THE extravagant shopping sprees of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, has again come under scrutiny, as the Wall Street Journal revealed on Wednesday that last year, she had spent US$130,625 at the Chanel shop in Honolulu, Hawaii while her husband was out golfing with U.S. president Barack Obama.
In their report, the publication alleged that Najib and Rosmah lived a lavish lifestyle, spending US$15 million on luxury clothes, jewelry and a car in countries around the world, such as the U.S. and Italy, between 2011 and 2015.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) March 31, 2016
In July last year, WSJ disclosed that US$700 million in funds were channeled into Najib’s personal bank accounts.
After that, a series of political twists and turns followed, which saw Najib expelling five members from his Cabinet, including his deputy Muhyiddin Yassin, for questioning him over the matter, as well as the “retirement” of former attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail, who had been building a case against Najib.
In his defense, Najib claimed that the money had been a legitimate donation from a benevolent Saudi royal to “promote moderate Islam” and “combat terrorism and extremism” – though the generous donor’s exact identity has yet to be confirmed.
However, the current attorney-general, Apandi Ali, declared he was satisfied with Najib’s explanation and cleared him of wrongdoing.
Since then, despite his frequent denials of employing the money for personal use, Najib has been unable to put his critics’ claims to rest and continues to face calls for his removal from office.
On Monday, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s investigative program Four Corners broadcast a report about the 1MDB scandal, airing similar allegations against Najib, in addition to several other scandals that have been linked to the premier.
— Sally Neighbour (@neighbour_s) March 27, 2016
Prior to that, on March 12, two members of the news team, journalist Linton Besser and cameraman Louie Eroglu, was been detained by Malaysian authorities in the Bornean state of Sarawak during their investigation for supposedly ignoring the instructions of Najib’s security detail and for “obstructing a public officer” when they attempted to question Najib.
The pair was later deported after authorities decided to not press charges. Afterwards, Besser called the entire incident “a circus”.
A circus. First I hadn't registered for the event, then I had been aggressive, then I breached a cordon. Now this: pic.twitter.com/M0JHbEzKPH
— Linton Besser (@lb_online) March 15, 2016
In the face of such damning accusations, however, Najib’s lawyer Mohd Hafarizam Harun told Malaysiakini he has not been instructed to pursue legal action against WSJ or the Four Corners investigative team.