KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Bahrain-born banker who founded Malaysia’s fifth-largest bank was shot to death in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian police said Tuesday, fueling concerns about rising crime in the Southeast Asian country.
The death of Hussain Ahmad Najadi, 75, marked the third attack on high-profile figures in the past few months. A senior customs official was gunned down in April, while an anti-crime activist is fighting for his life after being shot last week by unknown assailants.
Najadi and his wife were walking to their car in a parking lot in Kuala Lumpur after an afternoon business meeting when they were attacked from behind, said city crime investigation deputy chief Khairi Ahrasa.
He said Najadi, a permanent Malaysia resident, was shot twice in the chest and died on the spot, while his Malaysian wife, 49, suffered serious injuries.
Preliminary investigations showed the gunman and two other accomplices fled in a taxi, Khairi said. He added that the killing could be business-related.
Najadi founded the Arab Malaysian Banking Group in 1975 before selling it seven years later. The group later changed its name to AMMB Holdings Berhad, and it is the country’s fifth-largest in terms of market value.
Najadi’s son, Pascal Najadi, expressed shock over his father’s killing in broad daylight.
“This is not the Malaysia my father knew and loved, and the whole world will be watching to see how the authorities handle this case,” The Star newspaper quoted him as saying in a phone interview from Moscow.
Opposition lawmaker Lim Kit Siang said the killings threatened to damage Malaysia’s reputation. He said Malaysians have long complained about rising thefts and robberies, but crime now appears to be getting worse.
“It is really worrying for all Malaysians. The government must make fighting crime a top priority and band all resources to make the country safe again,” he said.