Probe against ex-Malaysian PM Najib will be conducted according to the rule of law, says Anwar Ibrahim

Malaysian politician Anwar Ibrahim speaking to the media during a visit to the home of former Indonesian president B.J. Habibie (left) in Jakarta on May 20, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

JAKARTA - The investigation of former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak over billions of dollars missing from state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) will be conducted strictly according to the rule of law, said Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sunday (May 20).

"I've said (to the authorities) do not repeat what they did to me,'' added Malaysia's premier-in-waiting, referring to the way he was repeatedly prosecuted for sodomy by political rivals in previous leaderships. "The judiciary then was not free, so never again repeat what happened to me."

Mr Anwar was speaking to reporters in Jakarta after meeting former Indonesian president BJ Habibie at his home earlier in the afternoon.

On the extensive probe against the former Malaysian leader, which has attracted worldwide attention due to the scale of funds missing from the state fund 1MDB which Mr Najib himself founded, Mr Anwar said Mr Najib still has much to answer for, including the murder of Mongolian model Shaaribuu Altantuya.

The 28-year-old woman was killed and blown up with military-grade explosives in a forest just outside Kuala Lumpur in 2006.

In 2015, two former police officers were sentenced to death for the crime after first being sentenced in 2009 and acquitted four years later.

However, there have been reports that alleged that the two officers were bodyguards of Mr Najib, who was deputy prime minister at the time of the killing.

Mongolia's President Battulga Khaltmaa recently called on the new Malaysian government to re-open investigations into the murder.

"The ghost of Altantuya still haunts him (Najib), there are some unanswered issues, Altantuya's immigration record is missing, Malaysian weapons used," revealed Mr Anwar.

The leader of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) was in the capital on the invitation of Mr Habibie to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Indonesia's Reformasi movement, which marked the end of the New Order regime of strongman Suharto in 1998.

The relationship between Mr Anwar and Mr Habibie is said to go back decades.

But while Mr Habibie rose from vice-president to replace Mr Suharto as president on May 21, 1998, following Mr Suharto's fall from power, Mr Anwar was ousted as Malaysia's deputy prime minister and charged with abuse of power and sodomy months later.

In a statement from Mr Anwar, distributed to the press hours before his arrival in Jakarta on Sunday, he said the year 1998 was a "sacred year" for both Malaysia and Indonesia.

The date May 21, 1998, he added, marked a new era for Indonesians as it was the beginning of the transition of power, while Sept 2, 1998, is celebrated by Malaysians as the beginning of the fall of the Barisan Nasional regime, which was finally realised almost two decades later on May 9, 2018.

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This is Mr Anwar's first visit overseas since he received a royal pardon last Wednesday from Malaysia's King Muhammad V, for what he has long said were trumped-up charges.

Mr Habibie, who met the press alongside Mr Anwar, remarked that Mr Anwar had gone through "a heavy trial" in life, while reminiscing a time in 2004 when both had crossed paths in Munich, Germany, while seeking medical treatment.

When asked for his views on the Reformasi movement of both countries, Mr Anwar said there is much to learn from the experience of Indonesia's transformation from the old system to the new.

"There should be a team that examines the process from the government of Habibie up to Jokowi, what are the strengths and weaknesses, and the issues of anxiety of the people, so that we do not repeat the weaknesses," he said, using the popular moniker of current Indonesian president Joko Widodo.

Mr Anwar will meet businessmen later on Sunday evening, before returning to Kuala Lumpur on Monday morning.

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