KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Scandal-plagued Datuk Seri Najib Razak has denied accusations made against him and his wife for living an opulent lifestyle, in an interview with Netflix investigative series Dirty Money which started airing yesterday.
In its Season Two’s second episode titled The Man At The Top, Najib was asked by an interviewer about living an “opulent lifestyle”, but downplayed it as merely a perception.
“I accept that there were accusations of living an opulent lifestyle, I accept that. And it’s not appropriate,” he said.
“So I’m trying my level best to, you know, to change that perception. Because I think it’s just a question of perception. The truth is something else.
“And I hope people in due course will understand the real person that I am,” he added.
When asked again if he agreed that these statements were not true, Najib said he could explain the “lifestyle”, referencing his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor’s shopping habits and accumulated gifts.
“I think the lifestyle can be explained. I mean, she, like most women, my wife does like to shop, but you tend to accumulate things over a period of time, and some of the places she shops are... you know she goes to outlets as well, you know,” he said, referring to Rosmah.
Najib admitted that he had at times complained that Rosmah kept too many things, calling her a “hoarder”.
“I sometimes complain, I say, you know, ‘Don’t keep those things. You are a hoarder. You keep things for a long time. Get rid of them you know’.
“But it’s amazing after a few years, the amount of things you accumulate particularly when you’re in office.
“We have friends. Friends do give us presents,” he said.
He went on saying that it was not against the law in Malaysia to receive presents and that every head of government received gifts particularly from the Middle East.
“I mean, your president received quite expensive gifts from the Middle East as well. I believe it is well-documented,” said Najib, referring to the American president, without elaborating what these gifts were.
In 2018, it was reported that cash and items seized from six residences linked to Najib amounted between RM900 million to RM1.1 billion.
The police had then confiscated more than 12,000 pieces of jewellery — comprising 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 2,100 bracelets, 2,800 pairs of earrings, 1,600 brooches and 14 tiaras.
It was also reported that 567 handbags made up of 37 luxury brands with an estimated value of RM51.3 million were seized.
In a later part of the episode, Najib spoke of cash that was seized from one of these raids done as part of investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
“They did take jewellery, they took handbags, they took cash. Let me deal with the cash. You know for example, being the head of a political party, president of the party, I was just continuing the tradition of a president of a party.
“This was a CSR (corporate social responsibility) political account under my name, you see?
“The donation that was given by under the behest of King Abdullah was specifically meant for me, as the leader of Malaysia. For welfare purposes and political purposes,” he said, referring to Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud.