Alwaght- Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife were barred from leaving the country on Saturday, days after his thumping defeat in Wednesday’s general election.
The new government has reportedly reopened investigations into a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at a state fund Najib Razak founded.
According to Reuters, the order by immigration authorities came minutes after Najib announced in a Facebook post that he and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were taking a week-long holiday overseas to rest after his.
“The Malaysian Immigration Department would like to confirm that Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor have just been blacklisted from leaving the country,” the agency said on its official Facebook page. It gave no reason.
Moments later again, Najib said in a Twitter message that he would respect the decision and would remain in the country.
Questions about Najib’s whereabouts were answered when he appeared at a meeting of his United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to announce that he was stepping down as the party’s president and as chairman of the Barisan Nasional, the alliance dominated by UMNO that has ruled Malaysia for six decades.
“We all feel sad about what happened but as a party that upholds democratic principles, we accept the people’s decision,” he said, adding that his former deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would take over as head of UMNO.
Two sources told Reuters on Friday that new Prime Minister Mahathir Muhammad planned to reopen investigations into a graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that has plagued Najib since 2015. [L3N1SI3NX]
Mahathir would appoint a finance ministry adviser to “restart the 1MDB probe and bring back the money”, said one source, who worked closely with his campaign team. The second source, a lawmaker, said the announcement could be made on Saturday when Mahathir names members of his new cabinet.
Earlier, dozens of people - mostly journalists - gathered at an airport near Kuala Lumpur from where Najib and his wife were reported to be leaving for the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and tried to look into cars entering the complex.
Reports widely circulated on social media and local media said the couple were named on the flight manifest of a private jet scheduled to depart for Jakarta at 10:00 a.m. (0200 GMT).
But police later said there was no flight due to leave the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport with Najib.