Ex-Malaysia PM Najib walks out of Al Jazeera interview, saying 'You are not being fair to me'

Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak got visibly irritated when the questions asked revolved around 1MDB and Jho Low.
Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak got visibly irritated when the questions asked revolved around 1MDB and Jho Low.PHOTO: ALJAZEERA

KUALA LUMPUR - Former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak walked out of an interview with Al Jazeera news channel after he was repeatedly asked about the 1MDB scandal.

He had earlier said that while things "went wrong" at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), he was not involved in any wrongdoing.

Najib also said that the large sum of money found in his bank account just before the 2013 general election came from a Saudi donation.

"My conscience is clear," he told Al Jazeera's 101 East programme that was broadcast on Saturday (Oct 27). "I would not receive a single cent from sources connected with 1MDB because if it's 1MDB I would know right away it would not be the right thing to do."

Najib started 1MDB in 2009 soon after he became prime minister and headed the fund's board of advisers until the board was disbanded in May 2016.

Najib is facing 38 charges in Malaysia's court in connection with 1MDB.

The affairs of 1MDB are being investigated in half a dozen countries including the United States, Singapore, Switzerland and Malaysia.

 
 
 
 

The US Department of Justice had alleged that US$4.5 billion (S$6.2 billion) was siphoned from 1MDB.

Asked in the Al Jazeera interview whether he checked the source of the large sum of money that ended up in his bank account, Najib said: "I assumed it was a genuine donation. I do not have any knowledge beyond that."

Najib got visibly irritated when the questions asked by interviewer Mary Ann Jolley revolved around 1MDB and Jho Low, a fugitive Malaysian financier who was close to Najib.

Najib in the interview called on investigators to probe "other international figures" linked to the 1MDB scandal.

After around 20 minutes, Najib said: "We are supposed to talk about the economy. You are going too much about this. I do not want to talk too much about it".

The interviewer then asked about the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu in 2006, with Najib saying: "I am totally, totally innocent of the Altantuya case. Absolutely".

He then said: "Can we go to the economy please? You have spent so much of this time (on 1MDB), otherwise, I'm going to walk out - no more, no more, please, no more.

He stood up, saying, "That's it, I'm done. If you are going to talk about the economy I'll sit down."

He then raised his voice: "Come on, you are not being fair to me. If you want to ask about the economy, what I did..."

He sat down when told a question about the economy was next, and he spoke about his legacy of strong economic growth in the last six years.

But the question after that was on 1MDB again, to which Najib replied: "I wish there was no 1MDB issue whatsoever."

He stood up when the question following this was on Jho Low, whose real name is Low Taek Jho. "You are coming back to Jho Low."

He said he is not in contact with Low and walked out of the interview with an aide.