KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 12 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak has officially requested via his lawyers for the Malaysian government to have Man on The Run, a new documentary on the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, to be removed from the Netflix subscription-based video-streaming platform.

In a letter dated January 11, Najib through the law firm representing him — Shafee and Co — also suggested that online regulator Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) could take legal action against the documentary’s makers, citing a section that punishes the provision of offensive content online with a maximum RM50,000 fine or maximum one-year jail.

Najib’s lawyers’ letter was addressed to Communications Minister Fahmi Fadzil, MCMC chairman Tan Sri Mohamad Salim Fateh Din, and MCMC chief compliance officer Datuk Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin.

Claiming that the contents of the 1MDB documentary was biased against Najib amid his ongoing 1MDB trial, his lawyers urged the three officials to have the documentary “taken down and for that content applications service provider to be prohibited from continuing to air this documentary programme”. They were referring to Netflix with the phrase “content applications service provider”.


“Apart from common law provisions regarding contempt of court, allow us to also propose to YBhg. Tuan, YBhg. Tan Sri and YBhg. Datuk to take legal action against the production team and director of this documentary programme,” the letter said in addressing the three officials.

Immediately after proposing legal action on the 1MDB documentary’s production team, Najib’s lawyers went on to cite Section 211 of the Communications and Multimedia Act, which covers the prohibition against the provision of offensive content.

Under Section 211, it is an offence for any content applications service provider or other person using a content applications service to “provide content which is indecent, obscene, false, menacing, or offensive in character with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any person”.


Section 211 states that the offence is punishable upon conviction with a maximum RM50,000 fine or maximum one-year jail term or both, and that the offender is also liable to a further fine of RM1,000 for every day or part of a day during which the offence is continued after conviction.

When contacted, Alaistair Brandah Norman — one of the lawyers representing Najib — confirmed to Malay Mail that the letter has been delivered to all three recipients.

In the same letter by Najib’s lawyers, they claimed that the interviewees in the 1MDB documentary had made statements against Najib that were allegedly “defamatory, sub judice, prejudiced, biased and yet and/or never proven either through documentary evidence or witnesses’ oral evidence which have been produced in any trial including the 1MDB-Tanore trial”.

Najib’s lawyers further claimed that remarks of some interviewees in the 1MDB documentary were in “contempt of court” as the 1MDB trial is ongoing.

In the letter, Najib’s lawyers listed these interviewees as including former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas; former US ambassador to Malaysia, John R. Malott; Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown; former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigator Charles W. O’Neal; former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) investigator David Smith; former Damansara MP Tony Pua; and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Najib’s lawyers claimed that the comments given by the interviewees in the documentary was clearly a “contempt of court”, as the comments were on an ongoing trial or matters that had yet to be decided by the court. They then urged for the removal of “Man on The Run” from Netflix.

Among other things, Najib’s lawyers stressed the need to protect their client’s right to a fair trial.

Just days earlier, Najib’s lead defence lawyer Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah had on Monday complained about the contents of the 1MDB documentary to the High Court during the 1MDB trial proceedings.

Shafee had also told the High Court that Najib has given him instructions to take legal action against former attorney-general Tan Sri Tommy Thomas and Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle-Brown over their comments in the 1MDB documentary.

The 1MDB documentary was released in Malaysia’s cinemas on October 19, 2023, and was available on Netflix in Malaysia on January 5.

After Shafee in the High Court urged for the prosecution to take steps to have the 1MDB documentary removed from Netflix, “Man on The Run” — which is one hour and 38 minutes long and also features Najib as an interviewee — reportedly climbed up the ranks from the fourth spot to the second spot in Netflix’s Top 10 Movies in Malaysia.