KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak has protested the "indiscriminate" way the homes of his son and daughter were raided, his lawyer said in a statement on Saturday (May 19).
He also accused the police officers of helping themselves to food and chocolates in the refrigerator, and demanding that meals be prepared for them during the raid.
But the police later refuted the allegations.
Lawyer Harpal Singh Grewal said he was instructed by Najib to make the statement regarding the search at two apartments Pavilion Residences, a luxury condominium located at Jalan Raja Chulan in Kuala Lumpur.
Najib's son, Nor Ashman, and his daughter, Gina, also known as Nooryana Najwa, live in the apartments.
Najib expressed "disappointment on the indiscriminate manner in which seizure of personal belongings was undertaken in both premises".
The statement said that watches and a laptop belonging to Ashman's personal assistant were taken by the police. They also took Ashman's laptop, old handphones and iPads.
"All these items are working tools of Ashman who is gainfully employed," it read.
When police searched Gina's condo, only her maid was present, Grewal said.
The couple's personal belongings and weddings gifts were seized and removed by the raiding party, he said.
"What is more shocking, and distressing is the seizure of several pairs of baby shoes and attire purchased for the couple's young child."
He added that while Najib will cooperate with investigations, they ask for the return of personal effects.
Commercial Crime Investigation Department director Amar Singh said in a statement that police personnel were reminded to conduct the searches professionally and respect the occupants as the premises were occupied by the former prime minister and his family, The Star reported.
He asked for more details on the allegations and vowed that "stern action" will be taken if they are true.
Following a surprise victory in an election on May 9, the new government led by Dr Mahathir Mohamad has opened investigations into how billions of dollars disappeared from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a state fund founded by Najib.
Najib, who has consistently denied any wrongdoing, and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, have been barred from leaving the country.
Reports on Friday said that 284 boxes containing designer handbags and dozens of bags stuffed with cash and jewellery were carted out after the raid.
This was in addition to raids on other premises linked to Najib, including his home and offices. A police document seen by Channel NewsAsia listed 52 branded bags, 10 luxury watches and cash in multiple currencies that were seized from Najib's Taman Duta home where a police search reportedly went on for 18 hours.
Grewal told reporters that the former prime minister and his family were "really very unhappy" that police had confiscated clothes and shoes belonging to his children.
"No attempt was made to verify whether these dresses, shoes, babies clothes and all had anything to do with the investigations which are ongoing," he said.
Najib's wife, Rosmah Mansor, has also objected to widespread television and press reports of police carting away the former first family's personal belongings.
"It is our hope that the authorities would observe the rule of law and due process, to avoid a premature public trial," Rosmah's lawyers, Valen, Oh and Partners, said in a statement on her behalf.
"Enforcement agencies should not be feeding social media trolls, but observe and uphold strict professionalism at all times," it added.
Regarding alleged leaked photos of the raids, Amar said that all officers and men were prohibited from carrying their mobile phones during the operation. Only the commander of the search and his deputy were allowed phones for communication.
Photographs and video recordings fo the scene were taken by official photographers, he added.
He also asked for details of the leaked pictures so that the department can conduct an investigation.
The round-the-clock search at their residence has prompted some public criticism, including from Najib's political rivals who are now in government.
"As former victims of early dawn police raids, I must stress my disagreement in ransacking any home at such an ungodly hour," said Nurul Izzah, the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim.