Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has received flak from journalists from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Bradley Hope and Tom Wright for his revelation regarding the sum that he has claimed to be donated to "his party" by the late Saudi king HRH Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud in the following Facebook post on Monday (10 Sep):
Hope and Wright, who are also co-authors of the hotly discussed "Billion Dollar Whale," an exposé on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) fiasco, rebutted Najib's claim by stating that Najib has already made a similar claim in 2011, and that they "have always reported that".
Najib had shared financial transaction statements dated Feb 24 in 2011, and on Nov 25 in the same year.
Rejecting the public's probe as to why he had only chosen to reveal the documents now, Najib claimed that his lawyers had "spent a long time" getting the documents.
Wright, however, dismissed Najib's claim, saying: "We’ve had them for years, and there’s nothing new in them. And they don’t explain why he received US$681 million in 1MDB cash."
Hope pointed out in his tweet that Najib's documents were potentially misleading:
The documents you've included are partly misleading (i.e. the wire transfers, which shield the true origin of the funds) and based partly on alleged fraud (the letter purporting to be from the Saudi prince, which was created to mislead regulators and banks.
In a Facebook post yesterday (13 Sep), Najib further made the claim that the RM2.6bil sum had been "returned" after "four months" from the date he had received the money.
Najib elaborated that the RM 2.6bil refers to the US$681mil that he had received in his personal bank account at the end of March in 2013, a month before the 13th General Election on 5 May the same year for "political purposes," dismissing the claims that the fund was to be used for personal ends:
He added that he had opted to forgo the option of soliciting donations from businessmen and local tycoons as he wanted to avoid engaging in "cronyism," stating that he had anticipated that the businessmen would have "asked for high-value projects" in return for political donations for Barisan Nasional from them to Najib.
Najib further pointed out that it is "absurd" to store stolen state funds in a personal bank account, and that "money that has been borrowed must be repaid, and if one were to steal funds [from 1MDB], problems will certainly arise when the time to repay the debt comes."
He concluded his post by stating that it was the late Saudi king's wish to have kept the purported donation a secret, and also by questioning as to whether it was fair for him as a Prime Minister to expose the "buying" of Members of Parliament by business tycoons in a democratic nation such as Malaysia to the world.