KUALA LUMPUR — The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC) is seeking a formal request from private investigator P. Balasubramaniam to enable the graft busters to probe allegations he has made about the circumstances surrounding the death of Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The missing private detective has made a series of sensational claims that Najib knew murdered Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu and his brother Nazim and a businessman linked to the prime minister’s wife made him retract a statutory declaration on the case.
Earlier this month, Balasubramaniam (picture), who is now overseas, had said he was prepared to give a statement to MACC.
The MACC had, in a letter dated Dec 17 to the private detective's lawyer Americk Sidhu, asked Balasubramaniam to deal formally with the agency.
"The MACC have contacted me by sending a letter to my office in KL requesting that I correspond with them on a formal basis before they respond to my original offer of arranging an appointment for them to interview Bala.
"Their letter to my office was dated 17th Dec and arrived on the 21st," Americk said in an email response to The Malaysian Insider.
Balasubramaniam had expressed his intention to cooperate with MACC in an email to the agency earlier this month. On Dec 4, PKR Youth chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin lodged a police report over Balasubramaniam's allegations and handed over a recording of an interview with the private investigator to the authorities.
After a number of blogs and news portals published the interview conducted with Balasubramaniam and his lawyers in Singapore, a number of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders had lodged reports with the MACC.
Balasubramaniam, in his original email to MACC, had listed down conditions for his questioning by the authorities, including a requirement that it be conducted either in Singapore or London.
Asked today if he thought the MACC's response was positive, Americk said:
"I am not sure whether we can consider the MACC's response as positive as all they have asked is for me to reiterate what I have stated earlier in a formal format.
"In this day and age I am not sure why the MACC consider an email not 'formal'."
Datuk Seri Najib Razak has frostily ignored Balasubramaniam’s claims that his architect brother was allegedly involved in the private investigator’s disappearance and payoff for his silence in the Altantuya murder case.
The Umno president has previously denied knowing Altantuya, who was killed in October 2006, despite claims by Bala and popularised by fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin. Najib’s close friend, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, was acquitted of charges of plotting her murder while two elite policemen are to hang for the offence. They are appealing the sentence.
In an interview with Bala carried in Raja Petra’s Malaysia-Today.net news portal, the private investigator claimed he met architect Nazim, a younger brother of Najib, last year.
Bala claimed the meeting had been arranged by a carpet businessman identified as Deepak Jaikishan, whom the investigator claimed was a close associate of Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, the PM’s wife.
He also alleged that he was offered RM5 million to retract his first statutory declaration and that his family was threatened if he did not do it.
The former Special Branch policeman further claimed he was forced to sign a second pre-prepared statutory declaration which he claims to have never read and was paid RM750,000 after he disappeared.
So far, no one knows the whereabouts of the private investigator but he claimed he returned three times to Malaysia this year since fleeing in July 2008 after issuing contradictory statutory declarations. Police are seeking him although he claimed to have given them his statement in Bangkok before travelling to India.
Pakatan Rakyat has used the Altantuya case in some of its campaigns in the nine by-elections since Election 2008, winning seven in most opposition-held constituencies. The only Barisan Nasional seat it wrested effectively was the Kuala Terengganu parliamentary seat.