PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - The Court of Appeal judges should have asked for a retrial in the murder case of Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu instead of acquitting Kpl Sirul Azhar Umar and C/Insp Azilah Hadri, says former minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Zaid Ibrahim.
Zaid, who was formerly in charge of the legal portfolio, tweeted: "I am disappointed with the Court of Appeal judges. Not for acquittal but for failing to order a retrial #fb."
"In the interest of justice, a balanced retrial would have been appropriate. Now, it's not possible," said Zaid when contacted by The Star.
He said if a retrial was ordered, it would have allowed both sides to take another look at the case as "witnesses can be called again, to get justice".
"I think the decision to acquit those two puts an end to this case altogether. Under the double jeopardy law, they can't be tried for the same charges again," he said.
According to Zaid, the Court of Appeal in England could order a retrial as the law sets out certain circumstances allowing it.
"I believe the rules in Malaysia are the same. There should not be an acquittal when something seems to suggest that it's not right - in our case, there was a prior conviction," said the former de facto law minister.
He said the Court of Appeal itself had pointed out several flaws in the earlier trial - unclear evidence, material discrepancies and the failure to call key witnesses.