Najib denies he is seeking witness protection in 1MDB case

Datuk Seri Najib Razak posted on Twitter this photo of him getting a blood pressure test at his Kuala Lumpur home yesterday. He referred to it as a routine health check.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak posted on Twitter this photo of him getting a blood pressure test at his Kuala Lumpur home yesterday. He referred to it as a routine health check. PHOTO: TWITTER/NAJIBRAZAK

He says he didn't steal from the people, and blames polls loss on opposition targeting him

KUALA LUMPUR • Former Malay-sian prime minister Najib Razak has denied that he is seeking witness protection amid the high-profile investigation into state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that he used to oversee as finance minister.

Asked by reporters in his home town of Pekan in Pahang yesterday about a report that he was seeking witness protection, he said: "No, no. I am not."

Datuk Seri Najib left his mansion in Kuala Lumpur's Taman Duta yesterday to attend several functions in his constituency in Pekan.

Online news site Malay Mail reported on Saturday that Mr Najib had asked for witness protection, claiming that those linked directly or indirectly to 1MDB funds had made threats on his life and his family members.

The portal, which claimed to have seen the police report, said Mr Najib alleged there was a clear threat on his and his family members' lives, and made a formal request to be put under witness protection.

Mr Najib, according to the Malay Mail, had reportedly claimed the threats were not only from Malay-sia, but also from overseas. A police source familiar with the report lodged by Mr Najib told Malay Mail that the politician did use the term "witness protection" in his report.

Meanwhile, the 64-year-old Mr Najib, whose Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition was defeated in the May 9 general election, yesterday posted a picture of him receiving a blood pressure test at his KL home earlier.

HOMETOWN SUPPORT

I did not steal from the people. You know me, I have served here for 42 years.

DATUK SERI NAJIB RAZAK, speaking to his supporters in his home constituency of Pekan. He attended four functions there, saying people wanted him to visit them as they wanted to show their appreciation and continued support for him.

"Undergoing a routine health check last night. Everything was normal. In this Ramadan month, we will surely be tested by all kinds of ordeals. May we be blessed and protected by Allah," he tweeted.

Federal investigators have been searching properties linked to Mr Najib and his wife Rosmah Mansor, including the couple's private mansion and condominium units in Pavilion Residences in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Other places searched include the official residence of the prime minister in Putrajaya, and the Prime Minister's Office.

The confiscated items included truckloads of boxes containing luxury Hermes, Chanel and Gucci handbags, and suitcases with hard cash in various currencies.

Mr Najib has also been blacklisted by the Immigration Department and prevented from leaving the country.

He has been summoned to meet anti-graft officials tomorrow to be questioned over the 1MDB case, with many observers expecting him to be arrested over the scandal.

Yesterday, Mr Najib left his home in Kuala Lumpur at 9.20am, accompanied by police and other cars.

He attended four functions in Pekan, saying people there wanted him to visit them as they wanted to show their appreciation and continued support for him.

As Mr Najib arrived at his residence in Pekan town, his supporters clamoured to shake or kiss his hands, the Malaysiakini news site reported. Several women supporters were even heard sniffling as they held back their tears.

In a speech at an Umno meeting, Mr Najib denied that he stole money from the public.

"I did not steal from the people," he told some 500 people at the Umno building in Pekan, according to Malaysiakini.

"You know me, I have served here for 42 years," he said, to shouts of "We love you Datuk Seri!"

He blamed BN's loss on the opposition targeting him as the party president of Umno and prime minister.

"To topple the party, they had to target the president. They would do anything as long as my brand was destroyed," he said.

Pekan Umno division committee member Melati Ali, 65, told the news site that she will continue to remain loyal to Mr Najib and the party.

"Despite winning only three states, we will not turn our backs and will continue to defend Umno so that one day Umno can make its comeback," she was quoted as saying.

Mr Najib is one of the 191 powerful Umno division chiefs. Part of his visit to Pekan was to officiate at a meeting of Umno branches, formations under his Pekan division.

He started his political career in this town, when he took over the Pekan constituency soon after the death of his father, then Prime Minister Abdul Razak Hussein.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 21, 2018, with the headline 'Najib denies he is seeking witness protection in 1MDB case'. Print Edition | Subscribe