Malaysian PM Najib says he never abused position for personal interest

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves his office in Kuala Lumpur on May 25, 2016.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves his office in Kuala Lumpur on May 25, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has contended that he never abused his position for his personal interest.

The Prime Minister said that he does not exercise control over ministers, police, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission officers in carrying out their duties.

Besides that, Mr Najib said he has not exercised any control over the powers and duties of the Attorney-General, who had on Jan 26 found that no criminal offence was committed by him in relation to SRC International and the alleged RM2.6 billion (S$860 million) donation.

Mr Najib said he held the position of chairman of the board of advisors of 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB) at all material times, and had announced that the Auditor-General would carry out an audit of 1MDB but was not responsible for the appointment of the Special Task Force.

He said this in his statement of defence over a lawsuit filed by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and two others against him for alleged misfeasance in public office.

Dr Mahathir, former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chief Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan and former Langkawi Wanita Umno member Anina Saadudin want Mr Najib to pay RM42 million in aggravated damages to the Government.

In addition, Mr Najib in his defence statement dated June 13, made available to media today, said he had not interfered with the due process of law.

"The defendant will further contend that he has not abused his position as the Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Barisan Nasional chairman and Umno president to further his alleged corrupt practices," he said.

On Dr Mahathir, Mr Najib said the former premier had the right to withdraw support for him and was entitled to voice his criticism on his weblog.

Mr Najib added that police are entitled to question Dr Mahathir if an offence of criminal defamation is committed by the former prime minister and that it was not due to him.

In addition, he said the fact that Dr Mahathir had had his position as Petronas advisor terminated did not give rise to the filing of a suit.

On Mr Khairuddin's arrest on Sept 23 last year for an offence under the Securities Offences Special Measures Act 2012, Mr Najib contended that it was not due to him.

On Ms Anina, Mr Najib said if she had any cause of action, action should be against the party or its office bearers.

In asking for the claim to be dismissed with costs, Mr Najib said the plaintiffs had not suffered any personal losses.

He said that the claim for payment of exemplary and aggravated damages was directed to the Government, which was not a party to the claim.

High Court judge Justice Abu Bakar Jais set on June 23 to hear an application by Dr Mahathir and the two to obtain leave to cross-examine Mr Najib over the content of his affidavit.

In the lawsuit filed in March, the plaintiffs also sought for the High Court to order the Prime Minister to pay RM2.6 billion in exemplary damages to the Government.