SINGAPORE: Malaysia’s prisons department claimed a video of former Prime Minister Najib Razak that aired on national television on Monday (Oct 24) was recorded before he was imprisoned.
“The Malaysia Prisons Department would like to make it clear that no media agency filmed a video with Dato’ Seri Najib on jail premises, as has been alleged,” it wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
The film was recorded by Radio Television Malaysia (RTM) before Najib was imprisoned, according to the statement, and was part of an episode for a series called “Kembara Keluarga Malaysia” (Malaysia Family Travels), which included sites of importance in Malaysia.
The broadcast, which aired on TV1, discussed the history and background of the city of Pekan, Pahang, and was “not related to politics,” according to the department.
The remark came after several netizens questioned if the video was shot on jail grounds.
Najib, the former Pekan MP, is serving a 12-year sentence in prison after the Federal Court affirmed his conviction and sentence in a corruption case involving a former 1MDB entity, SRC International.
On October 11, the Public Prosecutions Department stated that Najib will not be allowed to campaign during this year’s general election while he is still serving his sentence.
In August, it also disputed rumors that Najib was given preferential treatment while serving his term, after a screenshot of a message went viral on social media saying that he had not been housed in a jail cell.
The TV1 video, which features aerial vistas of Pekan, shows Najib sitting on a chair and presenting the city as an educational, royal, and historical institution.
As photographs of their family and Najib helping the community are presented, a narrator claims the city has produced two prime ministers: Najib and his father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
Nizar, Najib’s eldest son, also appears in the film, sparking rumors that he may run as Barisan Nasional’s Pekan candidate in the 2018 elections. Malaysian media, on the other hand, has stated that no decision has been taken.
Netizens were unimpressed with the RTM piece, with one, @The Mamu, tweeting that Najib appeared to be campaigning and not in prison. The post has been retweeted over 7,000 times.