Malaysian police are hunting three suspected contract killers after Hussain Ahmad Najadi, the 75-year-old founder of AMMB Holdings Bhd. (AMM), was shot dead in Kuala Lumpur yesterday after a business meeting at a temple.
The Bahrain-born businessman was gunned down near a parking lot outside the Kuan Yin Temple while walking with Cheong Mei Kuen, his 49-year-old Malaysian wife, Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Mohmad Salleh told reporters in the capital today. They had gone to meet someone about a property deal, he said.
Najadi pioneered business links between the Southeast Asian nation and the Middle East, founding Arab-Malaysian Development Bank Bhd. in 1975 with 55 percent Malaysian and 45 percent Arab interests, according to the bank’s website. He was no longer involved with the lender, which changed its name to AMMB in 1983 and is the country’s fifth-biggest by market value, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Police have “identified the shooter and another two people who were with him through CCTV camera pictures from the temple and surrounding area,” and have about seven witnesses, Salleh said.
Najadi died at the scene, while his wife suffered a hand injury and is being treated in a hospital, Salleh said. After firing four shots, the three escaped in a taxi with a fake license plate, he said.
Gun ownership in Malaysia is restricted, and holders are required to carry licenses. Voters cited crime and social problems as their biggest concern after the economy in a survey of 1,018 people conducted in December by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research.
R. Sri Sanjeevan, the 29-year-old chairman of Malaysia’s crime watchdog group MyWatch, is recovering in a hospital following surgery to remove a bullet after being shot on July 27, the New Straits Times reported today, without citing a motive. Sosilawati Lawiya, a cosmetics millionaire, was murdered three years ago.
Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose coalition returned to power with a reduced majority in May, made fighting crime a policy priority under a government transformation program started in 2010. The issue of serious crime will be brought up in the next session of parliament following the recent spate of shootings, the New Straits Times reported today, citing Najib.
AMMB Chairman Azman Hashim expressed condolences to the family, the bank said in an e-mailed statement today.
Najadi “left behind a legacy of innovation which Azman Hashim carries through,” said Johari Low Abdullah, Najadi’s former auditor, who helped run the bank in its early days as executive director. He was “charismatic and presented himself well,” said Johari in a phone interview.
AMMB was unchanged in Kuala Lumpur trading at 7.94 ringgit at 2:42 p.m.
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