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Malaysia's Najib quits as head of coalition, party after poll loss

Malaysia's Najib quits as head of coalition, party after poll loss

Ousted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday that he and his family would respect an immigration department ban on his travel overseas and stay in the country.

The statement by Malaysian immigration department was issued moments after the scandal-plagued former prime minister said in a Facebook post he and his family were taking a holiday overseas starting on Saturday and would return next week.

Later yesterday, Najib - who has been under growing pressure from inside his Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition since the landslide loss - announced he was quitting as head of BN as well as its main party. "I respect the directive and will remain with my family in the country".

In a historic election earlier this week, Mr. Razak's Barisan Nasional coalition, which has been in power since Malaysia's independence in 1957, lost to the Pakatan Harapan coalition led by Mahathir Mohamad, who has taken office as Prime Minister.

A former prime minister for 22 years, Mahathir returned to politics after a feud with Najib over the 1MDB scandal, and teamed up with an opposition alliance including former foe Anwar Ibrahim.

Mahathir also said Saturday that the future of jailed opposition leader Anwar, whose support in the opposition coalition helped oust Najib, would be determined by the party.

"There is sufficient evidence for an investigation into things done by the former PM, if necessary the rule of law will apply", said Mahathir.

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"We are not seeking revenge", the 92-year-old prime minister said.

Najib has denied wrongdoing and Malaysia's attorney-general has cleared him of any offence, saying the funds were a legitimate donation from the Saudi royal family.

U.S. investigators said Mr Najib's associates stole and looted 4.5 billion United States dollars from the fund, of which some 700 million USA dollars landed in Mr Najib's bank account and some 30 million United States dollars was used to buy jewellery for his wife.

Earlier, dozens of people - mostly journalists - gathered at an airport near Kuala Lumpur from where Najib and his wife were reported to be leaving for the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, and tried to look into cars entering the complex.

Najib said in a tweet he had been informed of the move. I apologise for any shortcomings and mistakes, and I thank you, the people, for the opportunity to lead our great nation.

"This process has certain rules and regulations that we have to adhere to", Mahathir said.

The lawmaker said a key reason for declaring the public holidays was so that Mahathir could announce key ministerial positions and name the new adviser before trading started on Monday in an effort to reassure global investors that his government was off to a solid start.

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