World

Did M'sian PM use state money for personal gain?

Prime Minister Najib Razak, 61, has come under fire ever since a report in The Wall Street Journal last week (July 3) alleged that state money — to the tune of US$700 million (S$943 million) — was deposited into his personal bank accounts just before the 2013 General Election.

Current Prime Minister Najib Razak (L) and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad (R) don't see eye to eye over 1MDB fund. FILE PHOTO: STAR ONLINE

Critics like former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad​ want him to confirm or deny the allegations.

And they want a new election to be held so that there will be a clean government.

Mr Najib Razak speaks at a presentation for government interns at the Prime Minster's office. PHOTO: AFP

WHO'S NAJIB RAZAK?

  • He set up the strategic development fund called 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) in 2009.
  • The fund is 100 per cent owned by the Finance Ministry, which he heads.
  • Mr Najib is chief adviser of 1MDB.

WHO'S MAHATHIR MOHAMAD?

  • Formerly Prime Minister of Malaysia who ruled from 1981 until 2003. He turned 90 on Friday (July 10).
  • He had previously backed Mr Najib to replace former PM Abdullah Badawi but is now calling for Mr Najib to resign over mounting debt and "lost" funds at 1MDB.

THE FALLOUT

  • The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) alleged that money was deposited via a Swiss bank, Falcon Private Bank, two months before the May 5 polls.
  • Malaysian investigators had traced nearly US$700 million of funds into what they believe are Mr Najib's personal bank accounts.
  • The authorities have since frozen six bank accounts on Tuesday (July 7).
  • Documents related to 17 accounts from two banks were also seized.​

PM Najib is under scrutiny as he fights the latest allegations about state money being transferred to his bank accounts. PHOTO: REUTERS

WHAT THE PM SAYS

  • While Mr Najib has denied using state funds for “personal gain”, he has not denied the WSJ claims outright.
  • This has stoked speculation that the money was used to help his Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) in the tightly contested election, which they won narrowly.

MORE ACTION

  • Police raided the 1MDB offices in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday (July 8).
  • A special task force said none of the six frozen accounts belonged to Mr Najib, The Straits Times reported.
  • Lawyers for the Malaysian leader sent a legal letter to  Dow Jones and Company, which owns WSJ.
  • 1MDB said the allegations were “unsubstantiated”.

A woman walks past the construction site of 1MDB flagship Tun Razak Exchange in Kuala Lumpur. PHOTO: AFP

LATEST

  • The auditor-general's report on Thursday (July 9) said it has found nothing suspicious after vetting the accounts of 1MDB.
  • But the bi-partisan Public Accounts Committee (PAC) criticised the debt-laden state investment fund for failing to fully cooperate in investigations.
  • The Sarawak Report news website claimed a man had deposited RM2 million (S$712 million) into the account of Mr Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, even as the Malaysian leader dismissed the “nonsense on social media”.

Sources: Wall Street Journal, The Straits Times, AFP, Reuters

malaysiaUncategorisedmediaFinanceMahathir Mohamad