An angry crowd gathered outside Subang Airport in hopes of “catching’ Najib and Rosmah as they planned to leave the country.
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confirmed today that he and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah have been barred from leaving the country.
He said in a tweet: “I have been informed that the Immigration Department has not allowed me and my family to leave the country. I respect the order and will remain in the country with my family.”
The Immigration Department had also said in a Facebook posting at 11.30am that Najib and Rosmah had just been placed on the blacklist of those barred from leaving the country.
The director-general of Immigration, Mustafar Ali, told Bernama: “Yes, confirmed (Facebook posting)…correct. That is the latest announcement from the Immigration Department.”
A private flight that was scheduled to depart from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport for Jakarta at 10am was cancelled, following the appearance of a mob earlier.
Some 100 people gathered outside the airport at about 9.30am today, waiting for the arrival of Najib and Rosmah who were to fly on a private jet operated by Premiair and owned by Indonesia’s 14th richest man and head of PT Rajawali Corp, Tan Sri Peter Sondakh, to Jakarta.
The Indonesian tycoon was involved in the controversial sale of a 37 percent stake in Eagle High Plantations to Felda for US$505.4 million last year.
This came after a flight itinerary was leaked online, which showed that the couple was scheduled to depart from the airport to Jakarta at 10am today, sparking fear that the duo was about to flee the country.
Yesterday, Najib had tweeted that he will be taking a short break to spend time with his family.
He also apologised to Malaysians for his shortcomings and mistakes.
At the airport, the situation became tense when a white Toyota Velfire with heavily-tinted windows and no road tax sticker arrived at the airport’s Post 6 at 9.30am, which is the gate that leads directly to the airport’s Skypark Business Aviation Centre.
The multiracial crowd surrounded the vehicle, blocking its passage. They demanded to see the occupants within and tried to peer through the heavily-tinted windows.
One man who banged on the car was heard shouting that the people had the right to know who was entering the airport premises.
“We’ve waited 61 years for a change. We have the right to know who is in these cars coming in. We want to know if it’s Najib!” he demanded.
The man refused to give his name when approached by reporters later, only saying he was a Subang Jaya resident.
All the while, police attempted to maintain order and press photographers jostled for shots.
A light strike force unit was also deployed to stand guard at the gate.
After several minutes, one of the car windows briefly wound down to reveal former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and Perlis BN chief Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim, who was promptly let through the gate along with another vehicle that appeared to carry only its driver.
It was learnt that Shahidan was scheduled to fly back to his hometown.
The police left the scene at about 10.15am. The light strike force departed 10 minutes later, after which the crowd dispersed.
Earlier, Malaysiakini reported that Najib and Rosmah were blacklisted by the Immigration Department but the restrictions seemed to have been subsequently removed.
Its check conducted on the Immigration Department’s Travel Status Enquiry System (SSPI) at 5.30am on the couple showed “Sila rujuk ke pejabat imigresen terdekat” (Please refer to the nearest immigration office) in red letters, indicating they were barred from travel.
A check at 9.18am now showed “Tiada halangan” (No obstacle) in green letters, indicating they were not blacklisted.
When contacted by the news portal, Immigration Department director-general Mustafar Ali allegedly said in a text message, “Not blacklisted for now.”
According to Malaysiakini, he refused to elaborate when pressed for further information on why their statuses were initially different.
In the latest twist, the Immigration Department posted on its Facebook page that Najib and Rosmah are indeed on its travel blacklist.
Earlier today, the Wall Street Journal, quoting sources close to Mahathir, said measures have been put in place to prevent Najib and Rosmah from leaving the country.
Mahathir yesterday announced plans to reopen investigations into 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) that is the brainchild of Najib.
Malaysiakini revealed that it also ran checks on several other key personalities in the 1MDB matter, including businessperson Low Taek Jho and 1MDB chairperson Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
None of them was blacklisted at time of checking.