WCEF: Najib brushes off tycoon Lee Kim Yew’s embarrassment

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Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak has brushed off a tycoon’s embarrassment over his appearance at the World Chinese Economic Forum (WCEF) yesterday.

Malaysiakini

Instead, Najib implied that property magnate Lee Kim Yew was “not satisfied” because of the latter’s links to Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He furnished Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) records showing that Lee and Mahathir were partners in the Palace of the Golden Horses hotel and private jet company Flyjet.

Yesterday, Najib delivered the keynote address at the WCEF. He was also the guest of honour during the gala dinner and award ceremony.

Lee, who was among the WCEF’s founders, said having the former premier involved was a “huge embarrassment”. However, he noted that he was no longer associated with the forum.

“It is true that the initial WCEF was founded by me in 2009 and this forum was first hosted in the Palace of the Golden Horses supported by Michael Yeoh, after a few years.

“The name of the forum has since been changed to the World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES) and this year to GCET.

“‘I have come to know that the organisers of the Dec 27 event have been using the WCEF name and some of our photos in China from two years ago and calling it the 11th WCEF. This will surely cause confusion,” he said.

Lim also said the organisers of the summit should not have named the event the 11th WCEF and criticised the organisers for inviting Najib to speak at the event.

“They invited the former prime minister to that forum, a convicted criminal awaiting the outcome of an appeal. But l need to make my stand clear – we must respect the judiciary and uphold the rule of law in Malaysia.

“To involve him in this ‘new’ WCEF is a huge embarrassment to me when being confronted by friends asking if I invited (the) former prime minister to officiate the 11th WCEF.”

Meanwhile, WCEF invited Najib as a keynote speaker because of his commitment to Malaysia-China bilateral relations.

WCEF chairperson Cheah Chyuan Yong said Najib’s conviction by the High Court over the SRC International affair was not considered by the forum organisers.

“When Najib was prime minister for nine years, China-Malaysia relations were very strong, especially on the economic side,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the forum.

Moreover, he said Najib’s father and second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein, laid the foundations for bilateral ties between the two countries.

He said Najib’s invitation was sent out before the Dec 8 Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the High Court’s verdict to convict Najib.