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Umno polls historic, ensures party remains relevant: Ahmad Zahid

03 July 2018

Najib quit as Umno president days later, and now faces an anti-graft probe over allegations that billions of dollars were looted from sovereign wealth fund 1MDB.

The freezing of the accounts has raised more questions about the fate of UMNO, which has been the party of all but one of Malaysia's prime ministers.

Former deputy prime minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has an appointment today with Malaysia's anti-graft investigators, who are keen to seek his explanation on the alleged use of funds belonging to a foundation, sources told The Star newspaper.

Several UMNO lawmakers have quit the party since the election, and it has also been abandoned by most of its coalition partners.

US authorities say over $4.5 billion was misappropriated from 1MDB, and that almost $700 million from the fund was diverted into the former premier's personal bank accounts.

Earlier this week, police said almost $275 million worth of jewelry, handbags, watches and other items were found at premises linked to Najib and his family.

Cash in 26 currencies was confiscated, besides 25 bags of gold, 12,000 items of jewellery, 567 luxury handbags, 423 watches and 234 sunglasses in the largest seizure in the probe so far, authorities said.

A 1MDB taskforce set up by the government this week said 408 bank accounts involving funds of almost 1.1 billion ringgit had been frozen.

Malaysia reopened investigations into 1MDB last month after a shock win by Mahathir Mohamad's alliance, which defeated an UMNO-led coalition that had governed the country for over 60 years until last month.

AP reported Lim saying current Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had made a decision to come out of retirement and partner with his former political rivals, with the 2015 allegations that US$700 million of 1MDB money had been deposited into Najib's accounts being the "game changer" resulting in what many saw as an unexpected political alliance.

Late on Thursday, state news agency Bernama reported Mahathir as saying Najib will be prosecuted soon.

Umno polls historic, ensures party remains relevant: Ahmad Zahid