Po­lice search ex-premier’s house

New Malaysian gov­ern­ment is push­ing ahead with cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tions

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

KUALA LUMPUR — Po­lice con­ducted an ex­ten­sive search of the home of Malaysia’s scan­dal­tainted for­mer premier yes­ter­day that his lawyer de­cried as “ha­rass­ment”, as the new gov­ern­ment presses for­ward with probes into a mas­sive graft scan­dal af­ter seiz­ing power in historic elec­tions.

Po­lice ar­riv­ing in a dozen ve­hi­cles con­verged on the home of cor­rup­tion-tainted Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur be­gin­ning late on Wed­nes­day, draw­ing crowds of jour­nal­ists and on­look­ers.

A lawyer for Najib said of­fi­cers were search­ing the home and a sep­a­rate apart­ment in a “money-laun­der­ing” probe. The search at Najib’s home con­tin­ued into yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

The new gov­ern­ment headed by 92-year-old for­mer premier Ma­hathir Mo­hamad, who se­cured a stun­ning elec­tion vic­tory last week, has vowed to probe al­le­ga­tions that Najib over­saw the loot­ing of a sovereign wealth fund.

But Najib’s lawyer Harpal Singh Gre­wal said his client, 64, viewed the search as “ha­rass­ment”.

“The po­lice just took some hand­bags and some clothes,” Harpal said.

His men­tion of hand­bags prompted snick­er­ing on Malay- sian so­cial me­dia. Najib’s wife Ros­mah Man­sor is ridiculed over her re­ported pen­chant for jet-set over­seas shop­ping trips and vast col­lec­tion of de­signer hand­bags, cloth­ing and jewellery, all sym­bolic – crit­ics say – of the ousted gov­ern­ment’s lack of con­cern for eco­nom­i­cally strug­gling cit­i­zens.

Harpal said the house con­tained only per­sonal be­long­ings, though he added that po­lice also were at­tempt­ing to open a safe, the key for which had been “lost”.

“This is ha­rass­ment. What­ever... is in the house is not com­men­su­rate with the al­le­ga­tions,” Harpal said.

“(Najib) has told them: ‘Tell me what you want. We will give.’”

Harpal said the search left Najib “very tired and vis­i­bly up­set”.

There was no in­di­ca­tion that any ar­rests were planned.

Po­lice of­fi­cials con­firmed the search but de­clined to give de­tails.

The po­lice ac­tion adds to a sense of rising le­gal peril for Najib, who was barred from leav­ing the coun­try just days af­ter the elec­tion over al­le­ga­tions that he, his fam­ily, and cronies looted bil­lions from state in­vest­ment fund 1MDB.

The search be­gan just hours af­ter the par­don and re­lease from prison of An­war Ibrahim, a top fig­ure in the now-vic­to­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal al­liance. An­war, 70, had spent the last three years in jail un­der Najib. — AFP

Malaysian po­lice en­ter at the for­mer Prime Min­is­ter Najib Razak’s res­i­dence in Kuala Lumpur on Wed­nes­day. — AFP/VNA Photo

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