PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has taken to Facebook to combat claims that he lied about the RM2.6bil donation from the late Saudi King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud.
In a Facebook live video on Tuesday night (Nov 6), the former prime minister addressed Umno members and Malaysians in his message, which discussed the issue that he said was "manipulated and fully used to become one of the factors that contributed to Barisan Nasional's loss".
His 11-minute message started with a strong assertion that he never lied about the RM2.6bil donation.
Najib went on to explain his close relationship with the late monarch and its development since 2009, citing the example of a gift of Kiswah cloth – a black cloth embroidered with gold and silver Arabic calligraphy praising God, draped over the Kaabah – that he had received from King Abdullah.
He also mentioned the King Abdulaziz Order of Merit, the highest honour by the Saudi government that was "never given to any prime minister of Malaysia before", which King Abdullah had awarded him, with other recipients including former US president Barack Obama and Russian president Vladimir Putin.
According to Najib, the monarch wanted to help him financially so the Barisan government could continue as the ruling party, along with other forms of aid such as the approval of additional haj quota for Malaysia.
King Abdullah's intentions saw him deciding that two Saudi princes and some officials should contact the Prime Minister's Office in Malaysia, Najib added.
"My understanding is that every time the funds are funnelled here, the princes in question will send a letter to me and also my office.
"I wish to state that at the first stage, the funds from King Abdullah came from the Finance Ministry of Saudi Arabia and the princes. The RM2.6bil funds were sent to me together with the letter that were signed by the same princes to explain the source of the funds," he said.
Najib added that he returned almost all of the RM2.6bil to the sender after the 13th General Election, stating that it was to avoid a repeat of the "916 incident" (Sept 16, 2008) and create a stable political situation in the country.
He was referring to Pakatan Harapan's attempt to get Barisan parliamentarians to cross over to the then-opposition to enable the toppling of the Barisan government following the 12th General Election.
Najib said that all matters relating to the receiving of the funds and it being sent back was known to Bank Negara, the bank in question and his officers.
"There were no doubts raised by Bank Negara, the bank that received it, and the officers that handled my account, throughout the time I was receiving the funds.
"So I assumed that everything had followed the rules, that there wasn't something that can be contested, because those parties gave no sign or reprimand about the source of the received funds," he said.
Najib also stressed that he never used the funds received for personal gain, but only for election matters, political matters, NGOs and for the people's welfare.
He also cleared the air about his recent Al Jazeera interview with journalist Mary Ann Jolley, where he said he did not verify the funds he received.
"I meant that my account is handled by certain officers, and the receiving of said funds did not receive any rebuke or signal from Bank Negara, the receiving bank, or my officers.
"It is in that context that I gave that answer in the AJ interview; I did not check the party that sent the funds, because there was no signal or reprimand from Bank Negara Malaysia, the bank and the officers," said Najib, stating that his answer was manipulated to convey a different meaning.
He also stated that all 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) funds are sourced from loans.
"Of course I would not steal money that must be paid back, what more when the money is entered into a private account known to dozens of officers. It's not possible for such a matter to be hidden, nor could I avoid from being detected by the authorities," said Najib.
Though it is not easy for him to explain the matter as he has been charged in court, Najib is confident that his side has the complete details and witnesses that will explain the matter at the appropriate time.
"I have served the rakyat in government for so long. And I have done my best and served the best possible. I believe that whatever I'm trying to explain here will be able to illuminate the issue of the funds i had received. There isn't anybody that won't be insulted when slapped with all sorts of accusations. I want to strongly stress that I am not a thief, a robber, or a villain," he added.
"Hopefully, when the time comes, the truth will emerge and all accusations will vanish. May my explanation also unravel the issue of the RM2.6bil funds. I pray the truth will prevail, and Inshaallah, I can clear my name," he concluded.