Kuala Lumpur: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor have been blacklisted from leaving the country, immigration authorities said on Saturday.
The statement by the Malaysian Immigration Department was issued moments after the scandal-plagued former prime minister said on Facebook that he and his family were taking a post-election holiday overseas starting from Saturday and would return next week.
Najib said on his Twitter account he would respect the government ban on him leaving the country.
“I have been informed that the Immigration Department does not allow me and my family to go abroad. I respect the direction and will remain with the family in the country,” Najib wrote.
Saya telah membuat keputusan untuk meletakkan jawatan sebagai Presiden UMNO dan Pengerusi Barisan Nasional dengan serta merta agar proses pemulihan boleh dilaksanakan oleh kepimpinan baru. https://t.co/skBSfLCxlK
— Mohd Najib Tun Razak (@NajibRazak) May 12, 2018
The prohibition from travelling came as a speculation mounted that Najib and Rosmah, a hugely unpopular figure due to her reported love of luxury shopping trips, were about to board a flight to fly to Indonesia.
Later on Saturday, Najib announced he was quitting as head of the Barisan Nasional coalition and its main party after leading the coalition to a shock loss in Wednesday’s parliamentary elections.
“I have taken the decision to step down as president of UMNO and chairman of Barisan Nasional immediately,” he told a press conference.
The United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) is the main party in the coalition.
Najib faces being investigated by the incoming government over a corruption scandal at Malaysia’s state-owned investment fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), from which officials are alleged to have stolen more than $4.5bn. Najib was accused of diverting $700million from the state fund (1MDB) into his personal bank account in 2015.
After his defeat, speculation mounted the pair might flee the country as former strongman Premier Mahathir Mohamad, who beat him in the elections, has pledged to probe a massive scandal in which Najib is implicated concerning the theft of billions of dollars of state funds.
Najib lost the general election to an alliance headed by Mahathir because of the 1MDB scandal.