KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 13 — Then Saudi ruler King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al-Saud’s willingness to gift Datuk Seri Najib Razak a prized stallion — an offer which the latter politely declined — was a testament to the cordial relationship between the two heads of state, a former minister told the High Court today.
Former foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman recounted how Najib had observed and admired paintings of Arabian stallions along the walkway of King Abdullah's palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on January 16, 2010 — the last day of Najib's official visit to Saudi Arabia.
Following the observation, Anifah said Najib commented on the beauty of the animals, to which King Abdullah took heed and offered the former prime minister one of the many prized stallions that he possessed.
“Najib politely declined the offer as he does not ride horses.
“Such an offer clearly was a manifestation of the close relations between Saudi Arabia and Malaysia,” he said in his witness statement here.
Anifah was testifying at the High Court as the sixth defence witness in Najib’s RM42 million SRC International Sdn Bhd corruption trial.
According to Anifah, King Abdullah had also conferred Najib with the prestigious King Abdulaziz Order of Merit (1st Class) which took place at the Riyadh Conference Palace in the Saudi capital on January 16.
“A significant honour and award of this stature placed the relations of both countries on a strong footing,” he said.
Among the notable recipients of Saudi Arabia's highest honour are former United States president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
During re-examination by Najib's lawyer, Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah, Anifah was asked to gauge the personal relationship between the two heads of state.
“Honestly, if you understand the Arab culture, the way he (King Abdullah) holds Najib's hand, it was like father and son. That is why the order of merit was given.
“The manner in which the body language between two leaders, from my own experiences meeting leaders, I can say it is an intimate body language,” he said.
Najib is currently on trial over seven charges related to SRC International.
Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.