Najib may face multi-million dollar corruption case
The outgoing Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak has resigned as president of his United Malay National Organisation (UMNO) party, and as chairman of the ruling coalition, with immediate effect, shortly after he was issued a travel ban.
“We all feel sad about what happened but as a party that upholds democratic principles, we accept the people’s decision,” he said, referring to the stunning defeat of the long-ruling alliance in Wednesday’s general election.
Former PM Mahathir Mohamad, 92, who ruled the country from 1981 to 2003, was sworn in as the oldest elected leader, as seventh Prime Minister on Thursday night after defeating Najib led coalition.
Najib also announced that former deputy prime minister and Najib’s deputy Ahmad Zahid Hamidi would take over as the new president of the UMNO party, the main component of the Barisan Nasional alliance.
The resignation came after Najib was barred from leaving the country on Saturday amid reports that the government was reopening investigations into a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at a state fund he founded.
Malaysia’s Immigration Department announced the travel ban moments after the scandal-plagued Najib said in a Facebook post that he and his family were taking a post-election holiday overseas starting from Saturday and would return next week.
“I have been informed that the Immigration Department does not allow me and my family to go abroad. I respect the direction and will remain with the family in the country,” Najib wrote on his twitter account.
Newly sworn-in Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said he prevented Najib from travelling to “avoid problems with extradition”. Najib was supposed to leave for Indonesia.
Earlier Malaysia’s official news agency Bernama reported that reporters from the local and international media thronged the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah airport near Petaling Jaya on Saturday following a rumour that former PM Naji Razak would be leaving the country. Najib had also announced saying he would take a short break to spend time with his family.
Najib further said, “After four decades in politics and the recent election campaign, which was regrettably personal and perhaps the most intense in Malaysian history, I will take a short break to spend time with my family whom I have not seen enough of in recent years.”
The Federal Government of Malaysia is based in Kuala Lumpur and the executive is based in Putrajya. Under the federation 13 states operate within a constitutional monarchy under the Westminster parliamentary system and is categorized as a representative democracy.
The 14th Malaysian general elections were held on 9 May to elect members of the Parliament. In 222 seat parliament, Mahathir Mohamad led alliance won 121 seats, while the outgoing PM Najib Razak’s alliance got 79 seats.