Lawyer: Najib taking his defence to public through media interviews

Lawyer SN Nair says Najib Razak should have responded to questions on 1MDB before the general election. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak, who is under investigation in connection with scandal-tainted 1MDB, appears to be taking his defence to the public to pre-empt charges against him, a lawyer says.

SN Nair said he was inclined to believe Najib’s recent slew of media statements was also for political consumption as he wanted to give his side of the story.

“His willingness to go to the media reveals that he wants to absolve himself,” he told FMT.

He said if Najib was sincere, he had all the opportunity to make the statements before the May 9 election as many of the questions related to 1MDB were raised by the public and the opposition, but he did not do so.

Nair was commenting on Najib’s willingness to offer information to the public through the media after losing his position in power.

Before the election, statements in support of Najib mostly came from Barisan Nasional strategic communications director Abdul Rahman Dahlan and then-multimedia and communications minister Salleh Said Keruak while the ex-prime minister was largely silent.

Najib, in an interview with Reuters last month, said he should not be blamed for the multi-billion-ringgit 1MDB scandal, and declared he knew nothing about the money appearing in his personal account.

He said his advisers and the management and board of 1MDB had wrongly kept the alleged embezzlement of funds a secret from him.

In late May, Najib gave statements in two sessions to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission in relation to the 1MDB-linked SRC International and the RM42 million that made its way into his private account.

Last week, Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh revealed that cash and jewellery valued at up to RM1.1 billion were found in residences linked to Najib.

In an interview with news portal Malaysiakini, Najib disputed the valuation as subjective and unrealistic.

He also said the jewellery comprised gifts to his wife Rosmah Mansor and wedding presents to his daughter Nooryana Najwa.

Police have yet to record statements from Najib or any of his family members on the seized items.

Over RM1 billion in items seized from Najib raids, say cops

Najib explains handbags, cash and jewellery stash

Najib goes home after spending over 5 hours at MACC