Johor official breaks ranks over scandal
MALAYSIAN opposition parties and activists kept up pressure on Prime Minister Najib Razak yesterday, undeterred by an anti-corruption agency statement apparently clearing him of receiving nearly US$700 million (S$964 million) from the debt-laden state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
A senior member of Mr Najib's party also broke ranks over the scandal, suggesting that the prime minister's moves to oust dissenters from positions of power and effectively delay a probe into the fund had failed to put his government out of danger.
On Monday, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) acknowledged that RM2.6 billion was transferred into Mr Najib's private accounts, but said the money was a donation, not from 1MDB.
"Malaysians and the world are watching the country being seized by a madness where the government is warring against itself," said Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party.
"Such madness must stop and Malaysians must face up to one and only one issue - for the Prime Minister Najib Razak to convince Malaysians and the world of his innocence and moral authority to continue to lead Malaysia."
Most lawmakers from the ruling United Malays National Organisation (Umno) have rallied behind Mr Najib, but yesterday, party colleague and Johor Chief Minister Mohamed Khaled Nordin said Umno could not keep quiet if "corruption becomes a culture or trust is betrayed".
"Umno cannot keep quiet when the party no longer champions the cause of Malays, but is instead used to defend a few under the name of loyalty or discipline in adhering to leaders," he wrote on his Facebook page.
The prime minister has denied taking any money for personal gain, saying the allegations are part of a malicious campaign to force him from office. 1MDB has denied transferring funds to Mr Najib and an interim government report found nothing suspicious.
1MDB has welcomed confirmation that no 1MDB funds were transferred to Mr Najib's personal account.
1MDB president and executive director Arul Kanda said that the company had always maintained that it never provided any funds to the prime minister, and is confident that the "truth will prevail".
"To continue to suggest otherwise, as Parti Keadilan Rakyat secretary-general Rafizi Ramli did in his blog yesterday, is highly irresponsible and a deliberate attempt to undermine the company," said Mr Arul in a statement yesterday.
He added that 1MDB had "fully disclosed" what the RM42 billion debt had been used for in a summary published on June 3.
Meanwhile, Malaysian police said yesterday they have an arrest warrant for the founder and editor of Sarawak Report, Clare Rewcastle-Brown, who is based in London. The news website has been reporting on the graft scandal.
REUTERS, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK