Published: Sun, May 13, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Former Malaysian PM Razak banned from leaving country

Former Malaysian PM Razak banned from leaving country

Mahathir was sworn in on Thursday night by the king, Malaysia's constitutional ruler, following a momentous vote in which scandal-plagued Najib was soundly beaten at the polls by his former mentor.

He was rumored to have tried fleeing the country to escape possible prosecution over a massive corruption scandal.

But in a turnaround remarkable even in the head-spinning world of Malaysian politics, the pair reconciled and joined forces as allegations mounted over 1MDB and Najib became increasingly authoritarian.

A notice on the blacklist was posted on the Immigration Department's Facebook page, stating that Najib and Rosmah "have just been blacklisted from leaving the country".

Mahathir said he was instructing the auditor-general to remove any restrictions from the Official Secrets Act on publicizing the details of a report into 1MDB, and planned to replace the attorney-general, though he did not name a candidate for the role.

Najib Tun Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor.

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says he will take a short holiday to spend time with his family after a shocking electoral defeat that ended the 60-year rule of his coalition.

Mr Najib responded swiftly by saying he respected the department's ruling and would stay with his family in the country.

But someone rolled down the van's window to show Najib was not inside, prompting the crowd to back off and allow the vehicle to enter the airport.

"We have the right to know who is inside the vehicle, as a citizen I will fight for that", Raja Singham, a 49-year-old businessman, who had tried to block the van from entering the airport, said.

The surprising result is rare good news for supporters of liberal democracy elsewhere around Southeast Asia, a region that has mostly been lurching toward autocracy, violence and religious fundamentalism in recent years. "If they don't remember, it's alright, I'm dead anyway".

The scandal has gripped the country for years.

Najib has been accused of diverting $700 million from a state investment fund in 2015, a charge he denies.

He denied any wrongdoing, even as United States authorities alleged that over $4.5 billion was stolen from the fund in a fraud orchestrated by a financier known to be close to Najib and his family.

Still, the country's new PM has vowed to launch a major investigation into the case.

"Malaysia attorney general's office and investigating authorities have previously announced that they found no wrongdoing on the part of senior political leaders in the previous government", said Robson Lee, a Singapore-based lawyer at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP.

Najib also tweeted that he hoped the "divisive period" in the country's history would end with unity.

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