Former Malaysian PM Razak banned from leaving country

13 May, 2018, 02:36 | Author: Carlos George
  • Malaysia's outgoing Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at a news conference following the general election in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad held a meeting of top alliance partners on Friday as he got down to the business of forming a government that, for the first time in the country's history, will not be from the Barisan Nasional coalition. "I'm not aware of other people". "So based on this principle I have chose to give up both positions", Najib said. It's yet to be seen if in his new avatar as PM, the once formidable strongman can give his people more democratic freedoms, and eschew authoritarian tendencies, while expanding economic modernisation that he had brought about in his earlier stint as PM (1981-2003). He subsequently joined the opposition and handed his former camp an astonishing election defeat.

As an image of the leaked manifest for a flight to Jakarta spread like wildfire online, Najib insisted in social media posts he was planning only a "short break" overseas to rest after the election and would be back next week.

Mahathir, who is 92, said the government has found "sufficient evidence" in connection with Najib's involvement with a massive corruption scandal.

In an emotionally charged press conference later, Najib announced he was stepping down as chairman of BN and president of its main party, the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), following the historic loss.

Many with his UMNO party had called on Najib to step down after his defeat.

"Whoever leads a political party and fails during general elections will need to fully accept the moral obligation".

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The vote ousted Najib Razak, who faced public anger over a money laundering scandal involving hundreds of millions of dollars siphoned from 1MDB.

Malaysia's controversial state-owned investment fund 1MDB came under pressure in the bond market this week after the nation's landmark election raised questions about its future.

After taking the oath on Friday, he said that he would reopen the long pending case of 1Malaysian Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

The fund was started by Najib when he took power in 2009, but it accumulated billions in debts and is being investigated in the USA and several other countries.

USA investigators say Najib's associates stole and looted $4.5 billion from the fund, with some $700 million landing in Najib's bank account and around $30 million used to buy jewelry for his wife.

Mahathir has said the new government would seek the release and full pardon of Anwar Ibrahim, an opposition icon imprisoned on sodomy charges that Anwar and his supporters said were fabricated by the National Front to crush the opposition. Anwar, a former deputy prime minister in the ruling party, was also imprisoned under Mahathir following a power struggle. Anwar's daughter Nurul Izzah told Reuters her father could be free by Tuesday.

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