Datuk Seri Najib Razak, former Malaysian Prime Minister, told the High Court that he had decided to appoint himself as the Finance Minister since he believed that he would be able to develop the country’s economy. Former Prime Minister was being grilled by the Attorney General of Malaysia Tommy Thomas at the High Court today.
He had been asked the reasons behind appointing himself Finance Minister when he was already serving as the Prime Minister. While answering the question, Najib said,
Because I felt that I have the ability to improve the country’s economy. If you look back at the nine years [I was prime minister] from the big picture, our country has improved in terms of GDP (gross domestic product). In 2017, our economy grew 5.9%.
He went on to state that Malaysia grew at a faster clip than other “Asian tiger nations” and also enjoyed a sustained bull market during his time as the Finance Minister. He added that the local currency remained stable at the time, and the citizens of the country enjoyed more benefits as well.
However, the questioning did not stop there. Najib was asked what sort of qualifications he had, considering the complexities of holding the Finance Ministry portfolio. He replied that he has a grounding in economics and also holds a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Economics from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom.
When asked about the difficulty of being both Prime Minister and Finance Minister at the same time, he said that he had adequate support to hold down both those portfolios. Najib agreed with the Attorney General when he asked if his modest RM1 million salary was a sacrifice for the nation. The whole thing relates to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), the sovereign wealth fund of the nation which had been in the middle of a massive scam.
However, related to the sackings of Tan Sri Muhyiddin and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, both of whom had publicly spoken about the scam. When it was stated that he had sacked the deputy prime minister, Najib stated that he had not wielded his power indiscriminately. He went on to state, “I sacked them because they made statements in public when it should have been done in Cabinet.”