The murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu became a trending issue in the media following the statutory declaration (SD) made by convicted killer Azilah Hadri.
In the SD, the former chief inspector claimed that former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak ordered the assassination of Altantuya.
Nevertheless, it was not the first SD to link Najib to the murder.
Back in 2009, former Special Branch officer P. Balasubramaniam made an SD stating that Najib called for the murder of Altantuya.
However, on the very next day, he made a second SD to retract his first one. Later, Balasubramaniam claimed that he was offered RM5 million to retract his original SD.
In response to Azilah’s SD, Najib made a ‘sumpah laknat’ (oath swearing) during the Friday prayers at Masjid Jamek Kg Baru.
The former premier swore that he did not call for the assassination of Altantuya and that he had never met her in his entire life.
Azilah’s SD was not the only sensational statutory declaration made in December 2019.
Former PKR researcher Muhammad Yusoff Rawther also made an SD. It was against PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
In his SD, Yusoff Rawther claimed that he was sodomized by Anwar on 2 October 2018, making it the third sodomy allegation against the PKR president.
In Anwar’s second sodomy case, his victim Saiful Bukhari made a ‘sumpah laknat’ instead of an SD to prove that he was sodomized by Anwar.
But how truthful can an SD or ‘sumpah laknat’ be?
PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang said the practice of ‘sumpah laknat’ is not included in the Syariah law.
He elaborated that a wife can conduct a ‘sumpah laknat’ when her husband accuses her for adultery, and that is the only time that the religious oath swearing can be carried out.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Bar president Datuk Abdul Fareed Abdul Gafoor said an SD is often used by a person to make a legal declaration when no other evidence is available.
Nonetheless, one can be punished to up to seven years imprisonment if he/she were found to be giving false evidence in court.
Overall, the authenticity of an SD or ‘sumpah laknat’ can be disputed, but not the crowd it attracts, especially when it is a religious oath swearing.