Release bodyguard awaiting death: Malaysia

Karen Sweeney and Pat Griffiths
Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim has signalled a visit to Australia within weeks

Australia has rejected calls from Malaysia's prime minister-in-waiting to return a former Malaysian police commando sentenced to hang for murder.

Anwar Ibrahim, who made a political comeback from prison to win the country's elections last month, wants to see Sirul Azhar Umar returned to Malaysia for a new trial over the 2006 murder of a pregnant Mongolian socialite.

"Sirul should be allowed to come back," Mr Anwar told ABC radio on Friday.

"It's time ... for Australia to accept the fact that some of their foreign policies clearly have been tainted, have been perceived by many Malaysians as complicit to the tolerance of crimes, of corruption and also criminal actions."

Sirul, who was sentenced to death by hanging in 2009 for murdering 28-year-old Altantuya Shaariibuu, is detained in Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre.

Alleged to have connections to high-ranking Malaysian government officials, Ms Shaariibuu was shot before her body was blown up with plastic explosives.

Sirul, a former member of the elite unit that guards top Malaysian ministers, claimed he was only following orders.

"You have to allow for due process to take place and Malaysian authorities may seek Australia's co-operation just to make sure there's a fair trial," Mr Anwar said.

"You can't have a trial when a person is detained elsewhere."

But Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop said Australia's "positive and broad-based" ties with the previous administration had been mutually beneficial.

"We do not seek to impinge on the sovereignty of other countries, just as we expect other countries not to interfere in our political affairs," Ms Bishop told AAP.

"Questions about extradition are a matter for the Home Affairs and Attorney General's Department."

Mr Anwar also signalled his intention to visit Australia within weeks, believing relations between the two countries "must be excellent".

The prime minster-in-waiting, who spent three years behind bars after being convicted of sodomy in a 2015 case he claimed was politically motivated, hopes to visit in late-June or July.

"I am now a free man. I want to move on. I still believe that Malaysian-Australian relations must be excellent," he said.