KUALA LUMPUR, March 2 — Award-winning Al Jazeera journalist Mary Ann Jolley has dismissed former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak's claim of her being a victim of political propaganda, saying she is just trying to do her job.
In an interview with The Star, she said it is “ridiculous” for Najib to call her questions about the 1Malaysia Development Berhad scandal a propaganda as there have been very detailed reports globally on the matter.
“This scandal is being investigated by more than six countries around the world, charges are being laid and in fact obviously the (former) prime minister is being charged in Malaysia,” she said.
Jolley was asked to comment on an interview she had with Najib which ended with the former prime minister walking out after he was repeatedly asked about various controversies surrounding him.
Jolley also denied Najib's allegation that she is obsessed with the death of Mongolian translator Altantuyaa Shaariibuu, stating she is doing her job in the sense that there are so many questions about her murder.
“You also have Sirul in Australia. He was sending text messages back to Malaysia prior to being detained at Villawood Detention Centre (in Sydney).
“He basically wanted three million dollars to not bring down the prime minister, so Najib needs to answer this in order to clear up the allegations surrounding his involvement in Altantuyaa's murder,” she told The Star.
Jolley was referring to former police corporal Sirul Azhar Umar, who along with Special Action Force officer Azilah Hadri was sentenced to death in 2009 after being convicted for murdering her.
He subsequently fled to Australia and was detained by the Immigration authorities after Interpol issued a red notice on him. He has been detained at Villawood since 2015, and is seeking to be granted asylum.
“It is not an obsession, it is just the fact that these questions are still unanswered and need to be answered,” she said.
Shortly after winning the 2019 UK Royal Television Society’s Television Journalism Awards' Interview of the Year on Thursday, Najib went on Facebook to defend his reasons for walking out during the interview.
“I have no problems walking away from a foreign reporter as long as I do not walk away from my people. She has been influenced by elaborately crafted political propaganda by those who are in power today.
“Please tell her that her obsession has been proven unfounded as the police under the new government has found no evidence linking me to the Mongolian woman’s death. There is no cover-up,” he insisted.