Political Privilege: Malaysia ex-PM Najib fined for breaking virus rules at an eatery

Najib was quick to admit his misdemeanour at the eatery in Kuala Lumpur amid the pandemic [File: Mohd Rasfan/AFP]

Former Malaysian leader Najib Razak, who has been convicted over the mammoth 1MDB scandal, is in trouble with the law again – this time for breaking coronavirus rules in a restaurant.

He has been fined 3,000 Malaysian ringgit ($730) for failing to register at the eatery or have his temperature taken, police said. The penalty was announced late on Thursday.

It came after footage circulated on social media showing the ex-prime minister flouting the rules in March at a Kuala Lumpur restaurant that sells a traditional chicken and rice dish.

While Najib still denies any involvement in the 1MDB fraud, over which he has been sentenced to 12 years in jail, he was quick to admit his misdemeanour at the eatery.

The 67-year-old, who remains free on bail while he appeals the 1MDB conviction, used the incident to highlight other cases in which politicians allegedly broke the rules.

These include an incident when ministers allegedly travelled illegally to another part of the country to attend a wedding.

“Myself and the man on the street are investigated by police and fined by the government,” Najib posted on Facebook. “But I don’t know (if this will happen), if government ministers contravene the rules.”

The restaurant owner was also fined 10,000 ringgit ($2,428) for failing to ensure Najib followed the regulations.

Last month Najib revealed he is facing bankruptcy for allegedly failing to pay more than $400mn in taxes, which could lead to him losing his seat in parliament.

Malaysia is facing an escalating virus outbreak, and this week introduced new curbs in Kuala Lumpur and several other areas.

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