Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib rails at police, wife Rosmah warns of 'public trial'

Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said she and her family would continue to cooperate with the investigation.
Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor said she and her family would continue to cooperate with the investigation.PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) – Malaysia’s scandal-hit former leader Najib Razak and his wife hit out at the media and police on Saturday (May 19), after investigators seeking evidence of corruption were filmed seizing box loads of jewellery, luxury handbags and cash.

Following a surprise victory in an election on May 9, the new government led by Mahathir Mohamad has opened investigations into how billions of dollars disappeared from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund founded by Datuk Seri Najib.

Mr Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and his wife, Datin Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country.

Items seized by police from Mr Najib’s residence and other locations linked to the couple included 284 boxes of designer handbags, including prized Birkin handbags from Hermes. Dozens of the luxury bags were filled with cash and jewellery.

Mr Najib’s lawyer, Harpal Singh Grewal, told reporters waiting outside the house that the former prime minister and his family were “really very unhappy” that police had confiscated clothes and shoes belonging to his children. 

“No attempt was made to verify whether these dresses, shoes, babies clothes and all had anything to do with the investigations which are ongoing,” he said.

In a separate statement, Datuk Harpal said the raid was carried out in a “cavalier and irresponsible manner”. 

 

Mr Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and his wife, Datin Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country.

 
 
 
 

Items seized by police from Mr Najib’s residence and other locations linked to the couple included 284 boxes of designer handbags, including prized Birkin handbags from Hermes. Dozens of the luxury bags were filled with cash and jewellery.

Mr Najib’s lawyer, Harpal Singh Grewal, told reporters waiting outside the house that the former prime minister and his family were “really very unhappy” that police had confiscated clothes and shoes belonging to his children. 

“No attempt was made to verify whether these dresses, shoes, babies clothes and all had anything to do with the investigations which are ongoing,” he said.

In a separate statement, Datuk Harpal said the raid was carried out in a “cavalier and irresponsible manner”. 

“The police personnel helped themselves to food and chocolates in the refrigerator and further demanded that the meals be prepared for them,” he said, adding that Mr Najib will continue to cooperate with authorities.

Responding to the allegations, Mr Amar Singh, director of police commercial crime investigations, sought for more details to be provided and for the officers involved to be identified. He said that such unprofessional conduct would not be tolerated and that stern actions would be taken if the allegations were proven true. 

He added that the officers appointed to conduct the searches had been reminded to do so professionally and "accord utmost respect to the occupants, as these premises are occupied by the ex-Prime Minister of our country and his family". 

Television and press reports of police carting away the former first family’s personal belongings raised objections from Mr Najib’s wife.

"Despite the overwhelmingly trying times afflicted upon us, we have, and will continue facilitating any inquiry, and avail ourselves to any requesting authorities," Madam Rosmah's lawyers, Valen, Oh and Partners, said in a statement on her behalf. 

“It is our hope that the authorities would observe the rule of law and due process, to avoid a premature public trial,” the statement said.

“Enforcement agencies should not be feeding social media trolls, but observe and uphold strict professionalism at all times,” it added. 

Mr Najib has been instructed by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to make his statement at its headquarters on Tuesday in relation to their probe on SRC International, MACC’s deputy chief commissioner, Azam Baki said in a statement on Saturday night.

SRC International was a former unit of 1MDB. A member of a panel that reviewed the MACC’s files on 1MDB found that the commission had evidence that Najib received US$10.6 million (S$14.2 million) from the unit. 

The round-the-clock search at their residence have prompted some public criticism, including Najib’s political rivals who are now in government.

“As former victims of early dawn police raids, I must stress my disagreement in ransacking any home at such an ungodly hour,”said ruling coalition politician Nurul Izzah, the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim – a reformist who was released from jail after being given a full pardon on Wednesday.

“Charge, investigate, prudently,” Nurul said on Twitter.