Two prominent Malaysians seek probe against Najib

Two prominent Malaysians seek probe against Najib

Two prominent Malaysians yesterday separately launched complaints to the court and the anti-corruption agency, calling for a probe of Prime Minister Najib Razak, in the controversy involving state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that the government thought just last week it had finally left behind.

Their complaints were made just days after the Swiss and Singapore authorities made statements that their own probes showed possible financial fraud involving 1MDB, a company whose board of advisers is headed by Datuk Seri Najib.

Just last week, Mr Najib had told Malaysians "to unite and move on" now that the issue had been "comprehensively put to rest".

Yesterday, former law minister Zaid Ibrahim filed for a judicial review of the decision by Malaysian Attorney-General Apandi Ali last week to clear Mr Najib of graft allegations linked to 1MDB.

Datuk Zaid said Tan Sri Apandi's decision was "an improper exercise of discretion" against the interest of the public and justice in the face of "strong evidence of wrongdoing on the part of" Mr Najib.

"I have been forced to initiate these proceedings as I am rightfully concerned about the dire consequences to the rule of law in this country if the decision of one man cannot be questioned regardless of the facts and the circumstances of the case," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, sacked Umno branch leader Khairuddin Abu Hassan, who is fighting a high-profile battle against Mr Najib on the 1MDB saga, made a complaint with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

Datuk Khairuddin claimed Mr Najib handed the post of attorney-general to Mr Apandi last July in exchange for clearing him of allegations of graft in receiving US$700 million (S$997 million) into his bank accounts.

Mr Apandi had said that US$681 million - which went into Mr Najib's bank accounts just weeks before the 2013 general election - was a donation from the Saudi royal family. He said Mr Najib returned US$620 million a few months later.

Mr Apandi said Mr Najib was not aware of another sum - of up to RM75 million (S$26 million) from SRC International, a former 1MDB subsidiary - banked into his accounts, having at all times believed he was using the Saudi cash.

Government leaders have since come out in defence of Mr Najib.

Communications Minister Salleh Said Keruak yesterday backed Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi's assertion that the Swiss should have used "official channels" to ask for help in their 1MDB probe.

"It's very unusual, and against normal protocol, for a senior official of one country to speak publicly on the internal matters of another country," he told British newspaper The Guardian.

This article was first published on February 3, 2016.
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