PETALING JAYA - Police will explore all channels and work with Wisma Putra to resolve problems that may arise if Australia refuses to extradite former commando Sirul Azhar Umar, who faces the gallows in Malaysia for the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Noor Rashid Ibrahim said Malaysia had not been officially notified of Australia's decision as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
Yesterday, the paper reported that Australia would refuse the extradition of the former policeman because it would violate the country's laws of not sending home a person facing the death sentence.
Sirul is reported to have been in Australia since November.
His lawyer Kamarul Hisham Kamaruddin said Sirul could have legally left the country before he was convicted of murdering Altantuya.
He added that the prosecution had not applied to have Sirul remanded pending the disposal of the appeal in the Federal Court against his acquittal.
Sirul, 42, caused a stir when he failed to appear in the Federal Court to hear the verdict against him for murder, with news reports emerging that he was in Australia. (Sentenced to death with him was former chief inspector Azilah Hadri, 38.)
The Federal Court has since issued a warrant for his arrest.
Kamarul said he had not been in contact with his client since June last year, about a week after the Federal Court hearing concluded.
He said his client was a free man between the time the Court of Appeal acquitted him and when the Federal Court reversed the decision.
"He also did not have to surrender any documents because of that, and to hold him in remand or custody without reason would have been against the Constitution," Kamarul said.
However, the prosecution could have applied under Section 56A of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964 to remand his client pending the appeal before the Federal Court, he said.
"But the prosecution did not invoke the law, which is usually used against foreigners, not Malaysians," he added.
Under the section, a court may issue a warrant directing that the accused be arrested and have him remanded in prison or admit him to bail pending the disposal of the appeal.
Deputy Solicitor-General (II) Datuk Tun Abdul Majid Tun Hamzah confirmed that the prosecution had not invoked Section 56A.