A political storm in Malaysia over $675m deposited in the personal bank account of Prime Minister Najib Razak has taken a new twist after the country’s anti-corruption commission said the money came from an unnamed donor, not a state investment fund. According to the commission, the money did not come from 1Malaysia Development Berhad, a state investment fund that has racked up debts of $11bn and whose advisory board is chaired by the premier. The commission said that payments totalling 2.6bn ringgit ($675m) were found in the premier’s accounts, but said its investigation revealed the money was a “donor’s contribution”. It did not elaborate on either the identity of the donor nor the reason that the funds were deposited into the prime minister’s personal account.
The commission said its investigation was independent and transparent, and called on the public to be patient and avoid speculating about the final outcome. Its finding offered some relief to Mr Razak. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that investigators probing 1MDB had linked payments from the fund to Mr Najib. Mr Najib has denied taking money for personal gain and has attacked the claims as politically motivated. But Mr Najib’s critics, many of whom have called for his resignation, ridiculed the commission’s finding. “The country [is] being seized by a madness,” Lim Kit Siang, parliamentary leader from the opposition Democratic Action party, told Reuters. “Malaysians must face up to one and only one issue — for Prime Minister Najib Razak to convince Malaysians and the world of his innocence and moral authority to continue to lead Malaysia.”