Sirul upset over meeting between mother and uncle with Mahathir, says lawyer

PETALING JAYA - Former police commando Sirul Azmar Omar, who fled to Australia in a bid to escape jail for murdering Mongolian Altantuya Shaariibuu, has accused politicians including former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad for milking the case for political mileage, reports said on Friday.

Sirul's lawyer Hasnal Redzua Merican was quoted as saying Sirul was "very disappointed" about a meeting between his mother, uncle and Dr Mahathir as well as Datuk Mahfuz Omar, the information chief of opposition party Parti Islam SeMalaysia, and Datuk Paduka Khairuddin Abu Hassan, a former district chief of the ruling Umno who is also cousin of jailed opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, to discuss the case.

Sirul's mother, Piah Samat, reportedly met Dr Mahathir on Wednesday and begged him to help her son, whom she said was only acting under orders and had been sabotaged.

Sirul and another former police commando, Azilah Hadri, were charged with murdering Altantuya in 2006 and convicted by the High Court in 2009.

They were freed after the appellate court acquitted them in 2013, but the Federal Court reversed the acquittal in January and sent them back to hang.

Hasnal said Sirul, who is being held at an Australian immigration detention centre after fleeing Malaysia last year, was concerned that over-exposure of the case in the media could jeopardise his chances of staying in Australia, Utusan Malaysia and the Malaysian Insider reported.

"Sirul had phoned me last night (April 8) and early yesterday morning. He was very disappointed with the actions of a handful of people who are trying to take advantage of the case," Hasnal was quoted by Utusan Malaysia as saying.

"He is not happy with the meeting between her mother and uncle with Mahfuz and Dr Mahathir. His mother did not inform him about the meeting," said Hasnal, as reported in the Malay daily.

Mahfuz, the PAS information chief, was said to have set up the meeting which reportedly took place at Dr Mahathir's office in Putrajaya, the Malaysian Insider said.

Majfuz had made headlines for being one of the few people who have managed to talk to Sirul, both through phone and by meeting him in Australia.

He also took Sirul's mother to Australia to meet the convicted murderer.