PETALING JAYA: Najib Razak today defended the late Jamaludin Jarjis against accusations that the latter became wealthy because of his relationship with the former prime minister.
Najib said Jamaludin was already a successful businessman even before he became PM.
In a Facebook post, Najib said that his confidant, better known as JJ, who was killed three years ago in a helicopter crash, had in 1986 bought a company called EPE Power, which was later listed on the KLSE in the 1990s.
“It was during this time that he amassed his wealth and was able to invest in other projects that brought in revenue,” he wrote.
Najib said in the 1990s, when Dr Mahathir Mohamad was prime minister, EPE Power was awarded independent power producer projects (IPPs) in Sabah.
Jamaludin was also given several government projects and privatisation projects, including one involving maintenance of air force aircraft and another in Lembaga Kemajuan Pahang Tenggara (Dara), he added.
Najib also said that Jamaludin was appointed as the second finance minister after Mahathir became the finance minister following Daim Zainuddin’s resignation.
“Even though the late Tan Sri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis had a good relationship with me, he never asked me for any projects.”
Najib also said it was understood that Jamaludin had a 10% share in National Aerospace & Defence Industries Bhd (Nadi) after it was privatised in the 1990s.
Najib said Jamaludin’s sons took over his business interests when he was posted as Malaysia’s envoy to the United States.
This included saving an IPP in Kulim, given a licence in 1997, which was taken over by banks in 2004 after it failed to pay debts amounting to RM1.4 billion.
“The late Tan Sri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis was a highly educated man and a successful businessman. He died tragically and we shouldn’t make baseless accusations against him,” Najib said.
Jamaludin’s wealth came into the limelight again when his mother filed a suit to get her daughter-in-law and four grandchildren to transfer properties reportedly belonging to her son to his estate.
Aminah Abdullah, who applied for an inheritance certificate at the Shariah High Court here, said the moveable and immovable properties, worth about RM2.1 billion, could then be distributed in accordance with Islamic law.
Jamaluddin, who was an Umno Supreme Council member, was MP for Rompin from 1990 until his death on April 4, 2015.
He was killed when his helicopter crashed into a jungle along Jalan Sungai Lalang in Kampung Pasir Baru near Semenyih, Selangor.