KUALA LUMPUR,. DAP stalwart Lim Kit Siang backed the Umno-owned Utusan Malaysia today over its editors’ criticism of Datuk Seri Najib Razak as dishonest in the 1MDB corruption scandal.
Amid attacks by Umno leaders against the broadsheet seen as the party’s mouthpiece, Lim said Utusan’s editors correctly noticed Najib never publicly expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia over the US$681 million (RM2.84 billion) that he claimed was a donation from one of the country’s princes.
“This had provoked Awang Selamat to refer to the old story which said that not all thieves are liars, but all liars will always steal!” Lim said in a statement today.
“Let Najib reply to Utusan Malaysia and every Opposition MP take a stand on the latest Utusan position on Najib when Parliament reconvenes next week.”
Utusan’s editors anonymously penned an unusually audacious editorial on Sunday telling Najib to apologise for misappropriating billions of 1MDB funds.
Najib previously maintained that the US$681 million was a donation from Arab royals, but has since been forced to concede in public interviews that the money could have come from 1MDB.
His defence now is that he “assumed” at the time that the money was genuinely from an Arab prince.
This did not stop Umno’s former propaganda chief Datuk Puad Zarkashi from attacking Utusan Melayu Bhd executive chairman Datuk Aziz Sheikh Fadzir over the curious Awang Selamat editorial and calling for a boycott of the financially-distressed publisher.
Najib is currently on trial for 38 charges of money laundering, corruption and criminal breach of trust over funds linked to 1MDB and a former subsidiary.