Sorry Najib, Malaysia powerless to extradite Sirul - says Saifuddin
PUTRAJAYA – The Malaysian government is currently powerless to re-initiate and ensure a successful extradition of fugitive wanted man, Sirul Azhar Umar who was sentenced to death over the murder of Mongolian woman, Altantuya Shaaribuu in 2006.
The remark by Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail had essentially poured cold water over the request by jailed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who implored for the government to revisit the matter with their Australian counterpart.
“Sirul’s return to Malaysia can only be done if he himself wants to [return],” said Saifuddin at a press conference at the 17th PKR Annual Congress at PICC Putrajaya, here, today.
“Until that happens, the government will only view Najib’s request as a suggestion. The government, however, will keep abreast with the latest update [on this matter],” he assured.
Najib, through his legal counsel – Shafee & Co – made such request yesterday, following a tell-all interview in Al-Jazeera’s 101 East programme where Sirul spewed a bevy of suggestive aspersions implying Najib’s role in Altantuya’s murder.
According to Saifuddin, Malaysia was unable to extradite Sirul from Australia because the latter country will not deport asylum seekers who were given a death sentence from their home country.
“Australia does not recognise our death sentence,” Saifuddin summed it.
However, Sirul now can get his death sentence reviewed as Malaysia has recently enforced the Revision of Sentence of Death and Imprisonment for Natural Life (Temporary Jurisdiction of the Federal Court) Act 2023 (Act 847).
Act 847 along with the abolishment of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023 for offences such as drug trafficking and murder meant that Sirul stood a chance to escape the gallows and get a second chance at life.
“In Sirul’s case, if he wants to utilise this legal avenue to get his sentence reviewed, he can do so by asking his lawyers to submit an application for it,” Saifuddin explained.
Under Act 847, judges have the discretion to impose either the death penalty or a prison sentence for a period of not less than 30 years and up to 40 years, and if not sentenced to death, shall also be punished with whipping of not less than 12 strokes for male convicts below 50 years of age.