Former key 1MDB official, opposition leaders barred from leaving Malaysia

PETALING JAYA - For the first time, a former key official of 1Malaysia Development Bhd has been barred from leaving the country.

A check on the Immigration Department's website showed that Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil, 44, the managing director of SRC International Sdn Bhd and the former chief investment officer of 1MDB, was among those banned.

Nik Faisal could not be reached for comment.

SRC International was formerly a 1MDB subsidiary and was taken over by the Finance Ministry in 2012.

Others in the department's travel blacklist are The Edge Media Group owner Datuk Tong Kooi Ong, DAP MP Tony Pua and PKR MP Rafizi Ramli.

The check shows that Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, the founding managing director and CEO of 1MDB until March 2013, is in the clear to leave the country.

He was managing director when Nik Faisal was the chief investment officer.

Nik Faisal was at one point reported to be also the executive director of investments for UBG Bank, formerly known as Utama Banking Group.

UBG was eventually taken over by a company where Low Taek Jho, better known as Jho Low, was a board member.

Petaling Jaya Utara MP Pua said he could only speculate that the ban on him was related to his strong criticism of 1MDB and allegations of a conspiracy by the Opposition to topple Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

"The Immigration officers said they had no clue why I was barred, except that it was instructions from higher up.

"As far as I am concerned, I have committed no crime and taken part in no illegal activities in any issues relating to 1MDB," the DAP national publicity chief told reporters at the party headquarters yesterday.

Pua was scheduled to board a 3.15pm flight to Yogyakarta, Indonesia, from KLIA2 when he was flagged by Immigration officers.

He reiterated that he had never met Lester Melanyi, the man who accused him of conspiring with several others to tamper with documents on 1MDB nor had he met former PetroSaudi executive Xavier Justo.

He, however, admitted to meeting Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown in Singapore, London and Malaysia but said: "Whatever (documents) I got was whatever Clare put up on Sarawak Report."

In a statement, PKR vice-president and secretary-general Rafizi said he had checked his status with the Immigration Department and found it similar to Pua's.