Competency of interpreter questioned in Altantuya’s family’s civil suit trial

SHAH ALAM (Bernama) – The trial on the RM100 million civil suit filed by the family of Altantuya Shaariibuu over the death of the Mongolian woman, which started yesterday, saw the counsel representing the defendants questioning the competency of an accountant to perform the role of interpreter.

Counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon, appearing for one of the defendants in the suit, political analyst Abdul Razak Baginda, said Enkhjin Batbilig, 31, was not qualified to translate the testimony given by witnesses from English to Mongolian and vice versa as she had limited experience in translation work.

“The court needs to consider the amount of translation work (of Enkhjin) beyond routine. Her experience in doing translation is also limited in translating financial documents,” he told the High Court.

He also alleged that besides not possessing the mandatory requirements of a qualified interpreter, Enkhjin’s meeting with two Mongolian witnesses at a legal firm for two hours on Monday amounted to attempts to coach them.

Senior Federal Counsel Norinna Bahadun, who appeared for the Malaysian government together with Tengku Intan Suraya Tengku Ismail, adopted Manjeet’s submission as well.

“Enkhjin is not an independent interpreter, and she compromised herself in meeting the witnesses,” she said in her submissions.

Counsel Ramkarpal Singh, appearing for Altantuya’s family, defended Enkhjin, who is ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) qualified, saying she has a good command of English and almost all her courses she underwent was in the English medium.

Judge Datuk Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera in his judgement later ruled that Enkhjin was qualified to perform the role of interpreter in the civil suit and thus dismissed the objections made by the counsel representing the defendants.

Setev Shaariibuu, the father of murdered young Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu, who is expected to testify in a civil lawsuit into her daughter’s murder arrives in court in Shah Alam yesterday. – AFP