Malaysia’s new anti-corruption boss recalls crackdown by Najib regime

Malaysia’s new anti-corruption boss broke down before local media on Tuesday as he described how he and other colleagues feared for their life while investigating cases linked to Najib Razak, former prime minister, in 2015.

Shukri Abdull, Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC HQ pictured) head, said he received a live bullet by post, was branded as a traitor and threatened to be fired while investigating Najib’s role in the embezzlement of state fund from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its subsidiary, SRC International.

In 2015, then MACC head Abu Kassim asked him whether he can investigate the transfer of $681 million from SRC International to Najib’s personal account. Abu Kassim hinted at the consequences since Najib was the country’s most powerful man.

Shukri readily agreed and felt thrilled because he was going to help the country recover part of the money salted away by Najib in banks abroad.

Shukri recorded the statements of more than a hundred witnesses and prepared two reports against the scandal-tainted former leader.

One day before MACC was about to take action against Najib, then-attorney-general Abdul Gani Patail was removed from office.

Deputy prime minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, and rural and regional development minister, Mohd Shafie Apdal, of the time were also sacked as they had raised questions about 1MDB.

Shukri and Abu Kassim were accused as traitors plotting to overthrow the government. Key witnesses suddenly began to go missing.

Intelligence sources warned Shukri that his arrest appeared imminent. He feared for his life and left for Washington on July 31, 2015. While escaping, he also wanted to draw the attention of the US authorities to the 1MDB issue and the efforts being made by the Najib government to foil the investigation.

In Washington, Sukhri felt he was being followed. He sought the the help of a friend who worked with the New York Police Department. For a week, he stayed in New York under his protection before returning to Washington.

Shukri told media on Tuesday that he broke down in front of strangers in the US when the news came that his colleagues had been arrested in Malaysia. He felt guilty, helpless and frustrated over his failure to protect them.

Shukri said he has an unfinished job — the 1MDB case — to be completed.