Ex-Malaysian PM Razak, wife banned from leaving country

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Kuala Lumpur, May 12 (IANS) Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was defeated in the recently-held general elections, and his wife Rosmah Mansor have been banned from leaving the country, the immigration department said on Saturday.

Najib said that he and his family were planning to go on an overseas holiday on Saturday and would return next week following which the immigration department made the announcement via its social site account, BBC reported.

“I was already informed that the immigration department of Malaysia doesn’t allow me and my family to foreign countries. I respect this instruction and will stay in the country with my family,” Najib tweeted moments later.

In a historic election earlier this week, Najib’s Barisan Nasional coalition, which has been in power since Malaysia’s independence in 1957, lost to the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad, who has taken office as Prime Minister.

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Najib has been accused of diverting $700 million from a state investment fund in 2015, a charge he denies. He has since been cleared by the authorities.

He had faced accusations of corruption and mismanagement over the state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). 1MDB, set up by Najib in 2009, was meant to turn Kuala Lumpur into a financial hub and boost the economy through strategic investments.

But it started to attract negative attention in early 2015 after it missed payments for some of the $11 billion it owed to banks and bondholders.

After that, there were reports of around $700 million transferred from the fund to Najib’s personal bank accounts. Najib has consistently denied taking money from 1MDB or any public funds.

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After being sworn in as new Prime Minister, Mahathir said he would seek the return of millions of dollars lost in the scandal.

–IANS

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