MELAKA (THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has announced that he will refuse the land and house in Kuala Lumpur offered to him by the government.
He said the land and house, said to be worth RM100 million (S $ 32.5 million), were offered to him in recognition of his service as a former prime minister, but the problem had caused public unrest due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
âI have decided to reject the award although mainly the application is based on the fact that I am a former Prime Minister.
“I am aware that at this moment the people are facing difficult times and the priority of the country should be on the people,” he said on Friday (November 19th).
He added that he did not want the issue to become a subject of controversy so close to the Melaka state elections, which will be held on Saturday.
Questions have been raised about the award for Najib, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for corruption related to the 1MDB financial scandal during his tenure as prime minister and remains free pending his appeal.
On Thursday, a scuffle broke out in Parliament after Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz confirmed that the government was considering rewarding Najib with land and a house worth 100 million ringgit.
Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad claimed he was told that RM 60 million was for the purchase of land and RM 40 million for the construction of a house on the land.
On Friday, Najib suggested that Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob consider amending the 1980 Members of Parliament (Remuneration) Act which covers benefits granted to former prime ministers.
“If there is a need, the government should cancel this privilege for all former prime ministers, including the one who succeeded me,” he said at a press conference at the La Hotel. Crista in Melaka.
Najib also denied that the house and land were worth 100 million ringgit.
“I was not involved in the evaluation so I don’t know,” he added.
Najib then searched Tun Dr Mahathir, questioning the Langkawi MP’s use of the Perdana Leadership Foundation building in the administrative capital Putrajaya.
“Dr Mahathir said the Perdana Leadership Foundation can be used by all former prime ministers, maybe he wants to invite me to use it,” Najib joked.
Najib explained that he had three options to choose from and that he chose the location in Kuala Lumpur.
âJust like buying land, we choose the location that suits our needs,â he added.