The first interview that Najib Razak has given to foreign media in three years.
On BN’s performance in 2018 Election:
“There is no movement for changing the government. I don’t see that…We are reasonably sanguine about the result”
“Expecting a better result than in 2013…the opposition is a motley collection of parties that don’t have much in common. They have been derisive against each other for decades.”
On why UMNO lost the popular vote in 2013:
“The call for change from urban Chinese who believed change is possible. Today they know change is not possible so the euphoria has subsided. Confidence level in a coalition between enemies for decades is a hard sell. And a 93 year old man trying to lead this coalition is a hard sell.”
“Even during difficult times the party (UMNO) stood by me. Support base is strong. UMNO is more united today than ever before. That’s why we have that sense of that we’re moving forward politically, economically, socially.”
On whether his opponents underestimate him:
“I may appear to be mild in my temperament but i have a strong resilience in me.”
On his mission:
“I believe in what I am doing. I believe what I am doing is good for the country. And I believe i have to continue with my mission and I believe that if the people support me we will scale even greater heights. That’s really what i believe inside me and there is nothing my opponents can do to deter me from that mission.
What went wrong with 1MDB:
“The business model was not that sustainable. It was essentially a business issue that was turned into a political issue.”
What do you say to those who say you’ve acted dishonestly with the funds
“There is no evidence of that. You cannot just accuse somebody of being a thief unless there is evidence. They couldn’t find any evidence of wrongdoing. So that is a politically motivated statement.”
On the donation of $600 million to his personal account from Saudi Arabia
“It’s been cleared. There has been no wrongdoing. I stand by it that there was no wrongdoing. The Saudi government has come out with a statement admitting that it is an official donation. The facts speak for themselves.
What would he have done differently (with 1MDB):
“Probably not had that kind of business model. Make sure tighter supervision. But we all learn from our mistakes. That should not detract from the successes in other areas.
On whether the United States Department of Justice should drop its investigation
“We are willing to cooperate with them. Our opponents influenced [the Department of Justice] in many ways. But as long as the investigation is done fairly and according to international protocol we are willing to cooperate.”
What has been your darkest moment?
“The barbed criticism were very unfair and baseless. But that his his [Mahathir] style. He will push it to the extreme. So it’s nothing new. My record as Prime Minister stands. YOu can go back to his 22 years and make the necessary conclusion.”