Malaysiakini News

Gov't likely to sell off Najib-linked haul, says Guan Eng

Published:  |  Modified:

The government will try to monetise much of the items seized from former premier Najib Abdul Razak, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Speaking to the Associated Press (AP) in an interview today, Lim said the items, estimated to be worth up to RM1.1 billion, were just a "drop in the ocean" compared to the RM50 billion purportedly misappropriated from 1MDB and which was set up by Najib.

"We will try to monetise whatever we can but bear in mind it is nothing compared to the amount that has been robbed from the state," he was quoted saying, adding that he was stunned by the police seizure.

Lim was referring to the announcement by Federal Commercial Crime Investigation Department (CCID) director Commissioner Amar Singh on Wednesday that the value of items seized from six properties linked to Najib last month could be worth up to RM1.1 billion.

This includes thousands of pieces of jewellery, as well as hundreds of handbags, watches and sunglasses.

Najib, however, has maintained that the seized items were mainly gifts, and has shot down the police's estimation as "subjective and unrealistic".

The police raid was part of fresh investigations pertaining to the 1MDB affair.

Seizure 'out of this world'

Lim said the staggering amount of recovered items would be "mind-boggling" even for a wealthy country such as the US.

"For a small country like Malaysia, it is completely out of this world," he said.

According to Lim, the allegation of about RM2.6 billion purportedly belonging to 1MDB and landing in Najib's personal accounts in 2015 was the "game changer" in the scandal.

This was what prompted Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to band together with "former foes" (including Lim himself) to call for action.

"I said no one is so stupid to put money into his own personal bank account especially if you are a prime minister. Who is stupid enough to do that?

"But when we discovered that that was indeed the truth, we were shocked beyond belief," Lim recalled.

He added that Najib would have plunged the country into a "deeper black hole" had we won another term in the May 9 general election.

"Imagine if they had won another term, the glass would be empty.

"The glass that is only half-full now will allow us to rehabilitate our finances, to recuperate so that we can be reinvigorated to be a dynamic economy again."

Lim told AP that with the unravelling of several previously confidential files in the Finance Ministry, the current administration had uncovered most of the mega-scandals tied to the previous BN-led government.

He added a lot of "mini 1MDB scandals" will be revealed over time.

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