Saturday, May 12, 2018

Najib Razak a Marked Man

Former prime minister Najib Razak is a marked man. 

With BN's shock election defeat, his top defence against the multi-billion-dollar scandal at 1MDB goes up in smoke. 

Old inquiries into allegations of misappropriated money at the sovereign fund may now reopen at home, and overseas investigators have less reason to go easy on him. 

There will be domestic pressure to go after 1MDB's key architect. 

The country’s leader-in-waiting, 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad had said on Thursday that if Najib has done something wrong, he would face the consequences. The rule of law is to be restored, he maintained.

Indeed, 1MDB was core to the campaign waged by Mahathir’s alliance as well as concerns towards Chinese investments, which flooded into the country as a result of the financial fallout from 1MDB. 

Reopening inquiries probably requires a new attorney-general. And it's about time, too.

At the height of the scandal in 2015, Najib effectively replaced the chief prosecutor who was investigating the sovereign fund. 

His successor promptly exonerated the premier, declaring some $700 million (RM2.6 billion at that time) that appeared in his bank account was a “gift” from the royal family in Saudi Arabia. 

Najib has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. 

But 1MDB is being probed in six countries. And US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions called the scandal “kleptocracy at its worst” after his department alleged $4.5 billion went astray. 

The complaints didn’t name the prime minister but did reference a Malaysian official with responsibilities that matched the (former) PM’s. 

And when the Pakatan Harapan government re-opens the investigation into 1MDB, the Americans may become more aggressive in trying to nail Najib and his fellow conniving comrades. 

There seems to be no way out for Najib.

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