Who’s responsible for 1MDB? Jho Low left me to face music alone, Najib laments

Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at Kuala Lumpur High Court March 10, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Datuk Seri Najib Razak is pictured at Kuala Lumpur High Court March 10, 2020. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

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KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — In a 57-minute episode of a Netflix investigative series Dirty Money, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has maintained that it was businessman Low Taek Jho who was responsible for the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.

Najib was featured expressing how the man called Jho Low is nowhere to be found, and has left accusations related to 1MDB being pointed at him, in the second episode of the series titled The Man At The Top.

“Well, Jho is nowhere to be found, you see.  And I’m here facing the music.

“So really, you have to ask yourself, what actually happened, who was responsible?” he said when asked by an interviewer in the series. 

In latest updates of Low’s whereabouts, Bloomberg reported that Malaysia had sought help from Interpol to track him, and have him face charges linked to his alleged role in the 1MDB scandal.

Low has, however, consistently denied wrongdoing.

He was also reported to be likely in Wuhan, China.

When Najib was asked if he had regretted bringing Low into helping him secure investment deals with the Middle East, the Pekan MP hinted that this was among the few mistakes he made as a prime minister.

“Yeah, I suppose, you know, you make a thousand decisions, you know as prime minister.

“You might get one or two wrong, and the one or two you get wrong, they’re the ones who come to haunt you, you know,” he said.

In the earlier part of the series episode, Najib said he engaged with Low as the latter was known to have “special connections” with key personalities in the Middle East.

He recalled when the 1MDB was established, he wanted to achieve a vision of an advanced economy — a high-income economy,  because of the global downturn at the time. 

“Only the countries in the Middle East had surplus capital, and we wanted a kind of a special relationship with them. 

“Jho Low is a man who had special connections with some very key personalities in the Middle East you see. 

“With these countries, you need a special channel to make things happen. It was much more on an informal basis,” he said.

Najib was also accused to have gotten desperate and started arresting people who spoke about 1MDB, after he saw the turnout of Bersih 5 rally in late 2016.

“It depends on the nature of the criticism. If it’s fair criticism, then we accept it. We have to accept it.

“If it’s unsubstantiated or we feel that it is one-sided, it puts the government in a tight spot you see,” he said.

In a last attempt to defend his innocence in the series, Najib was seen pleading the public to treat him fairly.

“I think one has to be fair. I mean you have to be responsible for the things you did, but you cannot just blame the man at the top for everything that goes wrong. 

“You know, I don’t think that’s fair. To what extent did he have the knowledge to begin with. Did he intend to cheat in the first place? Was there a guilty mind in the first place?” he said.

Najib also said in the series that he will have to go through the process of the 1MDB trial and hopefully will see the light at the end of the tunnel soon.

The 67-year-old will undergo 1MDB trial hearing from March 11 (today) to 13, 19 to 20, 23 to 27 and 30 to 31 inclusive of Friday, the entire month of April, May 4 to 8, 11 to 15 and 18 to 22 inclusive of Fridays, as well as June until October inclusive of Fridays.

Najib’s 1MDB case related to over RM2 billion of 1MDB funds involves 25 charges, namely four counts of power abuse and 21 counts of money laundering.

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