Malaysian PM Razak cancels speech over anti-corruption

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak cancels his speech at anti-corruption conference due to possible tough corruption questions allegedly involved in

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak speaks at the World Capital Market Symposium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak cancelled his speech at 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) that is taking place in Putrajaya, Malaysia between Sept. 2-4.

The organisers warned the prime minister that he would need to face and respond the questions as to the corruption case including the embezzlement of millions of dollars from state funds that he allegedly has involved in.

Director of Communications and Public Engagement at Transparency International Neil Martinson informed that Razak cancelled the conference saying “The prime minister did cancel his appearance at the conference. We told his office that if he came he would face hard questions,” the Guardian reports.

Prime Minister Razak is facing accusations of embezzlement of nearly $700 million from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) which is a strategic development company and launched in 2009, wholly owned by the Government of Malaysia.

Razak is struggling with his worst political crisis in his career. He denies allegations about embezzlement.

On the other hand he discharged four ministers, fired his attorney general and deputy prime minister in a bid to disarm his critics.

Last week, thousands of Malaysians wearing yellow t-shirts, protested prime minister for 34 hours and called for his resignation in the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Authorities in addition blocked two news websites one of which is British-based that is controlled by Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law-, and also banned the yellow colour that protesters were using.

Transparency International Chair José Ugaz criticised the Razzak for cancelling the attendance to conference saying “These are not the actions of a government that is fighting corruption.”

“No one can be in Malaysia and not be aware of the corruption allegations of recent months and how damaging they are to the country. There is a corruption crisis here,” he said.

“We want to see more progress but that cannot happen while there are unanswered questions about the $700 million that made its way into the prime minister’s personal bank account.”

“There are two questions that need to be answered: Who paid the money and why? Where did it go?” he added. “One man could answer those questions.”

The Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections or with the famous name Bersih which means “clean” in Malay, a coalition of NGOs called people for a "yellow-clad protest" last week to criticise prime minister for the embezzlement.

Bersih demands response from Razzak for “one of the greatest multi-billion dollar corruption scandals in Malaysia’s history and the government’s most oppressive crackdowns on free speech.”

Supporters of pro-democracy group "Bersih" (Clean) shout slogans during a rally near Dataran Merdeka in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 30, 2015.

The former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad who ruled Malaysia for 22 years also took place on two days of the protest.

Mohamad accused Razzak of halting the investigation into corruption and bribing politicians.

Tunku Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, chairman of the advisory board to Malaysia’s anti-corruption commission, said “There is, apparently, some meddling going on ... and I think this is unfortunate.”

International pressure rises over Malaysian government. Swiss authorities have already frozen funds in Swiss banks belonging to 1MBD this week.

"The Office of the Attorney General of Switzerland (OAG) has frozen assets amounting to several tens of millions of U.S. dollars on Swiss bank accounts," an OAG spokeswoman said by email in response to an enquiry, Reuters reports.

"At this early stage of the procedure, the OAG is analysing and consolidating evidence. The OAG is already in contact with the Malaysian authorities. International cooperation with foreign countries, in particular with Malaysia, will probably be necessary to establish the facts," she added.


TRTWorld and agencies