KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Tuesday urged investors to move on from a multi-billion-dollar graft scandal at state fund 1MDB that has weighed on southeast Asia’s third-largest economy, saying the country is now “stronger than ever”.
The call comes a day after the International Monetary Fund upgraded its 2017 growth forecast for Malaysia to 4.8 percent from 4.5 percent, following better-than-expected first quarter annual growth of 5.6 percent, the quickest in two years.
Najib - Demands - Years - Involvement - Scandal
Najib has resisted demands to step down over the last two years for his involvement in the scandal at 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), following reports that more than $700 million was deposited in his personal bank account.
Najib has denied any wrongdoing. The fund is the subject of money laundering investigations in at least six other countries. In civil lawsuits, the U.S. Justice Department alleged that about $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB.
Lapses - Governance - Najib - Fund - Managers
“At 1MDB it is now clear there were lapses in governance,” Najib told fund managers, industrialists and investors in a speech at the Invest Malaysia conference in the capital, Kuala Lumpur.
“However, rather than bury our heads in the sand, we ordered investigations into the company at a scale unprecedented in our nation’s history.”
Government - Investigation - Najib - Offence - Rationalization
A government investigation cleared Najib of any offence. A rationalization drive Najib kicked off at 1MDB, to sell its assets or move them to other state entities, is progressing well, he added.
But the prime minister’s popularity also took a beating over allegations by his critics of mismanaging the economy, and the 2015 adoption of a new good and...
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"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into"--Jonathan Swift