Just when you think the 1MDB scandal is just an issue of national interest for Malaysians as well as international concern where alleged stolen funds were transferred, sparks of it becoming an embittered family drama have ignited.
Perhaps far more brash than banker Nazir Razak in criticising his prime minister brother Najib Razak for mishandling Malaysia's state fund since last year, the harshest critic of the Najib family is none other than his estranged stepdaughter, Azrene Soraya Abdul Aziz, who unabashedly considers herself the "black sheep of the family".
Not on endearing terms with her mother, Rosmah Mansor, who married Najib after he divorced his first wife, Azrene did not mince her words when she slammed the couple and her brother Riza Aziz in a Facebook post after the United States Department of Justice announced lawsuits against key players, including Riza, who are suspected of pilfering 1MDB funds.
Writing under the name Azrene Ahmad, the feisty married image consultant said in her 'official statement' last week: "If Malaysia is not willing to give the justice that the Malaysian people have prayed for and the justice my family have each night prayed for, then the US has - in its own way - that only they can justify."
She added: "Those who know me know that I am the black sheep of the family - but that does not mean I do not love my family. People can call me heartless for what I write today but I have always stood for and done what is right, for truth and for justice even if there is a high price to pay and if it means doing the unpopular thing."
Reserving her harshest words for her estranged mother, Azrene accused her of "(utilising) and (mobilising) government resources to wreak terror to harass us (the family) over the last ten years for standing up for what we believe to be right".
Ms Azrene bluntly told her mother not to throw her US-based brother under a bus "so that you and your husband can get off scot-free".
She also appealed to her mother to "Be. A. Mother."
Azrene (left) warns her mother (middle) not to throw her brother Riza Aziz (right) under a bus "so that you and your husband can get off scot-free".
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On her brother, Azrene said: "Riza was and still is someone we all love very much. Unfortunately, our love was not enough for him and those he chose to surround himself with. He chose, like many others before him, to have fame, wealth and adulation. He is now paying the price for it."
She added: "I have always maintained that if Riza did indeed use and profit from stolen funds, he needs to pay for what he has done. If he stood as proxy or as a trustee for what does not belong to him or any individual who asked him to be the "dutiful son", he needs to pay for it. Never mind the reasons justified for doing it. If it hurts the country and the people then it is wrong. A wrong must be righted."
In the emotionally charged statement, she added: "If Riza signed his soul to the devil to own what does not rightly belong to him, consider his debt with the devil collected and more due for collection. Similarly, all family members who have signed their soul to the devil... Your time will come."
Azrene said she issued her statement on Facebook after friends and family members asked her how she felt about US taking action to seize assets worth US$1.3 billion (S$1.7 billion) bought allegedly with money stolen from 1MDB. Riza and Najib have denied any wrongdoing.
She also accused the US government of copping out by not naming Malaysian officials involved in the scandal.
"If the USAG and the US have decided to cop out by leaving the term "corrupt government officials and 1MDB officials" as an open ended thing, I hope and pray for the sake of this country and what is right that the right individuals be brought to justice," she said.
The US Department of Justice had coined the identity of one key player, a relative of Riza, as 'MalaysiaOfficial1' instead of naming him. But there were reportedly details in documents that appear to directly implicate PM Najib.
Azrene and Fazley with their children in an Instagram photo.
Sounding sorely aggrieved, Azrene also slammed the Malaysian officials who harassed her and her family. She is married to singer and motivational speaker Fazley Yaa'cob.
She wrote: "To the different "officials" who have had a hand in harassing my family to this day because you were ordered to do so at the threat of job safety and the safety of your family members, one day a knock will come at your doorstep asking to collect your soul and debts. Make sure you are prepared to pay them."
She added: "My price to pay to watch the house of cards come tumbling down and to be the voice of encouragement to everyone to never be afraid to stand up for what is right so that my husband, in laws and children can sleep soundly at night in peace and safety is to painfully watch my other family members that I left behind 10 years ago pay the price for their wrongdoings."
Her parting shot: "To everyone who thinks me heartless on this day, please remember this. My prayers for truth and justice - just like any other Malaysian, has been answered this day and will continue to be answered."
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