Najib barred from leaving Malaysia

Geneva Stokes
May 13, 2018

But, moments later, the immigration department said on its official Facebook page that Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were blacklisted from leaving Malaysia.

Najib said on social media earlier Saturday that he was planning to take a short vacation, but denied he was fleeing.

Earlier this week, Najib's long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition suffered a shock electoral defeat.

Nearly $700 million ended up in Najib's personal bank accounts, although the attorney-general said it was a donation from the Saudi royal family and cleared the then-premier of misconduct.

In 2016, Apandi said the Saudi royal family was the source of $681 million that mysteriously appeared in Najib's bank accounts, and closed the 1MDB probe.

In relation to Anwar Ibrahim's role, founder and leading figure of the People's Justice Party, Mahathir said that his future role will be determined by the party.

Malaysia's former Prime Minister Najib Razak attends an event of the United Malays National Organization's 72nd anniversary in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on May 11, 2018.

However, the flight was later cancelled after a group of roughly 100 people turned up at the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang Jaya, Selangor to bar Najib and his wife from leaving the country.

Najib's remark then drew an immediate response from PM Lee, who said that this is "because you have confidence in the result", which saw the two leaders laughing.

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Razak added "If the party failed in the general election, the leader has the moral obligation to step aside".

The swoop came as Malaysia's new Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said he had stopped his predecessor from leaving the country because of suspected wrongdoing in connection with a multi-billion-dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB.

Filings by the US Justice Department in a civil lawsuit indicated almost $30 million of the money stolen was used to buy jewellery for Rosmah, including a rare 22-carat pink diamond set in a necklace.

"I pray that after this divisive period, the country will unite", he said.

Mahathir on Saturday appointed an ethnic Chinese, Lim Guan Eng, as finance minister, the first ethnic minority to hold the powerful post in 44 years.

Anwar was Mahathir's heir apparent until the premier sacked him in 1998 over political differences, and he was subsequently jailed on charges of sodomy and abuse of power that were widely seen as trumped-up.

Mahathir had promised, if elected, to free Anwar and eventually hand power over to him.

Anwar was jailed again during Najib's rule.

Mahathir, dubbed the "Father of Modern Malaysia" during his previous 22 years in power until 2003, told reporters at the news conference he would try to make the ringgit as steady as possible but did not announce any policy moves.

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