Did Malaysia PM use donor money for 2013 election campaign?

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NajibMalaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said he channeled an anonymous $700 million donation to politicians and projects to help his ruling party win 2013 elections, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on December 29, citing an unnamed cabinet minister. See the report here (paywall). A video on Najib’s history and nature of power is shown here.

“I took the money to spend for us,” the unnamed minister quoted Najib as saying at a July meeting of senior leaders, the WSJ article read. The report noted that the spending by public entities to help Najib’s United Malays National Organisation stay in power was not illegal but “represented a new milestone in Malaysia’s freewheeling electoral system.”

In July, the WSJ published a report alleging that nearly $700 million had flowed from Malaysia’s state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, to Najib’s personal bank account. Najib later said that the funds were a private donation from a Middle Eastern country, which he declined to name. He has repeatedly denied wrong-doing, but didn’t give details on the donor.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which apparently interviewed a person said to be the donor,  announced it cannot reveal the identity of the individual who gave the money to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, arguing that doing so would violate the MACC Act 2009.

WSJ went on reporting that hundreds of millions worth of unreported political spending flowed from public sources or programmes intended for other purposes, including at least $140 million that was spent on charity projects to boost the party’s election chances.

Some of this cash came from the troubled state investment fund, according to the WSJ. Minutes from 1MDB meetings indicated the fund prioritized political spending even when its cash flows couldn’t cover its debt payments, the WSJ reported.

Meanwhile, 1MDB reacted angrily on the report and suggested ulterior motives in the US daily’s coverage, saying the same claim of party financing was made in a report by the paper earlier this year.

“The fact is that there is no real news in this article. For reasons best known to its management, the WSJ appears happy to have become a noticeboard for conspiracy theories and smears propagated by the Malaysian opposition. This is a sad state of affairs for its readers, who deserve better,” 1MDB said in a statement on the same day the article was published.

It added that the US newspaper must know that the claims it made were currently under investigation by different agencies in Malaysia, and pointed out that the WSJ conceded that it did not have evidence of any crime.

“We are, therefore, perplexed as to why the WSJ continues with this campaign to undermine 1MDB, and Malaysia, and urge it to focus on real news instead,” 1MDB said.

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Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said he channeled an anonymous $700 million donation to politicians and projects to help his ruling party win 2013 elections, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on December 29, citing an unnamed cabinet minister. See the report here (paywall). A video on Najib's history and nature of power is shown here. "I took the money to spend for us," the unnamed minister quoted Najib as saying at a July meeting of senior leaders, the WSJ article read. The report noted that the spending by public entities to help Najib's United Malays National Organisation stay in...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

NajibMalaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said he channeled an anonymous $700 million donation to politicians and projects to help his ruling party win 2013 elections, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported on December 29, citing an unnamed cabinet minister. See the report here (paywall). A video on Najib’s history and nature of power is shown here.

“I took the money to spend for us,” the unnamed minister quoted Najib as saying at a July meeting of senior leaders, the WSJ article read. The report noted that the spending by public entities to help Najib’s United Malays National Organisation stay in power was not illegal but “represented a new milestone in Malaysia’s freewheeling electoral system.”

In July, the WSJ published a report alleging that nearly $700 million had flowed from Malaysia’s state investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad, or 1MDB, to Najib’s personal bank account. Najib later said that the funds were a private donation from a Middle Eastern country, which he declined to name. He has repeatedly denied wrong-doing, but didn’t give details on the donor.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), which apparently interviewed a person said to be the donor,  announced it cannot reveal the identity of the individual who gave the money to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, arguing that doing so would violate the MACC Act 2009.

WSJ went on reporting that hundreds of millions worth of unreported political spending flowed from public sources or programmes intended for other purposes, including at least $140 million that was spent on charity projects to boost the party’s election chances.

Some of this cash came from the troubled state investment fund, according to the WSJ. Minutes from 1MDB meetings indicated the fund prioritized political spending even when its cash flows couldn’t cover its debt payments, the WSJ reported.

Meanwhile, 1MDB reacted angrily on the report and suggested ulterior motives in the US daily’s coverage, saying the same claim of party financing was made in a report by the paper earlier this year.

“The fact is that there is no real news in this article. For reasons best known to its management, the WSJ appears happy to have become a noticeboard for conspiracy theories and smears propagated by the Malaysian opposition. This is a sad state of affairs for its readers, who deserve better,” 1MDB said in a statement on the same day the article was published.

It added that the US newspaper must know that the claims it made were currently under investigation by different agencies in Malaysia, and pointed out that the WSJ conceded that it did not have evidence of any crime.

“We are, therefore, perplexed as to why the WSJ continues with this campaign to undermine 1MDB, and Malaysia, and urge it to focus on real news instead,” 1MDB said.

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