Decades of waiting: A list of Malaysia's cold cases

A look at Malaysia's unsolved crimes

18 Jun 2024 09:44am
Seventeen years after the Nurin Jazlin case, the motive for the murder remains a mystery.
Seventeen years after the Nurin Jazlin case, the motive for the murder remains a mystery.

SHAH ALAM - The high-profile cases of six-year-old autistic child Zayn Rayyan Abdul Matiin's death and Selangor FC footballer Faisal Halim's acid attack continue to capture public attention, but the perpetrators remain unidentified.

Unfortunately, these recent cases join a list of other high-profile, unresolved cases.

One such high-profile case that has yet to be solved is the brutal murder of eight-year-old girl Nurin Jazlin Jazimin, who went missing when she went to a night market near her home in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur on Aug 20, 2007.

Her disappearance shocked the entire nation, even though social media was not as active as today.

The victim, who suffered from kidney complications and high blood pressure at the time, went out alone to buy hair clips.

The child's body was found in a tragic state stuffed into a sports bag without a stitch of clothing on the morning of Sept 17, 2007, almost a month after her disappearance.

The sports bag, placed in front of a shophouse in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, was discovered by the shop owner, who found the body positioned like a fetus inside. Police believed she had been dead for more than six hours before the discovery.

More heartbreaking, cucumbers and brinjals were found stuffed into the victim's private parts, causing her rectum to rupture.

However, the identity of the criminal remains a mystery as no suspect has been arrested to date.

Later, the country was again shocked by the case of the disappearance of Sharlinie Mohd Nashar on Jan 9, 2008, who was four years old at the time.

The third of four siblings, she was reported missing after playing with her sister, Sharliena, 7, at a playground in Taman Medan, Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

On the way back to their rented house about 200 metres from the playground, Sharliena heard footsteps and turned around.

But when she turned back, she found that her sister, who had been walking in front of her, was gone and immediately went home to report her sister's disappearance.

The child, who depended on Ventolin medication for her asthma, has not been found to this day, but her mother, Suraya Ahmad, believes her daughter is still alive.


The death of six-year-old William Yau Zhen Zhong also leaves numerous questions unanswered.

William was reported missing after leaving the Onking Electronics Shop in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya, Selangor on Jan 16, 2013.

The mystery of his disappearance was solved when the body of a young boy was found eight days later, on Jan 24, 2013, near the Kampung Sungai Sireh jetty, Port Klang, Selangor.

After an identification session, post-mortem, and DNA testing, police confirmed the body was that of William.

What remains a question is the impact injury on his head and old scars on his body, indicating abuse.

To date, it is still unknown whether the cause of death was due to abuse by his parents, murder, or an accident due to walking alone without supervision.

Another case that shook the nation was the death of Customs Department Deputy Director General Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim, 58, who was shot dead on his way to his office in Putrajaya.

The victim, who was in the front passenger seat of a four-wheel-drive vehicle, was shot three times at close range by one of two men on a motorcycle at a traffic light intersection in Sentosa Boulevard, Putrajaya.

The murder was said to be carried out by the 36 Gang who wanted revenge for the drugs they smuggled being seized at the port or airport.

In the same year, Shaharuddin's son revealed that his father's murder was linked to a car smuggling syndicate based in the tax-free island of Langkawi.

On July 2, 2014, the main suspect in the murder was arrested at a house in Ampang, Selangor, and three of his accomplices were also detained in other raids in Batu Caves, Selangor.

The gang was active in various criminal activities, such as smuggling, drug trafficking, and container theft.

The remaining murder suspects are believed to be still in the Klang Valley area, and the police are pursuing them. So far, no one has been brought to justice.


The disappearance of a young man known as Acap, or Mohammad Ashraf Hassan, 29, during the Gopeng Ultra Trail run in Gua Tempurung, Kampar on March 24, 2019, drew widespread attention.

Before he went missing, Acap and 485 other participants started the run from Gua Tempurung, but his friend reported that Acap did not reach the finish line.

Upon receiving the report, the police dispatched 11 personnel for a search operation. The operation also involved the Malaysian Civil Defence Force and the Perak Fire and Rescue Department.

Even Acap's mother, Siti Maznah Khamis, 62, joined the search mission, despite her poor health.

All search efforts failed, and his disappearance remains a mystery as no new leads have been found.

The death of Cradle Fund CEO Nazrin Hassan in a fire at his home in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya on June 14, 2018, a day before Hari Raya Aidilfitri, also remains unresolved.

Forensic reports confirmed traces of petrol on the victim's body, bed, mattress, and mobile phone, and the case was classified as murder under Section 302 of the Penal Code based on the fire department's report and post-mortem findings.

On March 12, 2019, Nazrin's wife Samirah Muzaffar and her two children along with another individual still at large, Indonesian Eka Wahyu Lestari, were charged at the Shah Alam High Court with the murder.

However, on June 21, 2022, Samirah and her two children, aged 19 and 16, were acquitted after the court found the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case at the end of the prosecution's case.

The murder of former model Noritta Samsudin, 22, remains unsolved as no one has been found guilty of the crime.

Noritta, who was also a marketing executive at Transpro Sdn Bhd, was found dead in her bedroom in a luxury apartment in Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur on Dec 5, 2003, naked with her hands tied with a bra and several iron wires, and her head covered with a pillowcase.

There were no signs of injury except for strangulation marks on her neck and towel fragments in her mouth.

An engineer, Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman, was detained for the murder. He was believed to be the last person to see Noritta that night.

However, during the trial, it was believed that someone else had met her after Hanif Basree.

The charge against Hanif Basree was deemed too weak, and he was acquitted after a conspiracy surfaced suggesting the murder was related to Noritta's social life.

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Melissa Bathinathan was reported kidnapped, raped, and murdered on her way to school on the morning of May 17, 1999.

The Methodist Girls' School, Kuala Lumpur student and only child of graphic designer Margaret Francis was on her way to school, walking with a friend before they parted ways.

Margaret became worried when her daughter did not return home, and according to her friends at school, Audrey was absent that day, prompting her family to search for her.

Unfortunately, the next day, Margaret received a call from the school principal informing her that her daughter's body, still in her school uniform, had been found on Jalan Kinabalu next to a Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) substation.

Police found a head injury on Audrey, believed to have been caused by a rock. Two drug addicts in the area were detained but later released due to insufficient evidence linking them to the crime.

The death of former beauty queen Jean Perera Sinappa, who was found stabbed in the chest and abdomen in a car parked by the Federal Highway on April 6, 1979, remains unsolved.

Also at the scene was her fiance, who was also her former brother-in-law, S Karthigesu. He was found unconscious on the ground beside the car.

Karthigesu was detained and became the main suspect in Jean Perera's murder.

Further investigations revealed Jean Perera had a relationship with a Sri Lankan doctor, Dr Narada Warnasurya, and they had exchanged love letters before her husband's death in an accident.

Police believed the murder was motivated by jealousy, but Karthigesu was released in 1981, and the case remains unresolved.

On June 7, 1974, the country was shocked by the murder of the third Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Abdul Rahman Hashim, linked to communist attacks.

At the time, Abdul Rahman was in a car heading to Bukit Aman. The car driven by Sergeant Omar Yunus was showered with bullets on Jalan Tun Perak.

Two unidentified assailants fired 11 shots at the car, seven of which hit Abdul Rahman. At that time, Malaysia was fighting subversive communist forces. It was reported that the leader of the Malayan Communist Party, Chin Peng had issued the kill order but it could not be proven in court.