FREE TO REIGN

Royal par­don for Ibrahim as ousted PM’s home raided

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - World -

Po­lice have searched ousted prime min­is­ter Na­jib Razak’s home amid a probe into the scan­dalplagued state fund 1Malaysia De­vel­op­ment Ber­had.

Armed po­lice en­tered the ex-Malaysian PM’s fam­ily home and other places linked to him, as thou­sands of peo­ple watched the drama un­fold live on TV.

It was an ex­tra­or­di­nary sce­nario that few could have pre­dicted be­fore the na­tion’s May 9 gen­eral elec­tion — which Mr Na­jib was ex­pected to win. In­stead the 92-yearold for­mer Malaysian leader Ma­hathir Mo­hamad won, while jailed for­mer op­po­si­tion leader An­war Ibrahim has been par­doned to be­come a prime min­is­ter-in-wait­ing.

Po­lice com­mer­cial crime in­ves­ti­ga­tions di­rec­tor Amar Singh yes­ter­day said searches were con­tin­u­ing at the house, at the ex-prime min­is­ter’s of­fice and an­other res­i­dence he had used, as well as two apart­ments owned by his fam­ily. “We are in the midst of col­lect­ing in­for­ma­tion,” he said, con­firm­ing that the searches were re­lated to in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the 1MDB scan­dal that had dogged Mr Na­jib since 2015.

The multi­bil­lion-dol­lar scan­dal over the fund he founded is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by po­lice in at least six coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US.

Mr Na­jib has de­nied any wrong­do­ing. His lawyer Harpal Singh Gre­wal said po­lice seized only a few per­sonal items from his fam­ily home. “They found noth­ing in­crim­i­nat­ing,” he said.

Just days af­ter Malaysia’s long-rul­ing po­lit­i­cal coali­tion was de­feated in the elec­tion, new Prime Min­is­ter Ma­hathir Mo­hamad barred Na­jib and his wife from leav­ing the coun­try.

Mr Na­jib was once a protege of Dr Ma­hathir, who now says there is suf­fi­cient ev­i­dence to in­ves­ti­gate the 1MDB scan­dal. Asked about the searches, Dr Ma­hathir (be­low) said it was a po­lice mat­ter and he had lit­tle in­for­ma­tion, but added: “I sup­pose the po­lice have enough rea­sons to raid.” US au­thor­i­ties al­lege that more than $US4.5 bil­lion was stolen from 1MDB. Mean­while, re­formist cham­pion Mr Ibrahim has cel­e­brated a “new dawn” for Malaysia af­ter he was given a royal par­don and freed from cus­tody. M r An­war, 70, was con­victed of sodomy in 2015 but has trans­formed from po­lit­i­cal pris­oner into a prime min­is­ter-in-wait­ing fol­low­ing his al­liance’s elec­tion win. “Now there is a new dawn for Malaysia,” he said.

But an­a­lysts say his re­lease could cause ten­sions in the new gov­ern­ment led by Dr Ma­hathir who, af­ter lead­ing the four-party al­liance in the elec­tion cam­paign, has be­come the world’s old­est leader. Dr Ma­hathir is the chair­man of the al­liance and Mr An­war its de facto leader.

Mr An­war sought to al­lay those con­cerns, say­ing he was not in a hurry to take over from Dr Ma­hathir.

Pic­ture: AFP

An­war Ibrahim greets sup­port­ers dur­ing a rally in Kuala Lumpur.

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