KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 3 ― Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak was only acting on the Attorney-General’s (AG) advice in declining explaining personally in Parliament the RM2.6 billion donation he received, Datuk Seri Azalina Othman said today.
The minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of parliamentary affairs said the federal government made a collective decision to issue a ministerial statement in their response to questions after AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali said Najib may be risking “subjudice” if he attempted to answer in person with investigations into the surrounding controversy still ongoing.
“The AG is the government's lawyer. We are guided by his advice,” she told a press conference in the Parliament lobby here.
“The government decided that the best thing to do was to issue a ministerial statement,” Azalina said, and added that it was to be read out by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Azalina had previously promised to answer all questions surrounding the RM2.6 billion donation controversy in “one go,” saying it will do so today, the final day of the current Dewan Rakyat session.
In a written reply earlier today, Ahmad Zahid said the identity of the donor behind the RM2.6 billion deposited into Najib's private bank accounts cannot be revealed as the case is still being investigated by Malaysian authorities.
The RM2.6 billion figure first surfaced through a US-based paper Wall Street Journal’s report about 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in July on the purported discovery by government investigators of a money trail of that amount ending in Najib’s accounts.
Najib has said that he has not taken public funds for personal gain, but the RM2.6 billion controversy has remained the centre of media and public attention.
The RM2.6 billion was later declared to be a donation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) from Middle Eastern donors whose identities were not revealed, however.
The MACC is to record Najib’s statement in connection with its investigation on 1MDB and its former subsidiary, SRC International today, international news wire Reuters reported this morning, citing an unnamed source.