I ran to Bangkok in 2015 when SRC became hot topic, says ex-director

Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Suboh Md Yassin.

KUALA LUMPUR: A former SRC International Sdn Bhd director told the High Court in Najib Razak’s corruption and abuse of power trial that he ran with his wife to Bangkok and Abu Dhabi in 2015 when the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) was investigating the company.

Suboh Md Yassin said an unidentified “MACC officer” told him not to go to the anti-graft agency’s office but to flee from Malaysia.

“I wanted to take the initiative to explain when the SRC issue became a hot topic,” he said when examined by deputy public prosecutor Ishak Mohd Yusoff.

Suboh said he could not identify the person but he spoke in Malay.

“I was afraid because at that time Najib was still in power.”

He said SRC CEO Nik Faisal Ariff Kamil told the company this involved the then prime minister.

Suboh said Nik Faisal told him: “You got to go.”

Suboh said he was in the Thai capital for a month and was also taken to Abu Dhabi where he stayed there for a week.

“My flight ticket to Abu Dhabi and accommodation was paid by someone who I don’t know,” he said.

Suboh said he returned home after a month and was directed by Nik Faisal again to leave the country after the May 9 election last year but he declined.

The 42nd witness said Nik Faisal directed him to do so to prevent enforcement authorities questioning him (Suboh).

“I made a decision not to run away but remain in Malaysia to assist the authorities in their investigations.”

Najib, 66, is facing three counts of criminal breach of trust, one charge of abusing his position and three counts of money laundering over SRC International funds amounting to RM42 million.

He is also accused of abusing his power as prime minister by giving government guarantees on SRC International’s RM4 billion loan from Retirement Fund Inc.

The Pekan MP was charged with committing the offences at AmIslamic Bank Bhd on Jalan Raja Chulan and the Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya between Aug 17, 2011, and Feb 10, 2015.

The frail-looking Suboh, who walks with the aid of a cane, told the court he went for a heart by-pass surgery in 2012 and suffered a stroke in June 2017.

“But I have come to court today as this is my obligation,” he said when questioned by Ishak on the status of his health.

Suboh, who retired as a senior civil servant in 2009, said Najib appointed him to the SRC board on Aug 1, 2011.

He said SRC had applied for a RM4 billion loan from the pensioners’ fund, KWAP, in 2011 and 2012 for working capital and general investments overseas.

Suboh, 68, said 90% of the funds were invested overseas while the balance 10%, or RM400 million, was kept in a local bank.

He said RM40 million was utilised to purchase properties which were later sold to its subsidiary, Gandingan Mentari Sdn Bhd (GMSB).

Suboh and Nik Faisal were also directors of GMSB.

Suboh said SRC wanted to undertake corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes and another RM250 million was transferred to GMSB for that purpose.

“We (SRC) appointed Ihsan Perdana Sdn Bhd on Sept 3, 2014 to undertake the CSR programmes.”

Suboh said the SRC board first knew of the CSR programmes when Nik Faisal informed the directors of the need to assist flood victims in the East Coast.

He said the RM250 million was a big amount and should have been discussed at the SRC board for approval but this was not done.

“I am raising this issue because it involves company rules and compliance and the RM250 million came from SRC funds.”

Suboh said Nik Faisal had claimed that this “will be taken care of and that has been agreed by those in authority (pihak atasan)”.

“To my mind, the person in authority referred to by Nik Faisal is Najib, who was also adviser emeritus of SRC,” Suboh said, adding that he remained silent and never raised the issue again.

Hearing before judge Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali was adjourned to July 1.