KUALA LUMPUR • Police have raided a deluxe Kuala Lumpur apartment block at which relatives of ousted premier Najib Razak had been living as they searched for sensitive documents the new government fears may be taken out of the country, two senior officers said.
The swoop yesterday came as Malaysia's new Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, said he had stopped his predecessor from leaving the country because of suspected wrongdoing in connection with a multibillion-dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Police said they were acting after a complaint that a government vehicle had delivered dozens of boxes, made to carry designer handbags and other items, to the apartment for Datuk Seri Najib's wife Rosmah Mansor.
Public disgust over alleged corruption was widely seen as one of the reasons behind the unexpected defeat of Mr Najib's long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in last Wednesday's general election.
Mr Najib has consistently denied any wrongdoing.
A spokesman for Mr Najib could not be immediately reached for comment. Reuters was unable to reach Mr Najib, his wife or other family members and close associates last night.
Reuters saw about 20 police officers enter the marble-floored lobby of the Pavilion Residences apartment block in the Malaysian capital, just as Dr Mahathir was holding a news conference to announce key members of his Cabinet.
They were aided by at least a dozen other plainclothes law-enforcement officers. Security personnel at the building - which is owned by Mr Desmond Lim, a wealthy Malaysian businessman and supporter of Mr Najib - were cooperative.
"We are looking for government documents that may have been illegally taken," said a senior police officer, who requested anonymity as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
"The government is worried they could be sensitive and important, and could be taken out of the country."
He declined to say whether any documents had been found and described the operation as "ongoing".