Reuters KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) — Malaysian authorities barred ousted Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife from leaving the country on Saturday, amid reports that the government was reopening investigations into a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at a state fund he founded.
The order by immigration authorities came minutes after Najib said in a Facebook post that he and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, were taking a week-long holiday overseas to rest after his thumping defeat in Wednesday’s general election.
“The Malaysian Immigration Department would like to confirm that Najib Razak and Rosmah Mansor have just been blacklisted from leaving the country,” the agency said on its official Facebook page. It gave no reason.
Moments later again, Najib said in a Twitter message that he would respect the decision and would remain in the country. He was last known to be at his home in the upmarket Bukit Tunku neighborhood of Kuala Lumpur.
Two sources told Reuters on Friday that new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad planned to reopen investigations into the graft scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that has plagued Najib since 2015.
Mahathir would appoint a finance ministry adviser to “restart the 1MDB probe and bring back the money,” said one source, who worked closely with his campaign team. The second source, a lawmaker, said the announcement could be made on Saturday when Mahathir names members of his new cabinet.
Earlier, dozens of people — mostly journalists — gathered at an airport near Kuala Lumpur from where Najib and his wife were reported to be leaving for the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and tried to look into cars entering the complex.
“I’m here to catch the thief,” said a man in the crowd, as riot police stood on guard. There was no sign that Najib or Rosmah had come to the airport.