Former Malaysian police officer convicted of murder of Mongolian model left for Australia last year: Report

KUALA LUMPUR - One of two former Malaysian Special Action Unit officers convicted of the murder of a Mongolian model and interpreter left for Australia in October last year, police said.

Malaysia will work with Australia to determine if Sirul Azhar Umar is still in the country, Bernama news agency quoted Kuala Lumpur CID chief Datuk Mohmad Salleh as saying.

"We will liase with the Australian Federal Police if he is there, but if he has left for other destinations, we will liase with Interpol to arrest him," he said when contacted by Bernama on Wednesday.

The news agency reported it is understood that police will issue a "Red Notice" to Interpol to help detect the former corporal, and an application for the extradition will be made with the country concerned.

Sirul was not present on Tuesday when the Malaysian Federal Court, overturning the 2013 decision of the Court of Appeal, convicted him and former chief inspector Azilah Hadri of the murder of 28-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006.

The Federal Court ruled that the Court of Appeal had made a mistake in its decision. The Shah Alam High Court imposed the death sentence on Sirul and Azilah after they were found guilty of killing Altantuya .

Government critics have long alleged that the duo, from an elite unit that guards top ministers, were scapegoats in the killing of Altantuya, who was at the centre of allegations of kickbacks in a €1.1 billion purchase of French Scorpene submarines in 2002.

The remains of Altantuya, who was involved in negotiations for the submarines, were found in a jungle clearing near Kuala Lumpur after she was apparently shot and her body blown up with explosives.

Adding to the intrigue, she was the lover of Abdul Razak Baginda - the man in charge of purchasing the submarines and a close associate of Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was defence minister at the time. Allegations have simmered for years that she was murdered to keep her quiet about kickbacks to high-level Malaysian officials.

Both Azilah and Sirul denied killing Altantuya. Sirul had alleged that he was being "sacrificed" to protect others.