Najib assumes people are stupid, says Dr M (Updated)

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pix) has rubbished embattled former premier Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak's claims that he was in the dark over the alleged embezzlement of funds from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

The Malay Mail today reported Mahathir as saying it was impossible for Najib to be unaware of the transactions when his signature was all over the related documents.

"Who wants to believe him that he didn't know when he signed [his name]? Every bit of money that goes in and out of the first borrowing of RM42 billion, all his signature," the Mail quoted Mahathir as saying in an exclusive interview.

"If he doesn't know, it must be that he doesn't understand what a signature means."

In an interview with Reuters, Najib said he shouldn't be blamed for the multi-billion-dollar 1MDB scandal and declares he knows nothing about money from the state fund appearing in his personal account.

The Mail reported Mahathir as saying it is ludicrous for someone to direct RM2 billion to be transferred into his account, but at the same time refuse to be informed of the transaction.

He was referring to the around US$700 million (RM2.8 billion) that was allegedly misappropriated from 1MDB into Najib's account, as detailed by the US Department of Justice's anti-kleptocracy probe, the report said.

"This cannot be. Because I have to sign to use the money. To use the money, I have to issue cheques. Najib always assumes that people are stupid," Dr Mahathir added.

Najib's recent responses evading the financial scandal has courted criticisms from various quarters, including from Barisan Nasional component party leaders.

MCA spokesperson Datuk Ti Lian Ker said the delay in addressing the issues surrounding 1MDB is further damaging confidence in BN.

"It is obvious a bare denial is insufficient to satisfy the rakyat's appetite for truth. The issues surrounding 1MDB should have been confronted earlier and the individuals responsible taken to task.

"The delay has caused BN tremendous damage resulting in a trust deficit.

"However we should also respect the due process and avoid a tendency to conduct a trial by media," he said.

Ti also said although the people seem to have made up a conclusion that Najib is responsible for the mess, it is important to see to what extent is his moral or legal culpability.

Women's Legal Bureau (Guamnita) director Azlinda Baroni said Najib is clearly evading responsibility for the wrongdoings.

"Najib seems to try to shift the blame to others for all the wrongdoings. If that is the case, we like to challenge him to lodge police reports against all of them – the former 1MDB CEO, the board, Jho Low, Reza Aziz and Nik Faisal to name a few," she said.

DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang slammed Najib, saying that the former prime minister has not only failed to clear his name but has also impaled himself on the 1MDB scandal.

He claimed that his advisers and the management and board of 1MDB had wrongly kept the alleged embezzlement of funds a secret from him.

"If so, he is the most incompetent head of government in the world!

"I do not believe that Najib is so stupid, incompetent or ignorant, which only means he was lying through his teeth in his interview with Reuters," he added.