Najib says 2014 golf game with Obama in Hawaii to form rapport with ‘most powerful man on Earth’

Kenneth Tee
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is seen at the Kuala Lumpur High Court December 10, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 10 ― On trial for power abuse, Datuk Seri Najib Razak today justified going golfing with then US president Barack Obama in December 2014 as a chance for him to establish close ties with the world’s most powerful man.

Testifying in his own defence on seven charges for the misappropriation of RM42 million belonging to SRC International Sdn Bhd, the former prime minister said even sharing the same golf buggy with the US president was beneficial for Malaysia.

“To be in the same golf buggy with the US president is good for the country's interest.

“I wanted to establish a personal relationship with the most powerful man on Earth and I had the opportunity,” he said in the witness stand.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and US President Barack Obama get in their golf cart after playing on the 18th green at the Clipper Golf course in Hawaii, December 24, 2014. — Reuters pic

Najib and Obama spent five hours together on the golf course at the Marine Corps base at Kanehoe Bay on Christmas Eve of that year.

Around the same time, the east coast of Malaysia, especially in the PAS-led state of Kelantan, was inundated by the worst flooding in decades.

“That is why I waited until after the golf session to make arrangements (to return home),” Najib told the High Court today, adding that the game between the top leaders were pre-arranged.

The Pekan MP testified that he took a commercial flight to Los Angeles before taking another flight to Hong Kong and finally boarding a Royal Malaysian Airforce plane to fly directly to the Kelantan capital of Kota Baru, which was also flooded.

Najib is testifying as the first witness in his defence of seven charges related to SRC International Sdn Bhd.

Three are for criminal breach of trust over a total RM42 million of SRC International funds while entrusted with its control as the prime minister and finance minister then, three more are for laundering the RM42 million, and the last is for abusing the same positions for self-gratification of the same sum.

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