Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday. A spokesman said he had not changed his position that the hundreds of millions in his personal accounts came from an unidentified Saudi donor, not a government investment fund that he oversaw. Credit Mohd Rasfan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
BANGKOK — A United States Justice Department complaint filed in federal court this week directly contradicts repeated assertions by the Malaysian prime minister, Najib Razak, about the origins and purpose of hundreds of millions of dollars that ended up in his personal bank accounts.
While Mr. Najib and other Malaysian officials have insisted that the money was a gift from an unidentified Saudi donor, the Justice Department said that it was stolen from a Malaysian government investment fund that Mr. Najib oversaw. Mr. Najib has said he never received any money from the fund.
The court filing, one of several complaints filed Wednesday in a federal money-laundering investigation, provides the first official public documentation of transactions that challenge Mr. Najib’s version of events in a scandal that has battered his government for the past year.
The revelations could undermine his credibility and give new ammunition to a movement to force him from office. However, he maintains firm control over his governing party and has successfully stifled opposition with the firing of critics from party posts, the closing of online news outlets and the criminal prosecution of social media detractors and political opponents.
Mr. Najib, who has acknowledged receiving the money but said he broke no laws and took nothing for personal gain, told reporters on Thursday that his government would “fully cooperate” with the Justice Department action. Read more →
Permodalan Nasional Berhad – one of Malaysia’s GLIC. Pic by Tan Kim Bock
EVER wondered who dominate corporate Malaysia?
While Malaysia has its fair share of tycoons who have built their empires over the years, most of the country’s largest corporations are actually controlled by a select group of government-linked investment companies or GLICs who own major stakes in many large listed corporations in Malaysia dubbed government linked companies or GLCs.
For example, GLCs make up eight out of the 10 largest listed companies in Malaysia by market capitalisation and these eight have a combined market cap of a staggering RM452bil. There are a whole host of other GLCs in Malaysia, listed and unlisted.
And these GLICs in turn are under the control of the Finance Ministry, Universiti Malaya economics professor Dr Edmund Terence Gomez points out. (See graphic)
While similar structures exist in countries such as Singapore, Gomez, who presented a paper on the ownership and control of GLICs this week, is of the view that this is an inefficient ownership structure for corporate Malaysia.