Former Malaysian PM Najib sues ex-AG over book chapter on Altantuya murder

Ex-Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak claimed that Tan Sri Thomas's book, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, had allegedly implicated him in the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.
Ex-Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak claimed that Tan Sri Thomas's book, My Story: Justice in the Wilderness, had allegedly implicated him in the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.PHOTOS: REUTERS, GERAKBUDAYA/FACEBOOK

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak has sued former attorney-general Tommy Thomas over allegedly defamatory statements in the senior lawyer's memoir that was published earlier this year.

Najib claimed that Tan Sri Thomas' book, My Story: Justice In The Wilderness, had defamed him as it allegedly implicated him in the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu.

Ms Altantuya, who was 28, was shot and her body blown up with explosives in a gruesome murder in 2006 by police commandos. Two men have been convicted of the Altantuya murder.

Both officers were then part of Najib's security detail, but the former premier has consistently denied links to the murder.

Also being sued is the publisher GB Gerakbudaya Enterprise.

The suit was filed at the Shah Alam High Court registry by Messrs Shafee & Co on Wednesday (Oct 27).

Mr Thomas was branded as an anti-Malay after the publication of his memoir and caused a furious backlash for perceived insults against the country's majority race.

The book details - among other things - the many racialised controversies that riddled and ultimately destabilised the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government that lasted all of 22 months after its shock victory at the May 2018 election.

Mr Thomas, who is of Indian ethnicity and served during PH's short-lived administration, was the first non-Malay to be appointed the country's top legal adviser.

The memoir also has a chapter titled Altantuya, where Najib referred to several paragraphs made by Mr Thomas as the alleged defamatory statements.

Najib claimed that earlier this year, Mr Thomas had only replied with a bare denial to a letter of demand sent through law firm Messrs Shafee & Co.

The letter of demand had sought an apology and RM10 million (S$3.25 million) in damages from Mr Thomas over allegations made against Najib in the book.

In the letter, Najib also gave Mr Thomas until noon on Feb 5 to provide a satisfactory reply, failing which legal proceedings would be initiated against him.

He also demanded an apology and an unequivocal public retraction of the alleged defamatory statement in Chapter 42 of the book under the title Altantuya.

In the suit, Najib is claiming, among others, an unspecified sum of general, aggravated and exemplary/punitive damages against the defendants.

He is also seeking an order removing the libellous words/passages from the book, a permanent injunction to restrain the defendants either by themselves and or through their servants or agents from further publishing any form of the same or similar or related statements concerning him, his servants or agents.

Najib is also seeking an unqualified apology in terms (to be approved by his solicitor) in respect of the impugned publication to be published in at least three major newspapers of his choice for three consecutive days, an undertaking to not write or publish the allegations and comments, and costs as well as other relief that the court shall deem fit and proper.