Malaysia in suspense ahead of Najib’s visit to MACC


KUALA LUMPUR: Amid mounting suspense in Malaysia, former leader Datuk Seri Najib Razak (pic) is expected to give a statement to an anti-graft agency on Tuesday explaining what he knew about $10.6mil (RM42mil) transferred into his bank account from a unit of a state fund he founded.

The remorseless humiliation of Najib since his unexpected election defeat on May 9 has left Malaysians waiting to see what happens next to the urbane former prime minister, and his allegedly big-spending wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

They have been barred from leaving the country, while their home and other properties have been searched, and Najib has been summoned to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to give a statement on just one small part of a massive financial scandal.

Finding out what happened to billions of dollars that went missing from state-investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) is a priority for Malaysia’s new leader, Mahathir Mohamad, who at the age of 92 came out of political retirement and joined the opposition to topple his former protege.

New MACC chief Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdull told reporters to expect a “special briefing” on Tuesday.

Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing related to 1MDB since the scandal erupted in 2015, but he replaced an attorney-general and several MACC officers to shut down an investigation.

Najib has said $681 million of funds deposited in his personal bank account were a donation from a Saudi royal, rebutting reports that the funds came from 1MDB.

Now answering to a different prime minister, the MACC has reopened its investigation, initially focusing on how RM42mil ($10.6 million) went from SRC International to Najib’s account.

SRC was created in 2011 by Najib’s government to pursue overseas investments in energy resources, and was a unit of 1MDB until it was moved to the finance ministry in 2012.

Mahathir’s office also announced the establishment of a new task force made up of members of the anti-graft agency, police and the central bank, which would liaise with “enforcement agencies in the United States, Switzerland, Singapore, Canada and other related countries,” investigating 1MDB.

The U.S. Department of Justice refers to Najib as “Malaysian Official Number 1” in its anti-kleptocracy investigation into 1MDB. – Reuters