PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - British journalist Mary Ann Jolley, who recently won a prestigious UK award for an interview with ex-Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, admitted on Friday (March 1) that she felt frustrated while quizzing the former leader on her programme last year.
"He didn't seem to have answers to the questions I was raising," she said during an exclusive interview with The Star TV.
"These were things that were fully detailed in the US Department of Justice's report. I just felt as though a lot of the time, the former prime minister was suggesting that he didn't know about things and was putting the blame on other people, rather than taking the blame himself."
The interview by Ms Jolley in the 101 East Al Jazeera English programme titled Malaysia: Najib Speaks won the Interview of the Year prize at the Royal Television Society Television Awards 2019.
In October last year, when the interview was being recorded, Najib lost his cool and walked out as he was quizzed over matters such as the notorious "pink diamond" scandal and state investment arm 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
His wife Rosmah Mansor was accused of receiving US$30 million (S$40.6 million) worth of jewellery bought with money originating from 1MDB, including a 22-carat pink diamond necklace worth US$27.3 million alone.
"I wanted him to stay," Ms Jolley said. Obviously he wanted to talk about the economy, which was fine, but we couldn't get to that until we answered the other questions."
Asked if she would interview Najib again in the near future, Ms Jolley said she would do it if the need arose.
She also expressed interest in interviewing the former first lady, Rosmah.
"We think it would be really important to talk to her as well," she said.
"People in Malaysia believed she played a critical role as the prime minister's wife, so we would certainly love to talk to (Najib) and (Rosmah)."
The 101 East journalist said she was currently working on another video on Malaysian politics, which she hoped would be released some time next month.
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. He has been charged 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 was siphoned from 1MDB.