Najib to face Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee over White Paper leak

Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur April 2, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Najib Razak speaks to reporters at Parliament in Kuala Lumpur April 2, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak will be referred to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee, for leaking excerpts from the then embargoed Felda White Paper.

The motion to refer the Pekan MP was passed via a bloc vote, with 86 MPs voting in favour, and 33 objecting to the move.

It is now the duty of the committee to investigate Najib’s actions, before deciding if he should be suspended for three months or face other penalties.

The government had initially moved a motion to suspend the former prime minister for three months for his action.

Najib was censured today for leaking information from the report, ahead of its tabling in Parliament.

Opposition lawmakers had earlier defended Najib over his violation of the embargo on the Felda White Paper, claiming the document was uploaded online without indication of the restriction.

They argued that officials had also made the document available on the official Parliament website prior to the embargo’s expiry and accessible to all, effectively negating the embargo.

The White Paper had been barred from public release until 11.30am yesterday when Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali was due to table it in Parliament, but Najib began sharing excerpts on his Facebook page hours before then.

Among others, Najib had highlighted Felda’s agreement to buy a 37-per cent stake in Indonesian firm Eagle High Plantations Tbk (EHP).

He did so to defend himself over the police report Felda lodged on Tuesday accusing him of misleading the agency into paying over RM2 billion for the stake that had allegedly been worth just RM440 million at the time of the sale.