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‘I was told to leave M’sia amid 1MDB probe’

KUALA LUMPUR (June 21): Former SRC International Sdn Bhd director Datuk Suboh Mohd Yassin told the High Court yesterday that he was directed to leave the country at the height of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) scandal in 2015.

Suboh, who was appointed by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to the board of SRC, formerly a subsidiary of 1MDB, said he was told to do so to avoid investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

The 68-year-old added that at the time, he was prepared to surrender to the MACC and tell whatever he knew as SRC had become a “hot issue” in connection with the 1MDB scandal.

Suboh said he, however, was unable to make his move to the MACC office as he was intercepted in the final minute by a call from an unknown individual who claimed to be from the anti-graft agency.

“I got a call from a person claiming to be from the MACC. He said, ‘Datuk, [you] don’t need to come. Just go away,’” Suboh said, adding that he could not recognise the voice and the person also did not introduce himself.

He said the man told him not to visit the MACC and instead instructed him to leave Malaysia.

“Do you know [his] ethnicity?” deputy public prosecutor Datuk Ishak Mohd Yusoff asked.

“He spoke in Malay,” Suboh replied.

Suboh further admitted that he felt scared at the time as Najib was still in power. “I did not know what will happen to me and my family, and so I ran away to Bangkok for about a month. I bore all the expenses in Bangkok myself,” he added.

Ishak: Why did you say you were scared? Did he (Najib) threaten you?

Suboh: I was told during the call by [former SRC chief executive officer] Nik Faisal [Ariff Kamil] that [all] SRC matters involve Datuk Seri Najib.

Ishak: Then, what happened in Bangkok?

Suboh: I met with a Thai man who gave tickets for my wife and me to fly to Abu Dhabi. In Abu Dhabi, I was brought to [the] Rosewood [hotel] and stayed there for about a week. All the costs of the flights and accommodation were taken care of for me, but I am not aware of who bore the costs.

After Abu Dhabi, Suboh took a flight back to Bangkok and returned to Malaysia. It was not stated by him when this took place.

“When I returned, Nik Faisal gave me a call and ordered me to once again leave Malaysia to avoid investigation. [But this time,] I decided not to run away and stayed in Malaysia to assist with the investigation,” he said.

When asked by Ishak when he received the call from Nik Faisal, Suboh said it was some time after the election.

However, he did not indicate whether he was referring to the 14th general election (GE14) or a by-election.

When met by reporters later, prosecutor Datuk V Sithambaram confirmed that Suboh was referring to GE14 on May 9 last year.

It is understood that the prosecution will ask Suboh further about this issue when the trial resumes on July 1.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on June 21, 2019.

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