KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia's opposition and Twitterati have lashed out at Prime Minister Najib Razak after images showed he was accompanied on an official trip to China by his stepson, who the US authorities have fingered in a massive embezzlement scam.
In images on Twitter, Mr Riza Aziz is seen emerging along with Datuk Seri Najib from his delegation's official plane after it arrived in Beijing on Monday (Oct 31).
The US Justice Department said in lawsuits filed in July that more than US$200 million (S$416.8 million) was funnelled to Mr Riza from a state investment fund that Mr Najib founded called 1MDB.
1MDB is now the subject of investigations in several countries across the globe amid allegations that Mr Najib, his relatives, and associates plundered billions from it.
The Justice Department, which is seeking to recover more than US$1 billion in property and assets it says were purchased using stolen 1MDB money, said Mr Riza used the siphoned millions to buy luxury real estate and fund his film production company, Red Granite Pictures.
The diverted funds were used specifically to bankroll the Hollywood film The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio.
"Not only do we have to bear (the cost) of the expensive jet, but now he (Najib) is bringing his stepson, whom the whole world is looking for in relation to 1MDB monies," opposition lawmaker Rafizi Ramli was quoted as saying in Parliament.
"Riza shouldn't be given special treatment using the people's funds. He should be arrested and questioned."
Malaysian media quoted a spokesman for Ms Rosmah Mansor, Mr Najib's wife and Mr Riza's mother, as defending his presence, saying China had invited Mr Najib's whole family.
But Twitter users pounced.
"FBI, hurry! Go capture him!" said one posting in the Malay language.
Another read: "Scandalous and outrageous. Aren't the Najibs ashamed of themselves?"
The Justice Department filings repeatedly mentioned a "Malaysian Official 1" as taking part in the 1MDB looting. Malaysia has since admitted that official was Mr Najib, while stressing that he was not a target in the US legal action.
Mr Najib and 1MDB deny wrongdoing.
No arrest warrants are known to have been issued by the US authorities in the case.