Plans for fugitive and Mahathir to talk on phone

Plans for fugitive and Mahathir to talk on phone
Sirul Azhar was one of two former police commandos convicted of murdering Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu

Arrangements are being made for a phone call between former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad and Sirul Azhar, one of two former police commandos convicted of murdering Mongolian interpreter Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Tun Dr Mahathir last week called for a new probe after Sirul, who is now in Australia, claimed he was following orders to kill her.

The planned phone conversation will hopefully yield information on the 2006 murder case.

Ms Shaariibuu's death sparked speculation that she had been killed to silence her over alleged kickbacks to high-level Malaysian officials in the purchase of French submarines in 2002, when Prime Minister Najib Razak was defence minister.

Datuk Seri Najib has repeatedly denied any involvement in the case.

On Wednesday, Dr Mahathir met Sirul's mother and uncle at his office in Putrajaya. When Dr Mahathir was prime minister, Sirul was one of his bodyguards.

Wednesday's meeting was arranged by Parti Islam SeMalaysia MP Mahfuz Omar.

The opposition MP told reporters in Parliament yesterday that he plans to arrange for the two men to talk on the phone.

"I hope that Sirul will be able to tell all that happened to Tun directly. I believe that if offered, Tun would be ready to talk to Sirul himself," he said.

Dr Mahathir, continuing his attack yesterday, questioned why Mr Najib was unable to answer "simple questions" on 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and Ms Shaariibuu's murder, and instead asked people to support him.

Writing on his personal blog, he challenged those who pledged their support for Mr Najib to also say they support the controversial 1MDB.

"I am not asking anybody to support me. But I am going to ask all those who support Najib to declare they all support his 1MDB, 1MDB borrowing RM42 billion (S$15.6 billion) and his inability to answer where the money is when asked."

asruls@sph.com.sg

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