Questions fly on source of funds in Najib's accounts

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.PHOTO: REUTERS

Questions over the US$700 million (S$960 million) refused to abate, with many demanding that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak reveal where the funds came from, who donated such a big sum of money and how it was spent.

This came after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) said on Monday that the money, which was deposited in Datuk Seri Najib's personal accounts, did not come from the debt-laden 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), but from donations.

One of those who wanted answers was opposition Democratic Action Party leader Lim Guan Eng.

"Najib must come out and clarify. No. 1, where are his money sources? No. 2, the quantum is shocking. The amount is not chicken feed. It is huge," said Mr Lim, who is also Penang Chief Minister .

Former editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times group, Datuk A. Kadir Jasin, questioned why Mr Najib did not reveal the source of the US$700 million at the start of investigations by the MACC and the Special Task Force into 1MDB.


The question is: If the unaccounted 1MDB money or debts did not go to the Prime Minister's private account, where... did it go?

DATUK A. KADIR JASIN, former editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times group

"With the benefit of hindsight, the donations story and the talk about the generous Arab benefactor/s could be wholly possible," he wrote in his blog.

"The question is: If the unaccounted 1MDB money or debts did not go to the Prime Minister's private account, where... did it go?"

Ms Clare Rewcastle-Brown, founder and editor of the Sarawak Report website, echoed Mr Kadir's sentiments and defended its previous exposes on 1MDB.

"Gosh! How come the PM didn't clear all that up immediately on Day 1 then? What we said was that the information had come from the investigation, because it was believed by investigators to be linked. How else would we have obtained it?" she told The Malay Mail.

Mr Akmal Saufi Mohamed Khaled, son of Johor's Menteri Besar, wanted proof that the money deposited into Mr Najib's personal accounts was indeed donations.

Meanwhile, Malaysians have taken to social media to ridicule the findings, with #DearNajib trending on Twitter.

Twitter user @NelsonAG7 said: "#DearNajib can you teach me the secret how to make people donate RM2.6 billion to my account."

Social activist Marina Mahathir wrote in a post: "Even at today's rates, donations towards all UK political parties in Q1 2015 (just before they had a general election) came to just over RM182 million. The Conservative Party alone only got the equivalent of RM92 million."

Cabinet members were quick to rally behind the Malaysian Prime Minister, saying that he did not break any laws by accepting political donations.

"Not only Umno and BN (Barisan Nasional), every politician receives donations from their supporters to help them in political work. I am sure all the parties get contributions from friends and supporters," Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said yesterday.

The new Communications and Multimedia Minister Salleh Said Keruak said Malaysians should be happy that the US$700 million did not come from 1MDB.

"So what is the issue now? Should they not be happy that the money was not stolen from 1MDB as alleged? That is what they demanded to know and that was what MACC confirmed," he wrote in his blog. 

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2015, with the headline 'Questions fly on source of funds in Najib's accounts'. Print Edition | Subscribe