Former Malaysian PM Najib Razak banned from leaving country

Leroy Wright
May 13, 2018

Mahathir was Malaysia's prime minister for 22 years until stepping down in 2003 and was credited with modernising Malaysia, but he was also known as a heavy-handed leader who imprisoned opponents.

"I take this opportunity to wish health and success for Your Eminence and prosperity and glory for the Malaysian nation from God", Rouhani added in his message.

But in 2016, Mahathir abandoned the long-ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition, and joined Anwar's opposition alliance to fight against scandal-hit former premier Najib Razak.

Nazir called Malaysia a new icon of democracy, saying it had "defied the odds and global trends with this peaceful transition to power in line with the will of the people".

Anger over the scandal prompted Mr Mahathir to emerge from retirement and sparked the anger that helped to oust Mr Najib's coalition.

During that time it became mostly associated with affirmative action programmes to boost the economic opportunites of the country's majority ethnic Malays.

On Thursday, Mahathir was sworn in as Malaysia's seventh Prime Minister, making him the world's oldest head of government.

Speculation had been mounting that Najib, who has been embroiled in a massive scandal related to state fund 1MDB, might try to flee the country.

Najib has denied wrongdoing and Malaysia's attorney-general has cleared him of any offence, saying the funds were a legitimate donation from the Saudi royal family.

Mahathir, who had ruled with an iron fist for more than two decades, cut ties with BN due to allegations that the coalition's leader and his former protege Najib Razak oversaw the pillaging of sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

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Mr. Najib and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were the only passengers on the manifest, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

"We are not seeking revenge", the 92-year-old prime minister said.

In another tweet earlier Razak said he would take a short break to spend time his family.

"We will begin the. proper process of obtaining a pardon for Datuk Sri Anwar", said Mahathir.

USA investigators say Najib's associates stole and laundered $4.5 billion from the fund, with some $700 million landing in Najib's bank account and around $30 million used to buy jewellery for his wife. He has said Najib will "face the consequences" if any wrongdoing is found.

Anwar, 70 is serving a five-year sentence for sodomy, a charge he and his supporters say was politically motivated.

Second day in office, Mahathir announced appointments of senior ministers in the new Cabinet.

"The (king) has indicated he is willing to pardon Datuk Sri Anwar immediately", Mahathir told a press conference, using a Malay honorific.

But Anwar formed a reformasi movement right after his firing as Minister of Finance and deputy Prime Minister in 1998.

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