Altantuya Shaariibuu’s family succeeded in obtaining witness statements recorded by police in relation to her 2006 murder.
The Court of Appeal today allowed the family’s appeal to access statements recorded by police involving witnesses, both called during a related criminal trial as well as those not called to testify.
The family's appeal was against the Shah Alam High Court decision on July 23 last year, which denied their application to obtain the statements recorded by police under Section 112 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
With access to these documents, the family seeks to strengthen their case in their civil action against the government over her murder. The civil litigation is ongoing before the Shah Alam High Court.
Among the statements the family seeks are those that the police recorded from the two former police commandos, Azilah Hadri and Sirul Azhar Umar, who were convicted and sentenced to death over the murder.
The family’s counsel, Sangeet Kaur Deo, today confirmed that a three-person Court of Appeal bench, chaired by Nor Bee Ariffin, unanimously allowed the appeal.
“Our appeal was allowed,” she said when contacted after proceedings today.
The lawyer explained that the bench, which also comprised judges Supang Lian and Mariana Yahya, had ruled that the police statements are not privileged documents and can be opened to access for civil actions.
In 2007, Altantuya’s family filed the RM100 million civil suit against the two former cops, political analyst Abdul Razak Razak, and the government.
The family members comprise Altantuya’s father Shaariibuu Setev, his wife Altantsetseg Sanjaa, as well as two of their grandsons, Mungunshagai Bayarjargal and Altanshagai Munkhtulga.
However, Altanshagai’s name was removed as a plaintiff following his death in 2017.
Altantuya was murdered in Shah Alam on Oct 19, 2006, with her remains blown up using military-grade explosives.
Sirul and Azilah, bodyguards to then-deputy prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, were convicted of the murder, while Razak was acquitted.
The conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2013, and Sirul fled the country for Australia before the Federal Court upheld the conviction in 2015.
Australia reportedly refuses to deport Sirul until Malaysia abolishes its death penalty.