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Malaysian government to address Najib funds scandal next month

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Malaysia's parliamentarians will get answers to questions on a funding scandal surrounding Prime Minister Najib Razak on the last day before the legislature goes on hiatus.

[KUALA LUMPUR] Malaysia's parliamentarians will get answers to questions on a funding scandal surrounding Prime Minister Najib Razak on the last day before the legislature goes on hiatus.

Mr Najib will either respond to questions himself on Dec 3 or appoint a representative to do so, according to Jeevaratnam Pillay, a press officer to a minister in the Prime Minister's Department.

Opposition lawmakers and some in Mr Najib's own party have questioned how hundreds of millions of dollars in political donations ended up in the premier's private accounts before a general election in 2013.

The Wall Street Journal reported on July 3 that about US$700 million may have moved through government agencies and state- linked companies to accounts bearing Mr Najib's name before the 2013 vote. The premier has denied taking money for personal gain and has described the furor as part of a campaign to remove him from office.

Mr Najib has acknowledged the money was in his accounts but said it was political donations from the Middle East, an initial conclusion also reached by the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission. The accounts have since been closed. The receipt of political funds was to meet the needs of the party and the community and wasn't a new practice, the official Bernama news agency reported in August, citing Najib.

The four-month old case has fueled political tensions, prompting Mr Najib to reshuffle his cabinet to remove detractors including his deputy. Thousands of anti-government protesters rallied in August in the capital and the opposition People's Justice Party filed a no-confidence motion last month, saying Najib failed to address claims he received funds linked to debt- ridden state investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd.

BLOOMBERG