Najib mum over complaint to Saudi over Anwar funding

By Boo Su-Lyn, The Malaysian Insider

PUTRAJAYA, Jan 28 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak refused comment today over a CNN report which said he had complained that members of Saudi Arabia’s royalty were possibly funding Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s election war chest.

The international broadcaster yesterday reported that a secret Saudi intelligence report found no evidence of any Riyadh official funding Anwar, but found a fundamentalist Muslim organisation had benefited Al Qaeda through its support of politicians in Muslim countries.

Several bloggers have linked Anwar to the group, Muslim Brotherhood, but the opposition leader said today the issue showed Najib feared Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) political relevance.

“This is a Saudi investigation,” Najib told reporters today.

“I don’t wish to comment,” added the prime minister.

Earlier today, Anwar said he would not be surprised if Najib had complained as reported, claiming the latter was becoming anxious over the federal opposition’s widely-publicised reform plans — spelt out in its “Buku Jingga” launched last month — which contained instant reform measures to be implemented by PR within the first 100 days of taking over Putrajaya.

CNN reported yesterday that “the investigation found that hundreds of millions of dollars of Saudi money had been funnelled to leading Islamist politicians and political activists overseas. It also found that al Qaeda and the Taliban were still able to use Saudi Arabia for fund-raising, despite numerous measures to choke off those sources of cash.”

CNN said the nine-page summary of the secret report states that the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist political group present in many Muslim countries, was trying “through its many affiliated charities and organisations — often with the funding of unwitting private Saudi citizens — to spread its influence by providing support for candidates in Islamic democracies.”

“Once in power these candidates are expected to further the Brotherhood’s goals. Al Qaeda was able to benefit from these secret funding mechanisms, according to the source, because some in the Muslim Brotherhood had ‘historic sympathies and connections’ with members of the terror group — dating back to when Saudi Arabia and the CIA covertly funded the Afghan mujahideen to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan,” CNN reported.