PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The personal bank account of former Malaysian premier Najib Razak has been frozen, which he said has made it difficult for him to pay his bills.
In a statement posted on Facebook on Wednesday (July 11), Najib said he realised his account was frozen only when a cheque issued to pay for his daughter's medical treatment bounced.
"This bank account had no other transactions, as it was only used to receive my salaries as a Member of Parliament and my pension as the Menteri Besar of Pahang," he said.
"This account has nothing to do with politics. It has nothing to do with matters relating to the investigation conducted by the authorities," he added.
He said "the authorities need to realise I am an ordinary citizen too. As the head of my household, I too have bills to pay, medical bills to attend to and a household to run".
"The freezing of my bank accounts by the authorities cause a variety of difficulties and hardship in carrying out this responsibility," he added.
Najib was charged in Kuala Lumpur last Wednesday with three counts of criminal breach of trust and one count of abuse of power in relation to RM42 million (S$14 million) he received from SRC International, a former unit of troubled state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
His children, Mr Mohd Norashman and Ms Nooryana Najwa, had complained that their bank accounts were frozen after they posted half of Najib's RM1 million bail on July 4.
Najib said his children's bank accounts were unfrozen after they posted the remainder of his bail on Monday (July 9).
He said he was dismayed at "such draconian actions by the government of the day".
"Some have speculated to me that due to the timing of the freezing, this might be to circumvent or frustrate the order of the court for me to raise bail. If taken in its entirety, it seems to allude to mala fide (bad faith)," he said.
He urged the authorities to give him access to his personal freedom until his trial is completed.
"If we do not respect the rule of law, rules of natural justice and the federal Constitution, we would eventually become a failed state," he added.
Meanwhile, Umno, the party formerly helmed by Najib, said it was considering taking legal action to claim the RM116.7 million cash that was seized by the police in its investigations into 1MDB.
Umno's legal bureau chief Azalina Othman said that the party was studying the legal issues on claiming back this money.
"The Umno legal team will make an application to the authorities that are involved, especially the police, to get and provide information for our next step of action. We hope that no parties speculate on this matter," she said in a statement on Wednesday.
The money was seized from homes linked to the former premier in several raids in May. Umno had claimed then that the funds were donations to its campaign for the just-concluded general election, and that the funds were to be transferred to the new leadership after Najib resigned as party president.
According to Umno, its Constitution allows for its president to source and manage party funds, including for the general election. It said that when Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad stepped down as Umno president, he had also handed back RM1.2 billion to the party.