SHAH ALAM, July 2 -- Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak admitted today to being depressed by rumours including those linking him to Muslim pilgrims fund Lembaga Tabung Haji’s (LTH) land deal with 1 Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).
Speaking at a Karangkraf Media Group breaking-of-fast event, Najib said a responsible government will not use public money to rescue the state-owned firm, but the rumours of a bailout could cost him votes after it spread like wildfire among rural voters.
“Not only Husammuddin is depressed, I am depressed, too. Politicians can get depressed, too, because we are easy targets,” Najib said, referring to Karangkraf founder Datuk Hussammuddin Yaacob who spoke before him.
“The media loses in terms of circulation; we lose in terms of votes. We are equally depressed.”
Najib insisted that the deal for a plot of land in the Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) would have brought a profit of more than RM170 million to LTH, even when the latter has yet to find a buyer for 0.66-hectare land two months after the deadline.
“Why would we use public money to bail out 1MDB? That is not a mark of a responsible government,” said Najib.
LTH chairman Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim had claimed on May 9 that a potential buyer had offered RM188.5 million, the price LTH paid 1MDB for the TRX land and that the pilgrims’ fund would be able to make a profit of RM5 million.
This comes after the prime minister told Malaysian Muslims earlier today that their prayers will not guarantee them a spot in paradise after death if they commit slander and cause disunity among their community.
“Even if you never miss your prayers, but you are an instigator, slanderous, inciteful and cause disunity, you will not be guaranteed heaven,” Najib said in a speech after handing Aidilfitri donations at a charity event earlier.
Najib’s leadership has been dogged by several major controversies such as that surrounding 1MDB that is RM42 billion in debt, now the focal point of a campaign by the opposition and those from within his own party to push for his resignation.
The prime minister is linked to the indebted strategic investment firm via his role in turning the Terengganu Investment Authority state fund into 1MDB over five years ago.
The prime minister’s family members have also been targeted in the corruption allegations.
Najib has vehemently denied the claims, calling the attacks slanderous.