KUALA LUMPUR, July 21 — Opposition leaders’ demand for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to take a leave of absence over a civil suit filed in the US highlights their failure to seek the same of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, a federal minister said today.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Azalina Othman Said added that the demand was especially unjustified as Najib was not identified in the lawsuit filed by the US Justice Department yesterday.
“Their action reveals the true double standards of the opposition. They were silent when the secretary-general of the DAP was charged in court.
“This is the unprincipled politics practised by the opposition,” she said in a statement today.
Azalina took particular issue with Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua, saying he should “confuse” the public given his position as a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) member.
She then stressed that the US lawsuit was a civil matter, and not criminal in nature.
The US DOJ filed a civil lawsuit yesterday seeking the forfeiture and recovery of more than US$1 billion in assets linked to what it described in a press statement as an “international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated” from 1MDB, the largest case ever brought by the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative.
US prosecutors said more than US$3.5 billion in 1MDB funds were allegedly misappropriated by high-level officials of the local state investment firm and their associates between 2009 and 2015.
According to complaints that US prosecutors highlighted, the funds allegedly embezzled and laundered into the US were purportedly used to buy luxury properties in New York, Los Angeles and London, paintings by Vincent Van Gogh and Claude Monet, a US$35 million jet, as well as gambling debts in Las Vegas.
Lim was charged with abuse of power and corruption at the Penang High Court last month.