Police drilling into locked safe in Najib's house

KUALA LUMPUR: Police are attempting to drill a safe, which has remained locked for 20 years, located in one of the rooms of the former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's private residence.

Police have been at Najib's residence in Taman Duta here since Wednesday night as part of an investigation into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Najib's lawyer, Datuk Harpal Singh Grewal said the drilling had been ongoing since 8.30am today and reaching almost 18 hours.

"At about 8.30am some of the officers proceeded to a room located on the first floor and decided to drill open a safe which had remained locked for two decades as the key had been misplaced.

"The drilling continues although is it past 5pm now and there is absolutely no peace and quiet at his residence," he said.

Harpal was speaking to press gathered outside Najib's house.

He said the search conducted in the premises and the items seized thus far would seem of insignificant value and the continued presence of police officers in his residence and the drilling of the safe strongly suggests unwarranted harassment.

"This has caused Najib's family members, staff and others in the residence mental distress and anguish and casts a bad image on my client," he added.

Harpal was unaware on the details of the belongings in the safe.

He stressed that Najib had already indicated to everyone that he is prepared and willing to extend his fullest cooperation to the relevant authorities but this harassment has now continued for 18 hours and nothing meaningful has come from the search and seizure of what he claims to be insignificant personal items.

"The ongoing cordoning off the road has also caused a severe inconvenience to Najib's neighbours who are using the same road on a regular basis," he said.

He also reiterated that police have only taken several boxes of clothes, handbags and gifts from the compound, and not any documents.

The lawyer further insisted that none of the seized items incriminated Najib or his family members in any wrongdoing.

"It is a normal search warrant to carry out a search in accordance with the Anti Money-Laundering Act," he said.

Asked if Najib was under house arrest, he said no, and that Najib was free to come and go as he wishes.

More than 10 police vehicles, including a truck, arrived at the house at 10.15pm on Wednesday after Najib had returned from attending "terawih" prayers at the Kampung Baru Mosque here.

Harpall told reporters early today that several personal items such as handbags, clothes and gifts were removed from the house.

The police also searched another private residence of Najib, a luxury apartment in Jalan Raja Chulan.

Najib and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor have been blacklisted by the Immigration Department and they are prohibited from leaving the country.

Last week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he expected charges to be filed against Najib following investigations over the removal of hundreds of millions of US dollars from the 1MDB fund.

The Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Dr Mahathir defeated the Barisan Nasional headed by Najib in the general election on May 9.