Former PM’s arrest grabs global headlines

The arrest of Najib Razak was reported by international news portals.

PETALING JAYA: The arrest of former prime minister Najib Razak in relation to the 1MDB investigations has made global headlines.

Various international and regional news outlets have reported on his arrest, which comes 64 days after he successfully defended his Pekan seat in the 14th general election but failed to form the federal government.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Najib’s arrest, with the headline “Najib Razak, Malaysia’s fallen leader, is arrested in 1MDB corruption”, crediting Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad over his quick move to restart investigations.

It said Najib had quashed an investigation into the scandal when it exploded three years ago.

But he was no longer able to dictate events after being cast out of office in a stunning election loss in the May 9 polls and Malaysia’s new government was eager to unearth what went on at the troubled state investment fund, it added.

The South China Morning Post carried the headline “Malaysia’s Najib Razak faces ’20 years in jail’ as court date arrives”.

It said the disgraced former prime minister would be charged on Wednesday in connection with the multibillion-dollar scandal at 1MDB.

The New York Times, headlined the story as “Najib Razak, Malaysia’s ex-prime minister, is arrested amid corruption inquiry”.

It wrote: “Atop a political machine that had governed Malaysia since its independence in 1957, Mr Najib and his allies used political influence, cash handouts and news media repression to try to keep corruption accusations at bay for years.

“But in May, voter anger over the scandal at the investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, led to a sweeping victory for a sprawling opposition movement that came together to oust Mr Najib.”

Bloomberg reported on the arrest with the headline, “Najib fighting for freedom after arrest in Malaysia 1MDB probe”.

It quoted a statement from the task force which said the arrest on Tuesday was made in connection with the probe on SRC International.

SRC International was a former unit of the 1MDB.

Bloomberg also highlighted that in January 2016, former attorney-general Mohamed Apandi Ali had cleared Najib of wrongdoing in connection with SRC, saying there was no evidence that money from the company was transferred into his personal bank account.

Australian news outlet ABC News, in reporting the arrest, noted that Najib would be charged on Wednesday and mentioned raids on Najib-linked properties had recovered A$370 million in cash and goods.

It said 1MDB was being investigated in at least six countries for alleged money-laundering and corruption.

The Jakarta Post reported the story under its “Breaking News”, stating “Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak arrested”.

The Straits Times reported on the arrest with the headline “Ex-Malaysian PM Najib arrested by anti-graft agency”, quoting a MACC source that Najib could face up to five charges under corruption laws and the Penal Code.

Najib’s arrest also made headlines in international media outlets such as The Guardian, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera and BBC.