Witness maintains 1MDB was Najib’s ‘baby’

Danial Dzulkifly
Former special officer to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin is pictured at the Kuala Lumpur High Court Complex, September 17, 2019. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 17 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak was responsible for coming up with 1MDB, a witness repeated when testifying against the former prime minister at the High Court today.

Datuk Amhari Efendi, a former special officer to Najib, told the latter’s main 1MDB corruption trial today that the ex-PM had been developing the idea for the state investment firm long before its formation and prior to assuming office in 2009.

“Since he wants to carry this (1MDB) as part of his — if I can use the word — product since before he was on the way to become prime minister to the time he became the prime minister,” he said.

Amhari was under examination from lead defence counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah who asked about the former’s opening statement that concluded 1MDB to be Najib’s “baby”. 

Shafee asked Amhari whether the Terengganu Investment Authority that later became 1MDB was also Najib’s idea.

Amhari said he did not know who mooted TIA but reiterated that 1MDB was Najib’s brainchild.

Shafee: If I say to you that the idea to form TIA was the idea of the Yang Dipertuan Agong (at the time) who is also the Sultan of Terrenganu?

Amhari: I don’t know.

Shafee then disclosed in court declassified minutes of Cabinet meeting from December 12, 2008 that was chaired by the prime minister at the time, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, which noted that the formation of TIA was proposed by Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin.

At the time, Najib was the deputy prime minister as well as the finance minister.

According to the minutes, TIA was to have a capital of RM10 billion, half of which was to be guaranteed by the federal government and the rest to be raised through bonds.

Reading from the minutes, Shafee said Sultan Mizan proposed TIA to establish another sustainable revenue stream for Terengganu in the event the state depletes its oil resources.

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