published a book and the alleged defamation was in chapter 42 under the title “Altantuya” which ran from pages 400 to 405.
The letter also stated that by clear inference and innuendo, Thomas had conveyed the
message that he, as the then AG and public prosecutor (between June 6, 2018 and Feb 28 last year), was satisfied of the truthfulness of the allegations by two convicted persons that Najib was involved in directing them to murder Altantuya Shaariibuu.
“By clear and irresistible inference and innuendo, you have conveyed the message to all readers of your book that irrespective of the decisions of the courts, our client was nevertheless guilty of directing the murder of Altantuya,” it said.
The notice also calls for an immediate and unequivocal public retraction of the statement from the book and an undertaking not to repeat the allegations and comments.
On Dec 8, former policeman Azilah Hadri’s final legal attempt to escape the death sentence for the murder of Altantuya fizzled out after the Federal Court threw out his review application to set aside a 2015 final ruling and order a retrial.
The five-member bench, chaired by Chief Judge of Malaya Azahar Mohamed, said there was no miscarriage of justice or violation of any written law to allow the review.
Azilah, who had been convicted of murdering Altantuya, along with his partner Sirul Azhar Umar, issued a statutory declaration (SD) as part of an application in the Federal Court for the review.
In his SD, which was not expunged by the court, Azilah said, among others, that Altantuya’s former lover, Abdul Razak Baginda, and senior police officer Musa Safri were aware of “instructions” from Najib.
Azilah, in his attached sworn statement, said it was Najib who had directed the “shoot to kill” order on Altantuya.
Razak was acquitted of abetment in Altantuya’s murder case while Najib has strongly denied allegations of his involvement.
Azilah and Sirul were sentenced to death nine years after Altantuya was killed in a forest near Shah Alam and her body blown up with explosives in 2006.
Altantuya’s father, Setev, his wife, Altantsetseg Sanjaa, and Altantuya’s son, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal, have filed a RM100 million suit, naming Razak, the government, Sirul and Azilah as defendants.
The family, which alleges conspiracy in Altantuya’s murder, is seeking RM100 million in damages, including dependency claims.
Sirul fled to Australia before the final verdict and is currently being held at an Australian detention centre.
Razak, who was charged with abetment in the murder, was freed at the end of the prosecution’s case.
Neither Sirul nor Azilah, who is on death row at Kajang Prison, have challenged the suit.