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Najib taken to hospital after testing positive for COVID-19

ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES – Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak has been warded at Hospital Kuala Lumpur (HKL) after testing positive for COVID-19, said his special officer yesterday.

His admission was confirmed by Health Minister Zaliha Mustafa, who however, declined to disclose Najib’s treatment or condition due to “patient confidentiality”.

Earlier, the special officer, Mukhlis Maghribi, said Najib was sent to HKL on Tuesday after he complained about feeling feverish.

“After being checked by specialists, Najib was found to have COVID-19,” said Mukhlis.

He said Najib is currently in stable condition while being quarantined and treated at HKL.

Malaysia’s former prime minister Najib Razak. PHOTO: THE STRAITS TIMES

“Representing Najib’s family, we would like to thank the Kajang Prison and HKL for swiftly giving treatment to Najib,” added Mukhlis.

Najib is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence at Kajang prison in Selangor after being convicted of abuse of power, money laundering and criminal breach of trust involving a subsidiary of state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

US and Malaysian investigators estimate some USD4.5 billion was stolen from 1MDB – co-founded by Najib during his first year as prime minister in 2009 – and that more than USD1 billion went to accounts linked to Najib.

Various recipients of the siphoned 1MDB funds used the money to buy luxury assets and real estate, a Picasso painting, a private jet, a super yacht, hotels, jewellery, and to finance the 2013 Hollywood film The Wolf Of Wall Street, investigators have said.

Najib has always maintained his innocence. He was convicted first in 2020 and started his prison term in August 2022 when Malaysia’s top court rejected his final appeal, becoming the first premier in the country’s history to be jailed.

Since then, Najib has been in and out of hospital for several issues, including stomach ulcers and high blood pressure.

Najib has applied for a royal pardon, which, if granted, could see him serving a shorter sentence. He also faces other trials on corruption charges.