Ex-aide tells of plot to arrest Najib at Cabinet meeting (as revealed by Malaysia Today in 2015)
(FMT) – A plot to execute an extra-judicial arrest of former prime minister Najib Razak in the middle of a Cabinet meeting was foiled just a day before it was supposed to be carried out, a former aide has alleged.
Romen Bose, who worked as Najib’s political communications adviser, claims in a forthcoming book that a coup planned by “the Three Tan Sris” was to take place on July 29, 2015.
The plotters allegedly included then Bank Negara Malaysia governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Abu Kassim Mohamed.
Zeti and Gani were key members of a 1MDB Task Force set up to investigate claims made by the Wall Street Journal and Sarawak Report about Najib’s involvement in looting the state fund. Abu Kassim was an adviser to the task force.
Others allegedly involved in the plot included Muhyiddin Yassin, Najib’s deputy at the time, and Shafie Apdal, who was serving as rural and regional development minister.
“Two days after the article appeared (using documents that were allegedly leaked by Bank Negara, the AG’s chambers and the MACC), a secret meeting of the task force was held to plan the removal and arrest of the prime minister,” Bose writes, quoting a number of sources.
“Abu Kassim allegedly led the call for the arrest even though the task force didn’t have solid evidence showing Najib’s guilt. All they had was speculation and gut instinct.”
“A draft charge sheet was allegedly created by Abu Kassim’s officers, alleging that Najib had corruptly received RM27 million along with criminal breach of trust as an alternative charge. This was later allegedly changed to criminal misappropriation.”
This went against convention, as typically the police or other enforcement agencies would complete and submit their investigation papers to the attorney-general to decide whether to draft a charge.
Bose says senior police officers loyal to the plotters were to be stationed at the prime minister’s office in Perdana Putra prior to his arrival, with officers loyal to deputy Special Branch chief Abdul Hamid Bador accompanying Gani into the meeting room.
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Once Najib had arrived, Gani was allegedly to address the Cabinet and read aloud the charges against Najib and announce his arrest. Police were then to allegedly swarm the Cabinet room and handcuff Najib, escorting him to a waiting police vehicle with a black bag over his head.
Muhyiddin would then chair the Cabinet meeting, Bose says, with all ministers expected to pledge their loyalty to him as the next prime minister.
Those responsible for the coup had allegedly also planned to get a “pliant judge” to accept the draft charges and order Najib’s immediate detention.
According to Bose, when he informed Najib of the plot against him the prime minister seemed to have already been alerted to it, but did not take action until the day before the coup was supposed to have taken place.
“On Tuesday, civil service head Ali Hamsa met Gani at the AG’s chambers to inform him he had been replaced, while Najib’s security detail was reinforced and the prime minister informed Muhyiddin and Shafie that they would be replaced in a mini cabinet reshuffle to take place the day itself.
“In a single morning, several of the alleged main plotters were neutralized without any violence or bloodshed, and the allegedly planned coup was thwarted – Malaysian style.”
Bose’s book ‘Final Reckoning: An Insider’s View of the Fall of Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional Government’ goes on sale on Dec 14. Pre-orders can be made through these bookshops:
Excerpts published with permission from Penguin Random House SEA.