Malaysia’s Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, right, shakes hands with former opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim following his release from custody at National Palace in Kuala Lumpur. (Department of Information via AFP)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Malaysia’s Anwar says Najib likely headed to jail

KUALA LUMPUR: Newly released Malaysian political heavyweight Anwar Ibrahim said Thursday he expects ex-premier Najib Razak to be jailed over multi-billion-dollar graft claims.
In an interview with AFP a day after he walked free from custody — where he had languished since 2015 on what supporters say were trumped-up charges levelled at Najib’s behest — Anwar also said he would be back in parliament very soon.
“Give me a few months, I should be back as an MP. It is the correct thing to do,” he said.
Anwar’s release on Wednesday capped an astonishing week in Malaysian politics that saw Najib’s long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition booted from power in a revolution at the ballot box.
The election dramatically reversed Anwar’s fortunes, from prisoner to presumptive successor to 92-year-old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
It also imperiled Najib, who Anwar said now faces an “arduous” legal battle — without the protection of high office.
Accused of overseeing the plundering of state fund 1MDB, Najib’s position has looked increasingly precarious. Police carried out extensive searches of his home overnight.
Anwar predicted that Najib would likely take up the spot he had just vacated in prison.
“He will certainly be charged,” he said.
Anwar declined to say how he thought Najib’s case would play out, as it depended on “how he can defend himself in court.”
But Anwar added: “It will be very difficult for him to escape (going to) prison.”
Mahathir, who came out of retirement to lead the revolt against Najib, has vowed to hand power to Anwar within two years.
The younger man’s return to politics has been the subject of much speculation and he confirmed he would be seeking to contest a by-election to return as an MP soon — but would not seek a position on the front benches just yet.
“I am not intending to join the cabinet,” he said he had told Mahathir.


Rescuers hunt for victims of ferry disaster on Indonesian supervolcano lake

The wooden tourist ferry sank in rough weather on Lake Toba on Sumatra island on Monday. (REUTERS)
Updated 50 min 58 sec ago
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Rescuers hunt for victims of ferry disaster on Indonesian supervolcano lake

  • The scenic lake, with an area of about 1,145 square km (450 square miles), has an island in the middle where tourists visit, from which ferries run back and forth
  • Ferry accidents are common in Indonesia, a vast archipelago, especially during the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Fitr

TIGARAS PORT, Indonesia: The search for victims of a ferry that sank in the lake of an ancient supervolcano crater in Indonesia will resume on Wednesday with divers and an underwater drone to scour the depths for at least 128 missing passengers.
The wooden tourist ferry sank in rough weather on Lake Toba on Sumatra island on Monday. Eighteen survivors were found that evening, but only one body was recovered, and a day long search on Tuesday was suspended having failed to account for any more.
One survivor, Widya, said her family died when the boat was hit by strong waves.
“There were at least five couples with two children each. I wish I had died with my family, but I didn’t,” she told Metro TV in tears.
Transportation minister Budi Karya said a team of investigators was looking into the cause of the accident.
“We believe there was a waterspout that generated strong winds and waves that destabilized the boat and caused a panic,” he told reporters.
Authorities were still trying to confirm the total number of passengers, but said at least 128 people were missing, including many children.
The ferry had capacity for 60 passengers but was overloaded and also carrying dozens of motorcycles, said Sri Hardianto, an transport ministry official.
Video footage taken from another ferry showed life jackets being thrown to a dozen or more people in the water. There was no sign of the stricken ferry apart from what looked like an oil slick.
“We’ve asked for a remote underwater vehicle (to locate the sunken vessel) and the help of special land, sea, and air crews,” Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search and rescue agency, told reporters.
Divers were also being sent to search for victims, according to another SAR official Budiawan.
Lake Toba fills the caldera of a giant volcano that erupted some 75,000 years ago — one of the world’s biggest eruptions which left behind a 450-meter (1,500 feet) deep lake.
The scenic lake, with an area of about 1,145 square km (450 square miles), has an island in the middle where tourists visit, from which ferries run back and forth.
There was no word on whether any foreign tourists were among the missing.
The transport minister said investigators would check whether the doomed boat had been equipped with life jackets and whether they had been used.
“The responsible parties should face sanctions in accordance with the law,” he said.
Ferry accidents are common in Indonesia, a vast archipelago, especially during the Islamic holiday of Eid Al-Fitr, which fell last week, when millions of people travel by land, sea and air to their hometowns after the fasting month of Ramadan.