Irate Najib Brothers Dispute Family Wealth


The statement was signed by Nazir Razak, the chairman of CIMB group, as well as his brothers Johari, Nizam and Nazim. It apparently was not signed by Najib.

John Berthelsen, Asia Sentinel

The rift between Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his families appears to be growing, with the publication of a formal statement in Malaysia’s New Straits Times daily newspaper by Najib’s four brothers.

The statement appears to have been triggered by questions over the prime minister’s financial affairs in the wake of a Feb. 9 New York Times article that reported the family has vast wealth, much of it overseas. In that article, the prime minister’s office defended Najib’s wealth by claiming that “neither any money spent on travel, nor any jewelry purchases, nor the alleged contents of any safes are unusual for a person of the prime minister’s position, responsibilities and legacy family assets.” The prime minister has made subsequent statements saying his wealth derives from inheritance.

That has raised the ire of Najib’s brothers, who say there were no “legacy family assets” and that any claim to the contrary is an insult at their father, Tun Abdul Razak, the country’s second prime minister and a man known for his parsimony with government funds.

Without naming any names, the brothers’ statement said that “We wish to put on record that Tun Abdul Razak was a highly principled man, well-known to all who knew him for his frugality and utmost integrity and any statement or inference to the contrary would be totally false and misleading to his memory and to his service and sacrifices for the nation. We take issue with anyone who taints his memory, whatever the motive. We would also like to add that our whole family is united on this issue.”

The statement was signed by Nazir Razak, the chairman of CIMB group, as well as his brothers Johari, Nizam and Nazim. It apparently was not signed by Najib.

As Asia Sentinel reported on Feb. 11, the rift in the family has been growing for months over a variety of issues, many of them related to Najib’s wife Rosmah Mansor, including the fact that she makes an ostentatious display of her wealth, in jewelry and expensive handbags.

One source with close connections to the family said Rosmah will not allow Najib to meet with his brothers unless she is present, and that they are not allowed to talk with the prime minister outside of her earshot.

In addition, the bad blood is said to stem from the brothers’ problems with Rosmah over their indignation at the treatment meted out to Najib’s first wife, Tengku Puteri, whom he divorced to marry Rosmah and to the children from the first marriage. When Tengku Puteri’s eldest daughter became a lawyer and was called to the Malaysian bar, Najib’s brother called him and asked him to attend. Family sources said Najib declined, possibly because of Rosmah’s objections. Najib’s mother, Rahah, instead brought her granddaughter to Najib’s office together with a photographer so that the newly minted lawyer could have her photo taken with her father in her court robes.

Other irritations have arisen over the deeply indebted government-backed investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, which Rosmah is believed to have convinced her husband to initiate. The fund is in deep trouble and only stayed afloat this month with an emergency loan from billionaire T. Ananda Krishnan, a close UMNO crony, who put up RM2 billion to meet debt service. Sources told local media in Malaysia that 1MDB may need another MR3 billion from its owner, the Ministry‎ of Finance.

Read more at: