Malaysia

BN MPs defend Najib over son-in-law conman allegations

By Shannon Teoh and Debra Chong
June 13, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Barisan Nasional (BN) lawmakers rushed today to the defence of Datuk Seri Najib Razak's family after court papers in the United States alleged his future son-in-law fudged academic credentials to enter Columbia University and cheated his former stepfather of a RM60 million home.

The MPs dismissed the allegations as having nothing to do with Najib's leadership of Malaysia.

Yesterday, several foreign newspapers including the New York Post reported that Daniyar Nazarbayev was being sued for cheating his former stepfather, the brother of Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev, and for fudging his records to gain entrance into the presitigious Columbia University.

The 24-year-old Kazakh had celebrated his engagement to Najib's daughter and college sweetheart, Nooryana Najwa, in a glittering ceremony here in June last year.

But MPs from the ruling coalition told The Malaysian Insider the allegations were a "private matter" and would not affect the BN chief's ability to govern.

"The perception from the public can be harsh, whether the claims are true or not.

"But it is a personal family thing which does not affect his ability as PM. It shouldn't distract from his strengths," said Parti Pusaka Bumiputera Bersatu supreme council member Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi.

Senior Sabah Umno MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin also said "this is a separate matter from governance and has nothing to do with his leadership."

"Najib knows what to do and would already have done his homework on the future son-in-law," the BN backbenchers deputy chief said.

The New York Post had cited court papers filed by Bolat Nazarbayez in New York accusing Daniyar of cheating the former out of a US$20 million condominium home on Wall Street besides landing in the top-rated university using “fraudulent and fabricated” paperwork from a high school in Kazakhstan he did not attend.

Daniyar, who is said to have met Nooryana in Columbia, graduated from the Ivy League institution in 2010.

The daily also reported that Daniyar's mother, Maira, had changed his surname from Kesikbayev to Nazarbayev to match the Kazakh president's after marrying Bolat in 2001.

Despite widespread searches in five countries including Malaysia, Daniyar has been reported missing. Similar reports were also published in the UK's Daily Mail and international news agency UPI.

This is not the first time Najib's ties with Kazakhstan have come under the spotlight. Indonesia’s top newspaper, Kompas, had alleged in August last year that Maira had links to the Russian mafia.

“Maira Nazarbayev, who lives a lifestyle a la Imelda Marcos supposedly has links to the Russian mafia,” the paper had said in a column published on August 4, 2011.

However, the newspaper did not substantiate its claims. Najib denied the allegation and the newspaper has also apologised for the article.