Ex-Malaysian PM Razak, wife banned from leaving country

Ex-Malaysian PM Razak, wife banned from leaving country

Ex-Malaysian PM Razak, wife banned from leaving country

Najib said earlier on Saturday that he was going overseas for a week to rest, but just minutes later the Department of Immigration announced that he and his wife had been barred from leaving the country.

Najib's long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition suffered a shock loss in an election to an alliance headed by Mahathir Mohamad, 92, himself a former premier who came back to take on his ex-protege, Najib.

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.

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.

Mahathir Mohamad was yesterday sworn in as the world's oldest elected leader after a stunning election win that swept Malaysia's establishment from power after more than six decades. Confirming the reports on Saturday, Mahathir said that he prevented Najib from leaving the country.

The party is in the alliance that won power at the hard-fought poll.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday (May 11) the country's monarch had indicated he was willing to grant a full pardon to jailed politician Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar and Mahathir, former allies and then implacable foes, joined hands to contest this week's election and oust the administration of Najib Razak.

Umno Youth from seven states have called on Mr Najib to step down from a post he has held since 2008, when he won uncontested at party elections.

The US State Department alleges in civil lawsuits that $4.5 billion was pillaged from 1MDB in an audacious scheme of fraud and money-laundering, and funnelled to the United States where it was used to buy everything from artwork to high-end real estate. He is a staunch Malay nationalist who could appeal to the country's biggest ethnic group, and whose years in power were remembered as a prosperous period in the country's history.

"There are a lot of complaints against him, all of which have to be investigated", he told a press conference.

Bridget Welsh, a Southeast Asia expert at John Cabot University in Rome, said it was hugely ironic that Mahathir, who damaged Malaysia's democratic institutions with his strong-arm rule, has returned as its political savior.

Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, president of Anwar's party and his wife, told AFP that the process to have him freed was already underway.

Mr Najib denies any wrongdoing.

Anwar had served as deputy prime minister and finance minister in Mahathir's government and was seen as Mahathir's heir-apparent until he was sacked in 1999.

Anwar, once a leading light in the party that ruled Malaysia for decades, was jailed on sodomy charges in 2015, after a trial he says was politically motivated.

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