Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had looked to Chinese government-linked companies to bail out 1MDB when it was saddled with debts, the High Court heard today.
Najib’s former special officer Amhari Efendi Nazaruddin said Najib had given him a secret assignment to “confirm diplomatic and investment ties between both countries” ahead of the then prime minister’s visit to China in 2016.
“He ordered me to go to China to confirm the cooperation between both countries,” Amhari said, adding that he grudgingly agreed as it was a directive from his boss.
The witness testified that Najib had told him and Low to cut infrastructure deals involving rail and gas pipelines with China’s state-owned enterprises.
The projects included a proposed Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail, a petroleum pipeline from Port Klang to Kuala Kedah, the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), the Trans-Sabah Gas Pipeline, the Multi-Product Pipeline (MPP) and the development of federal territory Labuan into an offshore banking and tourism hub.
Amhari added that he was under severe pressure and had thought of resigning as the order was a burden, especially when his immediate superior Azlin Alias had recently died in a helicopter crash.
Azlin was also the principal private secretary and confidante of Najib, especially on 1MDB matters.
Amhari, the eighth prosecution witness, said he was worried that he would be a pawn in Najib and Jho Low’s game of chess as they were trying to cover up money lost in 1MDB ventures.
“This was especially as 1MBD could not settle its dues with Abu Dhabi-based International Petroleum Investment Co and the sourcing of political funds,” he said.
Moreover, the witness said he could not disobey Najib’s orders as this could result in untold misery to him and his family.
He said Jho Low was also in China to join in the discussion with Chinese officials.
“It appeared that Low had earlier discussed the terms with the Chinese officials,” he said, adding that the talks centred around the involvement of Chinese government-linked companies to bail out 1MDB from its debts.